If someone had told me five years ago that five years down the track, I’d spend a Saturday night in White Cliffs, all sari’d up, beside an opal miner in the Community Hall threading prawns onto toothpicks, I couldn’t have imagined how that could come to be. And that it would all seem perfectly normal.
White Cliffs deserves a post on its own and it will get one but not today. And the photo above is not of White Cliffs obviously. It’s the moon rising over the Bijayapur ridge in Dharan. And the world famous clocktower.
I’m being a tad introspective today because it’s an anniversary for me.
Five years ago I emerged, like a startled rabbit blinking in the sunlight, from being in hospital for 8 weeks. Rest assured-I won’t do a retrospective blow by blow. Suffice it to say it was a tough time that left me with empathy for those living with pain; an undiminished sense of elation at not being hooked up to anything; a habit of opening blinds the second I walk into vaguely darkened rooms; and a daily practice that includes the acknowledgement that each day is precious.
2007 was a year that began on a high; a grand new beginning-the big Nepal adventure. It became a year of profound uncertainty and unknowns. A year of no fixed address. Of realising I had nowhere near the control over life that I thought I had. I listened over and over again to Pacing the Cage by Bruce Cockburn and knew that Bruce understood. I am listening to it as I type.
It was a year of rawness, realisation and tough lessons about vulnerability and certainty. In several ways, I look back to that year as the beginning of a new era. Other people have a huge impact on how those times go (and I was indeed surrounded by wonderful people) but there are times you are utterly alone. You have to be. And I think acknowledging and accepting my vulnerability and aloneness was important. People have an impact on how you do it but there are some things that no-one else can do for you.
Especially since then, I have tried to embrace my vulnerability, the uncertainty; to be present in each moment and to live with gratitude for each new day.
This day is precious.
All things will change.
Everything I do has an impact.
Grasping and avoiding will increase my suffering.
La, enough navel gazing. Here are a couple of necklaces to celebrate 5 years. And like most of the necklaces…there’s a story but again, that’s another post. Here’s to the journey.