2013 gave me a big hug

with gratitude to ddmag.tumblr.com

“One evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about nonduality of self and other, but he still didn’t quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he didn’t know how to get rid of them. So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion and shunyata and how poison is medicine. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.” At that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said, “Oh, this one is particularly vicious.” (We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that’s all we’ve got.) He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left too.” 

Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

the last weekend of 2013 felt like a fog lifted from around my brain. i encountered so many of the people close to me in my life and i was afforded the chance to feel love. as i think back to the beginning of the year, one seed i had planted was to make room for love in my life- and bang zoom (ralph cramdon) there it was- more love in my life. 

as my life continues to unfold, i am gobsmacked by the power of simplicity. this year- for the holiday-i gave of myself in some quietly amazing ways. i helped throw a fete for a women and family services program and coordinated a santa, a photograph of kids on santa’s lap, kid’s decorating home-made ornaments for their family, several volunteers, and gifts from toys for tots as well as a generous donation from a local engineering firm. all of this required detail and attention, but left me with a holiday feeling that will last for some time. the cliche about the holidays being about the kids was forged in truth for me again and again on that day.

beyond this, i came home to find that my cousin and her family dropped by my house and constructed a kitchen cart i had here-to-fore been unable to put together. when i came through the door, i felt just as surprised and elated as the shoemaker must have felt after the elves had slid down that moonbeam to create those oodles of shoes. this was humbly followed by several friends treating me to dinner the weekend between the holidays. i have honestly felt in possession of a bounty.

“Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights’ sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night.”AA, 2001, p. 97

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