Monday, July 29, 2013

Home from the hills

I'm getting better at this traveling thing! Last month, when I drove home from Bhavana it took me almost exactly 12 hours -- but I made stops for breakfast and a late lunch (I was pooped and needed a break and some heavy refueling). Driving up there last Sunday -- in horrendous traffic and nasty thunderstorms for the last 3 hours, it took 11 hours. I took food in the car, so only needed to stop for gas and bathroom breaks. Driving home yesterday, I made it in 10.5 hours -- again, I had food stashed in the car (stopped at a grocery store early on for some cheese and a bathroom break), and blessedly light traffic that allowed me to move steadily along all day. I left there at 11:05am, arrived home at 9:35 pm. Better yet, with each trip I find that I'm less and less tired afterwards. My body is adjusting. That bodes well for whatever long trips may be in my future.

Had a great trip. Finally, a retreat taught by the irreplaceable Bhante Gunaratana. I've met and talked to him on previous visits, listened to some short talks, but never an actual retreat taught by him. This was worth whatever the cost in terms of time and money. I was planning to leave yesterday early, before breakfast, but on the previous day they asked me to assist with a ceremony that would take place yesterday morning. I was honored to be asked, so of course I stayed, leaving right after the ceremony, before lunch. This was for the Eight Lifetime Precepts, which I took two years ago. The ceremony requires a female, preferably a nun, to put a medallion necklace around the neck and tie a string bracelet around the wrist of the women taking the precepts. I was apparently the only female onsite who had previously taken these precepts, and that made me marginally more appropriate to the cause than a female who hadn't taken them. I was careful not to attach any sense of pride or ego from this, but I have to tell you it was really, really cool to sit up front next to Bhante G and perform these rituals! Photos were taken during the ceremony using my camera. I'll eventually post more on the CintaSpeaks site, but here's one.

Yours truly -- with a woman I happened to already know and Bhante G looking on. Priceless! Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
I'm still a bit brain-loopy, so further words will need to wait. I will say that more travel may be in my immediate future -- as in airline travel to San Francisco. Stay tuned to details as I get them.

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