So, it’s been a month.
Did a few things.
My Papa came to town. We went to Paris. Visited the latest Frank Gehry building.
Visited the oldest art store in town.
Ate a lot of pastry. (This is the nicest picture, but if I put them all…you’d be impressed by how much sugar we managed to consume in three days, and that’s not counting hot chocolate consumption).
We worked our way south, chateau by chateau, bigger and bigger: Beauregard, Cheverny, Chambord.
There may have been bicycling involved, but the helmet/neon vest pictures are too incriminating to be posted online. You’ll just have to use your imaginations.
Excess, even beautiful excess, always makes me grateful for simplicity. I run a house with eight guest rooms. I shudder in sympathy for the person responsible for cleaning this place.
All eight guest rooms filled up at the end of September. After Papa made it safely back to the States, Dhagpo rhythm picked up for a final summer shabang. The famous/infamous Lama Ole Nydahl came to town. He’s a walking polemic, and I’ll abstain from commenting on politics and just say he’s warm and personable face-to-face, at least in my experience. To be fair, my interaction is generally limited to offering duck confit and fresh fig tarts rather than arguing about religious rights, and yet, it’s not every important person who is kind to those that serve them. Beyond that, we each have to find a teacher that we understand and respect, and that is a personal business.
Right on the heels of the busy weekend, we gave ourselves a weekend off. It was mon amour’s birthday and we took ourselves to the mountains with a small troupe of friends.
It’s been a while since I’ve asked so much of my body, and partway up the 3,000 foot ascent, I wondered why we find it necessary to risk our lives accomplishing such feats. We were smart enough not to try for the peak with the wind and fog and ice, but even so, the wilderness is pretty much a risk by nature (oyvay, pun not intended but un-ignorable). And yet, once I got to the top, I felt the same affirmation as always: I’d do it again.
The world is vast and we are priveleged to have the luxury to consider its beauty, to have the security and stability in our lives to take such risks. Sometimes I forget that, just how much of a luxury my liberty is. Sometimes it helps to exercize it, to go climb a mountain and remember what privelege allows us. It helps me come back grateful and perhaps more ready to work with the other priveleges I can fall into taking for granted.
This week and next are community time at Dhagpo, a week of practice and study retreat followed by a week of organizational meetings. Both can be trying; both tend to show me my limits–of patience, of concentration, of wakefulness. And both are a privelege of enormous proportions: to have access to the Dharma and to have the opportunity to take part in Dharma activity. Whatever the ascent, we have to climb the mountain.