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Lions Roar : May 2013
that I failed to register my pain. Until I saw the looks on my classmates’ faces. I knew the pain then, knew it in my body. The weight just below my solar plexus, that was the dread of her leav- ing. I noticed for the first time the way I carried my shoulders, hunched up to my ears. Disconnected from time, events large and small surface like pieces from an old shipwreck. We sift and choose and discard and arrange. This is the definition of story. We do it with great care or without thinking at all. We say, Remember that time... and when I was a kid... and my mother always... and back then we never... Patterns emerge. We tell the story, and over time the story begins to tell us: who we are, who they were, what they did. I began to embody the story of abandonment. I abandoned my dream of finishing school, of becoming a writer. I abandoned integrity and spiri- tuality. I abandoned relationships, one after the other. Finally, I abandoned my own daughter, not physically but emotionally, hiding behind chemically induced numbness. I was there, but I was not there. I wrote the story. I lived the story. But I could not, would not, feel the story, and that somehow kept me outside of it. Here’s what I did not know: Stories have a way of brushing up against the present, a way of whispering their secret, twisted narratives until even those who are willfully deaf are forced to listen. One day I came upon a self-portrait my daughter had drawn for class. I recognized her braids, the carefully outlined freckles. A tear rolled down each cheek. Under the drawing she had writ- ten: This is me. If you understand, things are such as they are; If you do not understand, things are such as they are— You might say love awakened me, or at least began to shake me from the slumber. There was pain and surrender. My lack of understanding caused my nine-year-old daughter enormous pain. My understanding meant she didn’t have to be alone with it anymore. Things such as they were began to change. I began to change. Eventually a different narrative emerged, one large enough to encompass the abandoned parts of myself, including the story of the girl who traveled with the world’s largest tent. I began to put it all down in black on white. I wrote about my mother’s secret relationship with Terrell, and the three daughters they had together and kept hidden. I wrote about the time my mom asked Terrell how they would explain things to these girls as they grew up. His answer: Jesus will come before then. And he meant it. I smiled, amazed at the absurdity, and at how often the stories we tell contrive to keep us from shifting the narrative. I wrote about how Terrell “went incognito” in lime-green lei- sure suits in the rural communities where he and my mother set up their secret households. How he topped off his outlandish Wherever you are, please join friends from around the world in celebrating Pema's birthday. For a few moments, or for the entire day, alone or with a gathering of friends, you can make a difference by Practicing Peace. Pema's deepest wish is for us to plant the seed of peace in our hearts, in our homes and throughout the world. For more information, and to register visit our website. Free and open to all. Visit our website for more information about Pema's work. Our bookstore offers free shipping in the USA. www.PemaChodronFoundation.org Practicing Peace in honor of Pema's 77th Birthday Sunday, July 14 2 options: TM course A 3-year distant learning course + two 6-day onsite practice workshops TM course B 3-year distant learning course Beginning of course: October 2013 3-YEAR TIBETAN MEDICINE ONLINE COURSE WWW.TIBETANMEDICINE-EDU.ORG www.facebook.com/TME.tibetanmedicine The course gathers several tools: students study the theory with twelve textbooks based on «The Essentials of Gyud-shi», an extensive three- volume treatise written by Prof. Pasang Yonten Arya, that expounds, explains and comments the traditional Gyud-shi, the «Four medical Tantras». These texts are complemented by numerous recordings. About once a month, students have the possibility to directly ask questions to Dr Pasang Y. Arya, through an interactive online class. Practice training is given in intensive 6-day workshops in Europe (TM course A) under Dr Pasang Arya’s direct guidance. TME TIBETANMEDICINE E DUCATIONCENTER A very rare opportunity to study traditional Tibetan Medicine and its contemporary practice with the prominent senior Tibetan doctor Prof. PASANG YONTEN ARYA SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 79