Friday 31 December 2021


The last day of the year falling on a Friday means that the church bells are in full song this evening. The fireworks have yet to descend (ascend?) and the dogs of the world have yet to howl piteously at the seemingly endless wide awake activities of their families. Milo, the cockapoo pup, who belongs to my younger brother, a perfect sorrowful example - my niece rang half an hour before the new year, Singapore time, to inform me of this. ‘I’m trying to stay awake!’ she said, sounding almost as piteous as Milo. Staying awake till midnight is a tough gig when you’re eight years old, however easy your ten year old brother makes it look.

I miss my four little mice, but somehow we have all created such meaningful and layered memories over time that I don’t feel the loss. Despite being in and out of hospital, and my veins getting a bit grumbly, gratitude has so far been the calling card for me. I suspect WhatsApp has much to do with that!

Being the English teacher of two Vietnamese nuns across the sea, has also enabled me to stay connected to the deeper practice of Buddhist mindfulness and the more ascetic aspect of our human selves. Joyful, nonetheless, but more careful of what and how we consume. How much we consume. And yet the nuns are also grateful for us, laypeople, who make their lives possible by offering support of that very material kind - so electricity, plumbing, food and medicine are paid for. It’s all a balance, in the end. And so long as we are able to balance each other, we will continue. It’s the only way we can nourish each other. 

Speaking of balance and nourishment, thank you for buying my book, for writing reviews, for writing to me… as the year ends, I sit by a lit candle and pray that I have energy enough for more books, for more travel (again someday) and more love. Happy New Year to us all, everywhere!


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Happy New Year to you, dear friend. I know you are tired. I am tired too. But, like you, I focus on beauty, gratitude and hopefulness, for without them, we would be missing the beauty that is ours to appreciate now. I am back home from the farm today and tomorrow I will start the year by putting together my book of 2021 poems. I do a book a year. This year's has a number of poems of farewell, for whatever reason, perhaps my age...........maybe just a farewell to angst, in favour of gratitude and beauty. And this present moment, which is what we have. I love your connection to Thay and Plum Village, and I still have the children's painted stones by my front door. My own little bit of Plum Village, thanks to you. Stay safe, kiddo!

Shaista said...

Love you Sherry and thank you! I have your stone too - 'Believe'!

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