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July 28, 2012

In Which Liberation Is Not Quite What I Thought

By Maryanna Gabriel

I live a quiet life so being on a Buddhist retreat with all of these people seemed like a social event. I had no idea what to expect. I instantly discerned this was the real McCoy. The staff were dressed in formal robes and a Buddhist nun presided over the meals, much like a quarter master monitoring the food rations, her cold eye missing no spoon unturned. The stricture of silence however extended to a vast coterie of the forbidden. Such wild and illicit behaviours were not sanctioned as leaving the grounds, looking at people in the eye, reading (a distraction), writing (an intellectual pursuit that my heavens is enough to foment all kinds of aberration). In addition to coffee being prohibited so was sugar tabu as apparently such indulgences could lead to buddha only knows what, along with salt and pepper which of course is a wild rendition to any meal. Dinner consisted of soup without any bread, not an endorsement apparently to the liberated mind. I breathed my way into all of this, as after all I was here, wasn’t I? I found myself balking at the master/disciple relationship though as I do equal. Then I caught the lama in a huge mistake during my interview. A furious downpour ensued leaving me soaked. Trees being felled next to my tent on an adjacent property was all the permission I needed to give myself the nod. Gleefully, I shoved my sopping tent into my car and deliriously chuckling thought this must be the laughing Buddha part of the retreat as I wildly drove out and careened towards the ferry. I headed to a lovely restaurant I knew where I indulged in the licentious behaviour of pepper grinding to a good book. I love it here I sighed to the waitress, recent events etching a deepening gratitude for a sumptuous piece of salmon with papaya, and she replied that she loved it here too. We smiled at each other. To each their own I thought and sighing felt liberation as I smiled contentedly from ear to ear.

July 15, 2012

Jasmine

By Maryanna Gabriel

The jasmine is blooming. There is hope. It is magnificent. I feel like Emily Dickinson. I draw into the folds of the leaves, the curl of the petals, the world here suffused with simmering heat. Last night thunder roiled furiously, an event seldom experienced here. There is movement in my life that is different from travelling. Inwardly, I feel abit like Pooh Bear knowing that if I do not roll with it I will be stuck in the hole of the honey tree unable to get in or out. A kind of havoc starts up when I revert to former modus operandi so I am learning to let go. Deciding that I need to cultivate this further I am travelling after all, and going to an island, mid coast, for a five day Bhuddist Retreat with lamas and monks and what not. I have to go through caffeine withdrawal which isn't a pretty picture. I am not really sure what is going to happen except they seem to be a quiet bunch, practicing silence, which is just fine with me. It has been brought to my attention that letting go is the heart of Bhuddism so I go to this heart willingly. It isn't about the Bhuddism. It is about befriending the mind and cultivating a discipline so that it serves the heart, and it is this which I seek. I will have a private visit with a lama every day. I hope it isn't weird.
I will tell you all about it when I get back.

July 11, 2012

Travels In A Different Sort Of Way

By Maryanna Gabriel

Hello again. It has been over three months and I have truly missed you. Blogs are coming at a fast and furious pace to my mind and I have been resisting. I can resist no more… it all must out, and so I greet you once again. I wish to travel in a different sort of way with you, say once a week or so, and you are free to unsubscribe below if this is of no appeal, for I am moving now, not in the same sense, for the traveller has come home. Here in the forest where I live there is material a’plenty and I have so wanted to tell you about the big fat mouse I found in my pear tree, and the robin that seemingly wished to be such a part of my life that he flew at the window when I would come into the house. The robin seems to be off about his business now, the wing marks on the window are old, not fresh, and while there seems to be an abundance of robins around I am not entirely sure it is the robin that watches me as I work around the land. They call the island the “velvet rut”. Before my travels I felt restless, bound somehow by the geography but since I have come home it is different. The initial landing seemed like I had returned from a distant realm, almost as if I was a ghost re-entering my own house, ethereal and detached. What, I own these things, I said to myself? I had forgotten. The urgency of my daughter’s wedding was a re-induction most dire. I quickly reasserted myself here amid the shrubberies. She is most wedded now and I find myself basking in the afterglow of their mutual happiness in rather a new way. The travels I wrote to you of seemingly a bridge from an old life to a new one, and the box I formerly dwelled within no longer fits, my tresses and limbs spilling out in most alarming fashion. I tire of resisting this and I tire of resisting all of the words that want to reach out to you. The letting go is such a release. So here you have it on this day of glorious summer sunshine.