Sanctuary & Sangha
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As a kid and a not-such-a-kid, there are numerous pictures of me standing apart from the group.
Here is a picture of my Aunt Geri, my mom’s younger sister.
Can you find me in the frame?
I learned to hide well.
(Hint: far left, one with the trees, not so much with the people.)
I understand my Lone-Wolf responses. I wrote books about them, taught workshops about them. Yet now, I find myself diving deeper into my aloneness.
The aloneness of that child, who had so many reasons to hide.
The aloneness of me, the adult, who is tender and healing.
The early pandemic, living alone, I met my introvert, my tender child, differently. It was deliciously right to hang alone, to have permission to not be with people, to be thoughtful and cautious about interactions. I befriended her broken heart, and we had a good time together. (Lots of take-out food ensued—I’m not sure why or how that emerged as a response to the pandemic for me.)
That time worked.
Now, back home with my dear one, I am living into a time of physical healing and transition.
I am discovering a new portal, an unraveling of the obstacles, that have blocked me from a deeper relationship with that aloneness.
I feel quiet and almost-shy, wondering where my people are (the answer? right here), wondering why I am feeling so young as I hover on my 75th birthday.
I dive deeper into my separate broken heart. And it is a gift, a blessing, an unraveling with space and air and breath and possibility.
It’s just—well, not my plan. Not my mind’s plan. Perhaps a bigger plan?
Yes, a bigger plan! And I am okay with it, especially now that I am feeling physically more level.
I might as well be okay with it, since it is happening, right?
The interplay of the personal and the collective, our unique separateness coupled with our profound need for connection, is a dance long-considered in the wisdom traditions. Here are two of today’s most elegant, more relevant, most accessible teachers in the Buddhist tradition, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.
This six-minute video says so very much. The first half is excerpted from Jack talk on “Sanctuary“. The second half comes from Tara talk on “Sangha”
Friends, for your contemplation:
- Where are your places of individual sanctuary?
- What do you receive for yourself in those places?
- Your sangha? Your choir? Your community of comfort and choice? What do you receive?
- What do you offer back to your sangha, your people?
For what was.
To what is.
With the possibility
Of what might be—