I would come for the laughter that I can hear from the dining room. I would come for the pumpkin maple pancakes or the baked french toast or the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches or the wine before dinner or the rain pounding overnight on the skylight over my head. I would come for the smiles and hugs from Donna in the kitchen or the 45 minute meditation, punctuated only by the gong at start and finish or the sweet water from the well. But mostly I would come, and do come, and will come again, I hope, for what happens here.
Most of you probably know the old Peter, Paul, and Mary Wedding Song. I am thinking of the lyrics: Whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is love. Here there is love, boundless and joyful and sometimes sad, but always embracing us.
After a bountiful breakfast yesterday, we were joined by DJ and Jamie from Bodi and Mind Yoga. They made the two hour trip up from Boston to lead us in a most marvelous gentle yoga and meditation session. They are remarkable people, and their work brings blessings to many. The background story is that DJ's wife died of breast cancer before she was 30. After her death, he gave up his law practice to devote himself to creating this program in her memory. His goal is to be able to provide every women diagnosed with breast cancer (although he is expansive and inclusive with that goal, always willing to extend himself to women with other kids of cancer) with free individual yoga and mediation sessions. The instructors come to her home or, if she prefers, meet in a nearby studio. I have referred many women to them, and all have loved it. I love it, too, and will try to support them however I can.http://bodhiandmindyoga.org/
Lunch was the previously mentioned tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches--almost everyone's definition of comfort food. We then gathered again in Circle and spent the afternoon, as the sun was slowly covered by clouds and the rain began to fall, talking. And laughing and sometimes crying and holding one another close. Towards the end of our discussion, Karen gave a wonderful shout out to Wonderwomen; she praised our extraordinary strength and courage and determination and creativity and love and openness and gentle ways and community. We ended with a somewhat improved jellyroll group hug.
And soon it was time for more food and drink and intimate conversation around the table. By now, we are family, and the best kind of family, the kind without a lot of baggage and issues. After dinner, most of us stayed to read and discuss the Five Wishes document, to consider our wishes for the last stages of life, to think about how to have this talk with our families, to share our most closely held fears and grief and abundant thanks for the lives we have and the bonds we share.
We are blessed indeed.