Thursday, January 19, 2006

Keychain links

Tomorrow night I am having dinner with my Buddhist mentor and 2 others who are interested in studying and practicing in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. We'd all previously made a commitment to 5 mindfulness trainings, or precepts as they are more commonly called, but in the last several months each of us decided to seek lay ordination in the order called Tiep Hien or Interbeing. It feels like a vast undertaking to me and one for which, at any moment, I am afraid I will find out that I am completely unsuited.

However, I've felt this way before. I recognize it. Here are the things for which I've heretofore felt completely fraudulent about even attempting: being a grown-up, being married, becoming a mom, being a nurse, tackling the ICU, stopping drinking, passing the graduate school entrance exam, and really loving someone.... I am heartened when I consider that since the end is not in sight the only thing to do is: take a step, take a step, take a step, smile. I may never wear the brown coat that signifies ordination, some embodiment of "when the fruit is ripe, you know it" that somehow exemplifies readiness. Still, I will get wherever I get step, step, stepping and smiling all the while.

As usual, I am grateful when there is company on the path. I've always been the type to like to share notes with others, benefit from a different perspective, marvel at differences and beam with the lovely comfort of understanding. So today while I was waiting to pick up my daughter at school, an idea floated to me and I popped into a local bead store with an idea, a vague image having to do with hearts, our hearts, and a shared path. When each of us accepted the 5 mindfulness trainings we received a "dharma name" which was meant to reflect our intentions. Mine is Authentic Kindness of the Heart and the other aspirants' dharma names also end with "of the Heart". So for my dinner partners, I chose 3 hearts of cloisonne, bone, and brass, some little sparkling crystal spacers and took them home. Paying attention to remaining mindful I breathed gratitude into my little assembly of colors and wire and carefully crafted matching key chains.

Dinner was late but it seemed that seemed ok.

Oddly enough, my 12 year old just flounced by on her way to get ready for bed and announced "I heart you Mom"....just computer talk I know, but still. She's calling now and I'm going. Smiling.

Authentic Kindness of the Heart


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