I was a shy guy born in Chatham. Now I find myself in this small city almost 60 years after having gone through the birth canal, speaking bravely to a group of super people, local residents, about my chosen vocation in life. It was a great mix of folks, a retired school teacher, members of the Green Party, yoga practitioners, a massage therapist, walking enthusiasts – above all, people who really value life.
The venue was the Chatham Public Library. While feeling out the crowd before speaking, a question arose about my personal transition from country Catholic boy to monkhood in an eastern tradition. I took that as a queue from which to speak about an arts student who put creativity to the side for a lifestyle in monasticism. Eventually I’ve come to terms with being a creative person as a swami. Actually, I’ve had peers, spiritual brothers, comment as to how trekking across country was a most creative concept.
I spoke about my time on the trail, about the soul’s transmigration, about making a commitment, your dharma, and how to be like a lotus, within water, but not touched by the water; how to be in the world but not in the world.
The gathering was the fruition of a hard day’s work. Diana, from the Chatham Daily News, was gracious and spent a lively record breaking three hour interview with me at my sister and brother in law’s vintage book store. In the middle of that, CFCO’s 630 Radio divinely interjected with questions about the pilgrimage for their country western music listeners. I would also say that an additional decoration to the day was stopping by the home I spent my first year in this world, just outside King’s Corners is this sizeable wood framed home up to be demolished this fall. The place was vacant and we were told by the owner to help ourselves to the interior. My mom had mentioned once that as a baby she had routinely bathed me on the dining room table, and the one day she did not, the ceiling caved in crashing down on the table. Close call! Life unveils a few close calls. I was not old enough to pray for gratitude, but my mother certainly did.