I didn’t grow up Catholic but at the age of 13 I thought about running off to a convent. I had no idea what this meant, of course, growing up in the Brethren church. At that age I also didn’t know there were other options, like ashrams or monastic traditions in other world religions.
A convent or ashram would never have worked for my younger self. I was too opinionated, too headstrong. I would have been a very sweary Maria Von Trapp without the guitar or the sewing skills.
I’ve thought lately about the idea of running away to live in a tree, or a house in the trees. Life is full of small annoyances that I could do without. I heard a Buddhist monk interviewed recently and he said something that gave me pause for thought. He said, ‘beware of that feeling of wanting to run away to a monastery or an ashram to get away from the day to day annoyances. Believe me, in a meditation room you will find plenty of things to annoy you.’
I felt a little called-out in the moment. As I said, even in my early teens, the idea of monastic life appealed to me, with its presumed freedom from quotidian frustrations like homework, grocery shopping, or traffic. But yes, it rang true to me immediately that if the guy choosing the treadmill right next to me in the gym is annoying then the woman choosing the meditation pillow right beside me in the ashram is going to be pretty annoying too.
So, I am adding my petty annoyances to my gratitude list because things could be so much worse.
I am fortunate right now, touch wood, that my life is completely free of large or even medium-sized annoyances.
The sun is out right now, but after terrible flooding in my area a month ago, the rain has been pouring down for two days. Today it brought more flooding to the same afflicted areas and to downtown Byron Bay of all places. The people of Lismore were once again on high alert. Imagine a month after you’ve lost everything to a four metre wall of brown water the flood siren going off…
Or not going off because it had malfunctioned…
As someone who has experienced some big stuff at times in my life, my heart goes out to all those affected. As the rain starts pouring down again, I am reminded that nothing is certain, nothing is guaranteed. All we can do is live for this moment and be grateful for what we have.
Ways you can donate to help those affected by the flooding in Northern New South Wales and Queensland.
Here’s a link for a fundraiser for the Mullumbimby Public School. They were hit pretty badly in the flooding.
BAD SYDNEY CRIME WRITERS’ FESTIVAL, LISMORE LIBRARY APPEAL
April 1 @ 6:00 pm online and in person (Sydney, Australia)
Top Australian crime writers Candice Fox, Chris Hammer, & Michael Robotham will be chatting with Kate Evans from Radio National’s Bookshelf at the State Library of NSW, about libraries and books in their lives, and the crime story they could set in a library. 6pm, Friday 1 April, followed by book sales and signings. This event will also be live-streamed on Zoom.