Friday, February 8, 2013

Things I don't know

The public ordination is tomorrow and I have much to do still. But this blog is my friend - as are whoever you are who is reading it - and I simply have to check in with you sometimes, even when it would seem more sensible to do something else!

Here's a photo that Padmatara took on Feb 5, the day after the private ordination. We had a great time.

It was exhausting, too, but not too bad! There was a lot of stillness and a lot of activity. Much planning goes into such a thing. Karunadevi, Padmatara and Danamaya appeared at some point for a few days to help, each in different ways. It was lovely to have them there. Then the private ordination, a deeply moving, beautiful experience.

During the two weeks on retreat, there were some useful reflections on my life and death. I became aware of the degree to which I am living as if I don't have a future, having no plans after April, certainly none for next year. Sometimes this is sad for me, sometimes it's neutral. Sometimes it's kind of liberating, like there is space in my mind freed up that used to be packed out with ideas about the future.

Vernal lake near the retreat in Lake County
I'm taking loads of supplements, some of those recommended by Keith Block, and drinking Misha's gross potion four times a day. I still feel healthy. I guess I'm going to live longer than a few months. I was told "a few months to up to a year" on December 7. It's been two months since then, and while I do cough a lot, I do not otherwise feel sick. But the prognosis is a perpetually moving target. "I don't know" is much simpler and less jarring.

Turns out chanting makes me cough (more). I did plenty of coughing on the retreat, much more when I was tired. Something else I managed to stop speculating about was whether the cough is caused by cancer. A few weeks ago Dr. Nelson said it wasn't, but I've coughed a great deal since then. Again, kept landing on "I don't know" which felt so much freer than always having to have some kind of answer.

The retreat was, among many other important things, another cancer holiday, during which, relatively speaking, I hardly thought about cancer and doctors and choices and chemo at all, which is very restful for my mind.


  1. I for one am glad that you did take the time to 'check-in' with us all .... the photo of you and ....? is so lovely.
    Akashavana's loss is San Frans gain. Have a great day at the Public Ceremony. Be thinking of you all.

  2. Tony Acarasiddhi PressFebruary 8, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    "I don't know" isn't the worst mantra in the world.

  3. I agree with Acarasiddhi--I'm also reminded of that thing Padmasambhava recommended saying over and over "I do not know, I do not have, I do not understand" as a way to deepen into awakening. I was so happy to hear your dream that morning, and your response to it. It seems to me (though I'm not any great expert) that this is evidence of your deepening--this letting go of the future, so you can truly dwell in today. Today is a beautiful realm and I am immensely grateful for any moments I dwell in it with you. XO

  4. Really lovely to see the photo and to hear you from retreat space. I'm so appreciating your blog. It's very inspiring, connecting, moving,full of vividness and honesty. Thank you. love Vajradevi

  5. Hello Suvarna, I just wanted you to know how much i appreciate your honest, funny, wise, and heart wrenching stories on your blog. You share your experiences in such an open way and this helps me face my fears, live in the now, laugh, cry, and generally feel more connected to this fleeting life that i have. I tried to write a comment on the blog but it seems i'm a bit of a blog ignoramus and it didn't work so sending a regular 'ole email.

    Definitely don't have to respond to this but I wanted to send my thoughts and love your way. THANK YOU Suvarna! Love, Marta