Saturday, 11 February 2012

About Me, Part 33: Touch a Hand, Make a Friend

By the spring of 1998, the sun was rising in my life. During the previous fall, I had done two landmark things in my life. At the end of September, I had a friend from my Mastery support group accompany me to the rocky shoreline of False Creek, near Vanier Park where I tore a few pages out of my journal containing a letter to my mother, one filled with hurt, anger, guilt, regret, grief and a certain amount of acceptance. We, then, lit a match and watched the pages shrivel and burn among the rocks. It was a very cathartic experience, and I am still grateful that my friend was there to support me in it. It meant that I could start to move beyond my grief and into something fresh and new in life.

Almost two months later, I went to a talk given by the Pacific Northwest-based Tai Situ Rinpoche at the Century Plaza Hotel on Burrard Street downtown. Word came through the Shambhala/Buddhist community that he was going to be holding a refuge vow ceremony and I wanted to take my vow to signify my deepening commitment to my practice. So, on that chilly mid-November evening, I did along with about twenty others. Others in the audience were watching, including some that I knew from the Center. It was a very touching moment for me.

By the following April, I was practicing meditation regularly, staffing the Centre's open houses and participating in study and practice groups. Likewise, in the Mastery community, I assisted more workshops throughout the year, the one in late March being significant because I dj'ed the Sunday night dance after the workshop was over. I played a set with 70s soul and pop alongside some vintage Jamaican rocksteady. It was a hit; and I loved doing it. I had become enamored with soul music and during the 90s cd reissue boom, I was to acquire many new, but old, collections.


Work was going fine, but I had to learn how to steel myself in certain situations. One was when dealing with a belligerent library user who would verbally abuse whoever was behind the desk, or manipulate our fears of being complained about. One bad situation, where I was so busy that I forgot to sign a woman's daughter up to a public computer resulted in a very uncomfortable situation where I was yelled at. That evening, I went down to the beach to relax. In early May, the library was celebrating its twentieth anniversary. The theme was a 70s party. It was my day off, but I went anyway, bringing with me some costume items from the previous Halloween: silver Afro wig, elephant pants and polyester shirt and no make-up this time. My coworkers and supervisor were delighted and entertained. It turns out, this library had very playful, irreverent people working for it. By the summer, I was working a temporary, part-time position with regular hours. I was given some interesting projects to work on. It was during that time, in the middle of one of the greatest years I ever had, when my professional and personal growth fueled each other, that I realized that I had finally struck gold.

To be continued ...

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