Blazing summer days: no force could bring them back.
Clouds suddenly rising off the river, lovely, so lovely,
ducks leave a bridge's shadow, paddling into fine rain,
and butterflies flutter out, frolicking in field breezes.
The willow won't survive nights and days much longer,
and waterlilies will only open two or three more times.
If the changing sights of a single year haunt your eye,
why wonder that a palace lake is ash among the kalpas?
-- Lu Yu
"Light Rain" from Mountain Home: The wilderness poetry of ancient China, translated by David Hinton
With summer's end comes finally the six-day retreat "Healing Yourself Is Healing the World."
I leave Sunday, Sept 22, with three girl friends (one of whom is Robin, GENKI_WARRIOR!) for Magnolia Grove Monastery, Mississippi, in retreat with renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. We are going there in my little camper, Kurma (Turtle) Avatara, a 1984 Toyota Dolphin. Two of us will sleep in the camper and two in a tent. We will return Sept 29.
Thay, as Thich Nhat Hanh is affectionately known
Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
Calligraphy by Thay
With Robin at Magnolia Grove Monastery during retreat, in front of the beautiful Rising Tide Meditation Hall, where Thay offered the deep Teachings in his clear, lucid manner
Robin and I among one of the many groups of volunteers during the retreat of about 1000 atendees!
Sitting together after one of the walking meditations led by Thay
In other news, I will be participating in the Conway Fall Cycling Classic the day before we leave for the retreat. Unlike my biker dude friend Don, I will only be cycling 32 miles. No comparing though...I'm out there doing SOMETHING.
I have also managed to lose 17 pounds over the summer, every pound a struggle. I have six more to go to reach the desired 130 lbs. and I'm hopeful! And SparkPeople.com continues to be an important source of lively and supportive friends and tools which profoundly assist the process.
It is also my last semester in obtaining a BA in Spanish Literature at a local university, with a heavy schedule of papers and oral presentations between now and semester's end in December, scary but do-able, I think.
At the end of the Fall semester in December, with the beginning of winter, I am affirming a thought-dream of a road trip in my camper to California, arriving in time for a New Year's Retreat in Santa Barbara and then to visit Thay's Practice Center, Deer Park Monastery, in Escondido. My plan is to then (for an undetermined period of time) visit beloveds in the San Francisco Bay Area, dear friend Kathy north of Sacramento (Vivian too!), and then sell the camper there (a temporary antidote to my financial woes) before boarding a flight San Francisco-Quito, Ecuador. We'll see how it all shakes out!