I’m off on digital sabbatical again – this time to a Buddhist Festival in the English Lake District – in fact it would have been good to be sleeping right now since I’m leaving at 5:00am, rather than writing a final blog post before my trip, but hey ho…
(Just to confirm, I won’t be seeing the beautiful Buddha statue in the photo, because it’s in Kamakura, Japan – but it is the first image I remember seeing at the age of ten, in the form of a postcard from my Japanese pen-friend. So it is significant!)
The last few weeks I’ve been prioritising those who are important in my life – sometimes even over working on my business (which for a business-aholic like me can be quite hard to do). But it’s important to stop and take stock – to see where you are putting your energy and if it is well placed.
My dear friend Lesley is dying – there is no easy way to say this, so I’m putting it in black and white. She’s had cancer for a long time and is steadily declining. I hang out with her in her room at the Buddhist Centre (she’s a resident, whereas I spend lots of time there, but live next-door-but-one in my own flat).
She doesn’t get up much so I sit by her bed and chat, read Dharma, or (like yesterday) share take away ice cream and fudge sauce with her. Sometimes she seems to talk nonsense, the next minute coming up with something utterly profound. Like when I went to visit with her just before leaving to teach meditation in Crawley, and she told me I had no need to worry about teaching ultimate truth (probably the most difficult Buddhist concept) as I had to remember that it was not really me teaching but Buddha teaching through me.
We generally tend to think we are going to live forever (if we are utterly honest with ourselves), but when I’m with Lesley I’m faced with the utter nonsense of this thinking. In fact, there is no guarantee that I will outlive her anyway, even though right now I’m fit and healthy – none of us know when our time will be up. So I spend time with my friend, and cherish the moments I do have…
Photo credit: Harry Vale