Hi my guys,
The mindfulness retreat at Deer Park Monastery was an amazing and practical and life changing event for me. I want to share first of all with my two precious sons the new path I have begun.
Actually, it is not a new path, it is the culmination of several threads that have existed and been wrestled with in my life for many years.
One thread has been the desire for gentle, simple rhythms in my life, rhythms of meditation, exercise, healthy eating and drinking, and the kinds of quiet down time that allow for rest, relaxation, reading, and the willingness to stop and take a nap when my body tells me I need one.
But to put it simply, I have just been too driven and too intent on being productive (and recently, on being successful and well recognized as a photographer) to allow myself these "luxuries." I have had an abhorrence to the idea of "wasting" the precious time I have on this earth. I have wanted to "be all that I could be."
And then, of course, there has been my relationship with alcohol and cannabis. Never really out of control, and often managed relatively well, but also always prone to sliding into sloppy periods of time and lack of moderation. Retirement, and more available pieces of time, have not helped in that regard.
And then along comes five days at Deer Park monastery, rhythms of early morning meditations, walking meditations, mindful eating, and a truly remarkable gathering of 250 people committed to peaceful ways of treating themselves, others, and the planet, and it all just came together. I felt like I was home.
On the final morning of the retreat I came forward and committed myself to the kind of life I have always wanted to live. And it's much, much more than knowing that alcohol and cannabis are out of my life forever, to the moment I take my last breath on this earth.
I am also recommitted to being a vegan, with the exception of eggs when we have our own happy, organically fed chickens.
Joyce and I are now getting up at 5:30am, meditating for 30 minutes, then stretching before we leave for an hour of hiking up Hubbard Gulch Road to the Quaker Center and back. When we return home, we prepare and eat breakfast in silence and in mindfulness. We are ready to begin the rest of our day by 8am.
And it's not a fleeting thing or a whim of the moment. I can feel it all the way down to the core of my being. I am home. I am finally living the kind of life I have always wanted to live. This is the culmination of many fits and starts throughout my life. The time is here and the time is now.
I know there will be many, who when I share this with them, will wish me luck and offer me their support and encouragement. That will be wonderful, but what I much more ask for is that my loved ones and friends join with me in jumping up and down with tears and laughter and joy and celebration of something that is already a done deal. I am totally grounded and solid in this. It is the most natural, easy decision I have ever made in my life.
I love you Joshua. I love you Seth. I offer you the gift of a father who will be as mindfully present as I have ever been in my life. When you find me to be tired, it will be an honest tired that comes from a mindful and passionate love and engagement of life, and activity, and YOU! I stand ready to share or answer any thoughts or questions you might have.
All my love,