Rolling Rocks And Sympathy


I am sitting on a bench trying to find words. I’ve made a lot of mistakes lately. Said the wrong thing; not said a thing; not known the right thing to say or just not wanted to say it. And then seen the ill created around me for all the times I do not know or cannot do what is right.

I feel like an ill wind, and a bit untrustworthy. But if I cannot trust myself, then where is stable ground? I have heard people say that Dharma pulls the rug out from under your feet, and from what I’ve seen that’s true. But this isn’t a cute philosophical crisis; this is the business of everyday life. I can deal with losing the cushioning but I’m not ready to be groundless; I need at least a hard wood floor.

In case it is not clear what I’m talking about–and I imagine that it’s not–I’m talking about limits. I’m talking about the places where kindness and patience run out, but where they run out so fast that you don’t even notice that they’re gone, and you just reactreactreact.


In a concrete sense, I am talking about things like grocery lists gone wrong and unplanned menu changes and finding some one to do the dishes when you thought you had clarified the issue the day before and before and before, but still, no. I am talking about money spent and time wasted, or perhaps not, and all of the hard edges that come from feeling like you are pushing a rock up a hill that will just roll down when you are finished, but oh also, you will never be finished. And that sentiment without even the peace of a stable task on which to rest your mind. Like rolling ten rocks up a landslide at the same while it hales and marmots bite your ankles and some one wants to know where the scissors are and something smells like it’s burning and meanwhile you are supposed to be graceful because you are doing this for all sentient beings and also your esteemed teacher is having tea in the next room.


Will you do me a favor, friends? Don’t give me sympathy. Lately sympathy just turns to self-pity, to the idea that it is that hard, and it will get better, and this situation is the struggle. But you know what? From what I understand, the situation is a bitch. People are independent and think differently and put ourselves first even when we try not to because half the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it. This is the bitch we call Samsara.

Maybe things could be easier for me than they are at the Maison des Lamas, but I am so tired of thinking I’ll someday not be tired and becoming hard and wishing for things to be different that I don’t want to keep wanting easier circumstances. I want the capacity to no longer see hardship as difficulty. I know I’m not there yet, and I know I’m going to need a hell of a lot more sympathy before I get there, but for today, I need that kindness to come from inside. Because right now I just turn everything else to righteousness, and I want no more of that.

Big-Girl Pants And Blessed Leftovers Tart


All of a sudden, I’m in charge of things. Though the official decree hasn’t come down the official chain of communication, in real world terms, I am now co-responsible for the workings of the Lama House kitchen. And since my other half is in Germany for nigh on three weeks, and three master teachers are cruising into town with their entourages next weekend, that makes now, officially, the time to put on my big-girl pants. I may or may not be currently wearing pastel-colored leggings with pictures of pine trees and the Northern Lights on them. Grown-up is a state of mind, right?


I can make an Excel spreadsheet just as well while wearing tree pictures as any fool in a two-piece suit. This is what I tell myself and this is my goal. I am writing menus, planning purchasing, connecting with my team, staying in contact with the event organizers, and devising ingenious plans for how to cook food for ten people in a kitchen that sometimes struggles to feed two. When you have an oven the size of a postage stamp that only heats on one level, things cooked in pots are your friend.


In between sending out Google drive links and peeling a crap ton of shallots, I am still making time to attend rituals, practice keeping up with prayers in Tibetan, and, ya know, make pie. We’ve had a real string of ceremonies lately, which makes for a lot of blessed snack food hanging around the center.

While the chocolate, cookies, cheese, and crackers go pretty quickly, I guess people aren’t that hot on raisin medley or melba toast. However, these same items become magical when combined appropriately with a good dose of strawberry jam and some puff pastry. There may be a small quantity of butter and sugar involved as well. And even if your ingredients aren’t blessed, I’d wager you’ll feel a good deal of benediction when you bite into this. It’s a winner.

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