1. Truth: There are places you carry inside, no matter where you go. You feel the temperature and the texture, experience the smell and the sound of these locations, see the colors and shapes of the environment, know the size and mood of the space, real and present in memory and dreams.
For me, some of these places are Amsterdam, my childhood home (not just the house, but the whole town–my church, my school, the field at the end of the road where I lived, the local market, post office, the park, my best friend’s backyard), my grandma’s farm, the cannery I worked in for four summers in a row while I was in high school (trust me, I wish I could rid myself of that one!), my little house in Colorado, the basement of that other house which was the first place Eric and I lived together, and the long stretch of beach from Waldport Bay to Seal Rock.
2. Truth: There are mortal beings that you keep in your heart no matter where you go and even when they are gone. These are the ones who’ve taken up residence in your heart, who you have long, heartfelt, silent conversations with regardless of your physical proximity. You dream about them, long for them, miss them, imagine where they might be, what they might be doing right now when they aren’t with you. And when they become formless, no longer attached to a body, you keep them in your heart, your body, hold them with you, carrying their memory, their love, a precious and wild thing that lives in and through you.
3. Truth: There are practices that will follow you, no matter where you find yourself. These are the things, the habits and the methods that you rely on, that you turn to, that you engage in. These can be helpful and healthy, traditions that sustain you, maintain your sanity and comfort, but they can also be destructive, trapping you in your confusion and suffering. Yesterday I wrote, did yoga, ran with Sam on the beach, meditated, read, and took a long walk with all three of my boys, carrying my camera so I could stop and take pictures of what I noticed, what touched me. These practices are magic, medicine. It wasn’t so long ago that my habitual patterns had a much different flavor, a quality of despair and character of destruction. My teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says, “We are always meditating–constantly placing our minds on an object and becoming familiar with it. But are we getting used to things that will take us forward on the path?”
One wish: That we can practice gentle and kind awareness, that we can view everything we encounter and experience as an opportunity to cultivate a way of being that generates compassion and wisdom, and that we can let go of any habitual patterns that cause suffering.