At first this made me laugh. Where did this idea come from? What this means, I think, is that the beauty of my life, of everyone's life, is that we have stories to share, lots of stories, and that as we share stories our life experiences can be used as fertilizer for everyone else!
As I write these stories about my experiences and things I’ve learned, let them take wing. What I write, I let go of to have a meaning of its own to whoever wants to read it. I have always felt that our lives can enrich the world.
I guess this is the time to introduce the elephant in the room. About two years ago I was diagnosed with what has come to be terminal cancer.
Throughout this ordeal my husband John and I have been blessed with amazing support from our friends and family.
I had lunch with one of those dear friends the other day who told me that it was a sacred act to spread your life story and experiences for others to learn from, and perhaps to save someone else from the pain and trouble of making a bad decision.
The Dalai Lama has said that one aspect of the horrific invasion of Tibet by China was that it spread the wisdom and sacred knowledge of Buddhism to the Western world. Before China invaded Tibet all their sacred wisdom was held in secret, protected and not available to the West. After the invasion Tibetan people had to immigrate to places around the world and brought their practices with them.
Now look at us. So many people have been exposed to these sacred teachings we can hardly remember a time when Buddhism was not part of the mainstream and used as a tool for building and sustaining the healing aspects of mindfulness, meditation and compassion.
One of my fondest hopes is that my life and the incredible journey of living that I have been on will be of use to others. We spend so much time during our lives locked up in our own heads and hearts. There are so many things we could share with each other, but we stop short. Why?
Some of us want privacy, some us can't find the right words, or feel uncomfortable speaking them, and some of us just forget life is a gift to be shared–at least that’s my philosophy. I feel that everything that happens to us should be put into the great compost pile of life to add to other stories so we can all learn together. This is what life is about, what holds us together.
I realize this is not a new or original idea. Storytellers and sacred scripture have been doing this since the dawn of time through oral history, music and cave drawings.
For me, I’ve learned the most when the story is an unpolished heart felt attempt to connect one person's life with another.
So here I go, with as much honesty and courage as I can muster to share my life, thoughts and journey.
I would like to dedicate this memoir to my children and grandchildren so that they may have my words and life experiences to nurture themselves with, and maybe see my humanity (good and not so good) more closely, and know that above all that love can heal anything. To my husband John, who has lighted my path with so many gifts I never thought I would ever experience: unconditional love, loyalty, companionship, forgiveness, humor and more political awareness and opinions than I thought I would ever have! To the family members who have stood by me, rallied me and loved me. And to my dear friends, whose support, love, and concern for my family and me has been an unwavering, courageous and a pure gift.
I have been the lucky beneficiary of all these gifts, and with heartfelt gratitude, appreciation and reciprocity, give you all in return stories of my life. I hope you enjoy them.