04 January 2010

A Toast to New Beginnings...

Votive prayer candles at The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - DC

Today I had the opportunity to meditate at the US Botanical Gardens with the Kagyu DC Buddhist group (I’ve shared some pictures below). It was a new experience, meditating in a living plant museum in the middle of the nation’s capital. I welcomed the Amazonian climate after walking several blocks in a wind storm and 18 degree weather. As we sat and meditated tourists would pass us by, children would run around us and stare oddly at the Buddha statue we had placed in front of our bench. The sounds of laughter, conversation, and mist were an interesting presence in my meditation. I used the leaf of a Bleeding Heart flower located directly in front of me as my meditative focal point. I felt more awakened from removing my ego from the comfort of sitting in a quiet space on a fluffy cushion, surrounded by altars, candles, and incense.

As I welcome a new year, getting out of my element has been a personal predominant mantra. I moved to a new city, started a new job, and lived with new people. It hasn’t been easy but I also haven’t had a single boring day. Looking back on the last 10 years of my life they were filled with cycles of beginnings. Entering college, beginning my career in legal services, getting a masters, commencing law school and taking on a yoga teacher training program at the same time. I was always prepared to start something new and it felt wonderful being able to succeed at the challenges I took on. I never gave up, no matter how many times I wanted to. Naturally, there were moments of failure but never without learning valuable lessons. At the start of a new era in my life, I accept that I will never stop wanting to conquer or quit…eternally evolving, growing, and making the most out of this life. This year holds many exciting adventures…I get to continue to explore this new city filled with energy and passion, meet new people, read new books, travel, develop a new career, and see Ani DiFranco in March (Yay! It feels so awesome to say she is playing down the street from me! I can’t wait!). 2010 will rock.

On New Years Day my parents gave me a scroll with the following message from the Dalai Lama. The text of it framed my resolutions for the new decade…and perhaps the rest of my life.

No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up

~ H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama


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