Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waving Goodbye

By yesterday afternoon I was exhausted and over- whelmed. Packing and making decisions about what to do with "stuff" were taking their toll. I realized I was doing the classic add-on. I wasn't just tired, I was "I am so exhausted what if I can't finish all of this, what if I get sick. Why can't I just go with the flow? Why can't I just enjoy this? And yada, yada, yada." In my head I know better and yet the siren's song of habit beckons. It lures me on to do it the way I have always done it. And that was yesterday.

This morning brought fresh energy and the opportunity to start over. Less add-ons. More just doing. More things flung into the give-away bag and the pot-luck potlach boxes. Tomorrow some friends are having a little "leaving town" pot luck for us. I thought I would take along a couple of boxes of the more interesting treasures I am parting with and let people see if any of it calls to go home with them. I thought it might be a fun end to the evening. Not quite a potlach but a nod in that direction, perhaps that pottery cookie jar might find a new cookie baker to keep company or the Christmas tea pot might settle in to a new cupboard.

On other chapters that required closure.... Yesterday I drove by the place where my homeless friend had her camper parked. She was gone, without a trace. In the past several weeks I had run out of ideas and energy to offer. I had to turn my attention to my own moving. Last Tuesday when I'd stopped by her camper was still there but she wasn't home. And now I was left wondering, what had happened, where did she go? As is the human tendency I expected her to still be there doing the same thing. When I found her gone I worried she had been towed away against her will. The thought crossed my mind that I could have done more. I reminded myself I didn't need to feel like I'd let her down.

And then this evening the phone rang. She remembered that soon I would be gone too, from my home, from my phone number, that she might not have any way of contacting me. She called to let me know she had taken her insurance settlement and found a bed and breakfast room in a nearby town. She wasn't clear what her next step was, but all the avenues we pursued that lead nowhere showed her that it was time to leave Victoria. Her settlement allowed her to pay off a sizable debt that she owed and now she could move on. She said that if we never met again she wanted me to know that I had been helpful to her on her journey.

All this was said with such humility and a sense of wisdom. Sometimes during the process she had just seemed confused and indecisive to me, but here she was at her best, speaking from a deep place of clarity and kindness. When she said she didn't know what was next and was simply waiting to see what came up, it reminded me of a true Dharma practitioner. And like a mindful practitioner she was taking care not to create a further wake of karma, by calling me and bringing closure to the little part of the journey we'd traveled together. She was, in essence, pausing at a fork in the road up a head and waving good bye. It was all spoken like a true Bodhisattva, with gratitude, humility, clarity and a recognition of our place in the cosmos, one where we do our part, but are not the conductor of this little travel plan. It felt good to know she was safe and dry and had taken the next step. She offered me her love and blessings on my journey and I to her, in return. A little sad, a little sweet, a little puzzling, like many of our encounters in this life.


  1. Closure, what a gift. You made a difference for this woman and for so many others along the way in this chapter of your journey (I am convinced of this, it is your buddha nature. I wish you well as you continue to release what you no longer need and move on and settle into your next home.

    gentle steps,

  2. Thank you for sharing. Very inspiring:)



  3. Best of luck with the rest of the move. That pausing and waiting your friend is doing feels very familiar to me right now. Thanks for telling us about it.

  4. You will make it - to your new home, to a new chapter. And so will your friend. You are both on the path. Wishing you a gentle transition.

    And the Buddhas do kind of look like they are waiting for the bus!

  5. How very "moving" this was to read! Inspiring, life affirming - and as always beautifully said. "pausing at a fork in the road...waving goodbye." That really touched my heart... Everything just keeps "moving on..." Wonderful to hear it this way through your experience... Thank you! C

  6. Nicely observed.
    How often in my life I've been "displaced" because I chose to compare my insides with another person's outsides. The impulse for that is very pure and compassionate but usually leaves me "puzzled". That's OK. The Buddha had great wisdom and knew all things, yet he was not infallible.

  7. All your Zen reading and thinking will help you with the move and with the new changes and transitions

  8. What a beautiful closing! Thank you for sharing.