This ones just vajralila as we have been doing different things!
Well my mum came out of intensive care and I had run out of couches to sleep on in Colchester and Ipswich, although Amalaketu and Debbie were very welcoming and said I could have stayed longer. I was in a strange state during that time, when you think someone close might die the whole world becomes more precious and beautiful somehow.
I eventually arrived for my month at Taraloka at the beginning of May. It was a very special time. A few days in I was on 2, week long retretreats back to back, Cooking on both for 35 people which I loved. The first retreat was on the Lakshanas and the doorways to liberation led by Vajradarshini. Her presentation of the material helped it sink in more than ever and after a great talk with her one day i realised there is no security anywhere, not even in the transcendental and that the fact that all phenomena change constantly, that this existence (samsara) is unfixable like a wonky wheel on a cart, with all its interconnected co-arising patterns (including me) that can't be seen as independently existing.... means that I can only find true freedom in the moment, that I am better of not wishing things be a certain way (accepting how things are) and letting go into the openness behind the fear of not existing in the way i think I do, then the world become more beautiful and awesome even in its imperfection, losses and brokenness (in fact because of them!).
And so this was exciting and also uncomfortable as i began seeing the eternalistic edge that had crept into my relationship to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Perfectly, the next retreat was a Sadhana retreat in which my devotional practise changed into a kind of reverence for the heartness I was 'in' here and now in 'real life', sort of a tangible yet unsentimental love. My Sadhana practise also changed with some permission giving from Parami and Padmasara, to just the seed syllable of 1000 armed Avalokitesvara (HRIH) instead of a very complex form I had been doing it and feels very right. I also offered massage on some of this time and people gave what they wanted so this helped fund our project a bit.
I had been inspired to have an attitude of service and so best i could tryed to come from this place as i continued my time at Taraloka. Found my self doing great jobs like mowing the grass on a sit on mower and sawing wood. It was great meditating with them all in the community shrine room each morning at 7.30am and chanting the refuges and precepts. I connected well with the women who live there and hope to deepen some of these connections as time goes on. Also enjoyed meeting Julie again and was impressed by her love of the Dharma, hope to be part of her journey as it develops.
Was sad to leave but it was then all about family, who are all poorly at present. First went to my Dads in penzance, met Sudakini on route, we hadn't seen each other for a month. My Dad has Lewybodies dimentia and had deteriorated since I last saw him, hallucinating wildly and aggressive at times. He is unlikely to live more than a few years I discovered. Sudakini and I took him out every day and we had a lovely time, we also cooked each evening to give his wife a break. So after 6 days we went to my Mums who is slowly recovering from phenomena and is in a wheel chair and unable to do much yet, my step dad is caring for her. It was lovely that our best buddies Ruth, Joan and Jenny came to clacton for the day to see us. I also met my half Sister (same Dad) and enjoyed spending rare time with her. She is only 31 and had had part of her bladder removed as well as part of her bowel and appendix to reconstuct a damaged bladder. She is cathetirised constantly and her one of her kidneys no longer works due to all this, she has a great sense of humour and is very brave as is her 10 year old son. Then 3 days later we are in Eastbourne with Sudakinis Mum and Rob where it is always relaxing. It has felt important to have'good endings' latley because thigs keep ending quicker than in 'normal life' and almost like how it would be to die well, like I don't want anything unresolved and want to have the most positive effect I can have. We are now firming up our USA plans and fly to Sanfransico the day after tomorrow!