Saturday, November 10, 2012

Life In the Now

For the last few weeks Jason and I have both been in a weird place.  Some days are OK and others are not.  Every day we do our best, whatever that may be.  On Friday, I had been invited to join a few dear friends and colleagues for a final happy hour before my departure.  It was just what I needed.  I belly laughed for the first time in a long long time.  In fact, I laughed so hard that I actually peed myself a little.  

As I was sitting there thinking about how my next blog post would be about holding onto these moments of joy, about being so grateful to be surrounded by such incredible people Jason was experiencing something that was equally profound, yet in another way entirely.  He shared his experience with me  later that night.  And now I share it with you.  

**This is my first guest post, enjoy.  jason**

Living in New Delhi, and teaching where we do, we are often given the
opportunities to do and participate in amazing things.  One of those
opportunities presented itself on Friday when we were visited by His
Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa.  He is the head of the Karma Kagyu, one
the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. This is the third time His
Holiness has visited our school and I've been fortunate to see him
speak twice.

Friday was a rough day for me.  Our impending departure is creeping up
on us, my pile of work seems to be increasing instead of getting done,
I was tired and I was having a "sad day." In fact, it was the kind of
day that people don't expect me to have. I surprised three colleagues
when they asked, "How are you?," and I gave them an answer they didn't
expect. "I'm sad today."  Their reactions varied from respectful
silence, to sympathetic smiles and hugs. I suppose that's why I went
to see the Karmapa that day.  The primary message of Buddhism is peace
and in particular, finding peace in yourself. If nothing else that
day, I was hoping to absorb some positive vibes.  And then I started

I had asked a question about the increase of self-immolations among
Tibetan protesters and the response was that these protests while
courageous may be misguided because all life is precious, especially
those of the  precious few Tibetans. Needless to say, this gave me
pause relative to the choices we are facing.

While my mind was racing, the Karmapa had been asked another question
and was talking about how his most important job is to eliminate
suffering in the world.  Up until that point I was trying to frame a
question about preparing peace in yourself in the face of one of
life's most traumatic circumstances, but then suddenly, I didn't have
to. My mind calmed, my sadness left me and I had found what I didn't
know I was looking for.  These two comments by a Buddhist monk had
neatly summarized the decisions Kate and I have been struggling with.
We have decided to celebrate the lives of our babies, and minimize
their suffering. Then, another question spurred the third framing
thought for the day. The Karmapa was talking about the importance of
living in the moment and appreciating the "now."

I finished listening to the talk and I was invited to dinner with the
Karmapa. At dinner, we had informal discussions where His Holiness
alternated between offering advice, describing his life and keeping us
all laughing by cracking jokes. Grateful for that moment in the "now,"
I looked around the room and saw my school director, who has
graciously arranged for us to return home, my principal and my
assistant principal who have been amazingly supportive and
understanding and a room full of friends who have pledged to do
anything to help us. Anything - including giving us space, sympathy,
hugs and the peace that will enable us to know that we're doing the
right thing for our family.


  1. Kate and Jason- thank you for sharing this beautiful, and very inspirational post. Safe journey home...

  2. Kate, I have been absent from this side of the blogging world. My heart hurts for you and Jason so much. Sending you and your family love.

  3. Beautifully put. I'm drawn to Buddhism since I find it very helpful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.