Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's your Dharma?

When Lauren Spiker asked me to come up with a name for a retreat we launched for our Teens Living with Cancer retreat last year it was a quick decision. 


Sound like a silly word huh? But take the first part of that: dharma.

It has various translations...but the English word I most favor in describing it-- is path.

Last year the word 'dharma' was kind of spilling out around in other places in my life. 
In both of the senior English classes I work with at Norman Howard School, we read Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. If you haven't ever delved into the story of the man who would become the Buddha. It is  A MUST READ.

It's the story of a rich man's son, sheltered from the world outside the walls of his palace.
A world outside he needs to see, to feel, to experience.
He sets out on a journey to find things that make him whole, and invariably he stumbles and questions his choices along the way...

But who was he looking for?

You probably understand the answer to who isn't an external one...
the answer (as cliche as it may play in watered down description) is himself.

The novel is among my favorite selection of the senior literature course because it is applicable to all of us. Not because we relate to the particular details of Siddhartha's life...but because his search for fulfillment is relatively universal. Everyone is looking for that path...the dharma. We might not just put a name to it, but we are.

And I mean that. 
Even the Jersey Shore reality dregs of society are... granted, in their own sick twisted way.

I wholeheartely and abruptly digress.

How do we find our path without knowing our selves? 
How do we know ourselves without traveling that path? 

Helping teens and young adults walking the cancer path (a path I know well) is important to me. Giving them the opportunity to try new things and experiences is part of why I couldn't help but especially smile this year while putting the program together. It's hard working long hours, having two jobs plus. Yet, maybe the reason my body tolerates it... is what it does for my spirit. 

Aromatherapy/Fitness /Laughter Yoga/Writing/Drumming

Each gave them a taste of something new, something unique for their 'tool boxes'. 

Photo by Kris Murante/ Democrat and Chronicle

Yesterday for the 2nd year in a row we held Dharma Rama. The experience was a microcosm of a whole path. It's not a short-cut, not a detour. Bite-size, quick and easily fit into the space of a day. We gave them scribbled notes on a roadmap not bright and flashing signs posted on their path. All of it merely whispers. The take-away is theirs to use or just put away for another time.

In some way this day was and is part of my path...but to me what's great about a path is the others who come on in it with you.

I have so many pictures from yesterday in my head I can't spill out on this screen. I can't upload them here now. The memory card is locked in the office, but my memories are locked in my mind.

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