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Volunteer For A Year Part 6: Carpe diem!

“When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.”

from Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran

This year has been lightening-quick. The only slow-lane on this heart-full highway was my epic, mountain-like journey to 100,000 prostrations. I arrived at the Centre so full of enthusiasm to practice, and before I knew it I was doing less practice than at home. The ups and downs of my efforts are hilarious and a good lesson in really understanding that you take yourself wherever you go! I had to actually go somewhere (aka out of the comfort zone) to know that…sigh!

“Om Whatever Happens, Who Cares, Soha!”

Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Fully Being Minicourse

Overall, it has been a year of kindness here at the Centre. Not just to myself, also from the many beautiful humans I have crossed paths with. So. Much. Kindness. I haven’t always reacted well to this. I recently burst into tears when someone, who visits the Centre regularly, took time to ask how I was with so much authenticity, that my surprise spilled out through my eyes. As a full time volunteer I live every day, not just with the other residents and volunteers, but with all of you. To be honest, it’s a bit hectic! My time in Africa teaches me Ubuntu- I am because we are - and I am all in for that. All in. Happily. It works best when everyone else understands that, too.

“We hold nothing back – not our effort, not any resources we might have, not time itself. We do not even hold our futures to ourselves. If we limit our aspirations to short-term aims and allow our aspirations to end when we attain those limited results, we will not create the momentum needed to maintain our enthusiasm over the long haul, until that time when we have developed our qualities of mind and heart to their fullest capacity. – 17th Karmapa” Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society

On Monday the 16th of May 2022 I walked through the doors of the Centre for the first time. It was close to 6pm, the sun was shining and the Centre was quiet. Sarah met me at Kings Cross Station and helped lug my suitcases onto two buses to get here. Just four more sets of stairs to go! My first observation was the distance between my room and the ladies loo – that’s gonna-be a challenge I thought. It was – ho hum.

I woke up the next morning in a corridor full of strangers, with little privacy and a dozen curious humans, what have I done I thought. I acquired boundaries - ho hum.

I cleaned bathrooms, learned the ways of the tearoom and settled into a role in the office, all whilst sweating my way through UK’s hottest summer in ages (an urban heat so unlike that which I am used to), what have I done I thought. I persevered – ho hum.

I volunteered to cook breakfast, every day, for the Tashi Lhunpo monks, I am going to be tired I thought. My fried eggs rocked– yum yum!

So here I am, one year in and not only grateful for these challenges and opportunities, but more curious than ever. Carpe diem! I’m staying on.

Thank you, Lama Zangmo.


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