Goodmorning! It's a beautiful day in my new Berkeley neighborhood. The sun has been shining since the day that I got here and the temperature has been perfect! It entertains me immensely how hard it is on everyone here when it gets to be over 80!!! That's like a beautiful breezy relief back home. Anywho, today is the last day of my second week of work and my first week of classes. I am sitting at my desk right now taking a break from productivity to write about my most recent adventures. One of our resident Llamas is on the other side of the room fighting (peacefully) with the fax machine and the 4 ft tall spinning prayer wheels that fill the office are making a nice pleasant hum as I work. There are a total of 10 of them and they never stop spinning which is really very beautiful to experience. To my left is the door out into the garden which Meagan and I always keep open because the weather is so perfect outside. On my desk is the usual array of office supplies with the addition of some a large potted fern, some post cards of Tibet and some random sacred artwork that previous volunteers have collected over time. If I look over the top of my computer at the wall (which creates a window-like space for the prayer wheels) I see this long string of 15 prayer flags fluttering with the breeze from outside. According to any Buddhist, this is a very blessed place. Both the prayer flags and the prayer wheels are said to release prayers of compassion and peace into the world when they turn and flutter.
As for the work that I should be doing right now, I was just officially dubbed Marketing Specialist, Data Specialist AND Fundraising Coordinator. That's how it is in this magical place. We all do whatever needs to be done and if we don't know how then someone teaches us and we become a specialist. It's quite and adventure let me tell you. Yesterday I made calls to wineries all over northern California to solicit donations for our benefit banquet in November and then I input all of our benefit registration and auction information into a new database before rounding out the day by designing and implementing the layout for the email version of our annual campaign letter. All in a days work here at TAP :)
Classes are going wonderfully. I am absolutely in love with Kum Nye, a gentle form of Buddhist meditative practice that centers on slow, mindful, therapuetic movement. I came out of my Kum Nye class on Wednesday and was floating for hours. I'm also taking a class on Monday called Transforming Fear which is all about the Buddhist meditative approach to fear. In that class we worked on some basic meditation techniques that help you find balance and refuge in your own body so that when fear arises you can face the fear, go into the fear and see it for what it is, transient and harmless. The same is true for all emotions, positive and negative. We played with the arising and fading of our emotions for much of class. My other classes are on compassion and meditation. The first is more lecture-based and focuses on the idea of true and absolute selflessness which produces perfect empathy. If you haven't explored the Buddhist approach to true selflessness it's quite powerful. They believe that you can transcend your "self" so completely that empathy and compassion are the natural state in which you can reside. My final class is an introduction to meditation for healing which is all about the basics of meditative practice and flows quite nicely with my other, slightly more in-depth, meditative classes. We practice opening and balancing ourselves so that natural relaxation and healing can occur. Our minds are incredibly capable of healing themselves if given the time.
I am participating in the program from morning until night and yet I feel more relaxed and energized (yes I did use both in the same sentence...VERY Buddhist) than ever. The time that we take each day to bring our minds into a restful state is already something I can't imagine being without. We need to take a break from ourselves and reconnect with just being in the moment. I hope I can get better and better at allowing myself the time and space to just be.
I think I have a knack for monstrous posts so bear with me as I try to give you more rich tastes and less feasts in the future.
With Openness and Balance :)
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