A year ago

I posted the picture at the top of this post onto my Instagram account a year ago. I look all smiley don’t I? I had just had my hair cut and coloured and loved it. But … at that time I wasn’t having the best time to say the least! What was happening? Well…

I was in a job which no longer gave me much satisfaction. I loved and admired many of the people I worked with but the job itself had changed. I was never made to be at the computer all day everyday! The service had changed; Children’s Centres were not as they were; families were not helped as they used to be; Health Visiting is still universal but….

There was a lot going on with my family and friends. Much illness and suffering. I felt that I was not able to help and support them as much as I should.

I was living through the long tortuous end to a relationship which, although short lived in time, was very precious to me.

But there were flashes of light! I had been going to the Sangha Evening for a couple of months and was making friends there. I was beginning to see myself as a Buddhist and knew that this was where I wanted to be. I was yet to take the step into becoming a Mitra but I knew this would happen some day.

Since then! I have become a Mitra and am now training for Ordination. I have sold my house and now live in a caravan which I love. My eldest daughter did fabulously in her GCSEs and is now at college. My other daughter is homeschooled which is much better for her. I left my job and am fortunate enough to be able to not work for a while.

Sad things happened … incredibly sad. My Dad becoming ill and passing away; my Mum having to move into a home. My childhood house is being sold. My Mum is so strong though and is making the most of her life.

So yes – a lot has happened since I posted that picture. It’s strange to think that, at that time – I hadn’t even had the thought of selling my house and leaving my job !

Nothing is permanent; everything changes

Becoming a Mitra


I am writing this just as I am getting ready to go to my Mitra Ceremony. I am looking forward to making the public declaration that I am a Buddhist. That I am practising the Dharma. That I want to be a Buddhist within the Triratna community. I look forward to declaring this within the Eastbourne Sangha.

There is one person who I wish could be with me this evening to witness this. The man who introduced me to all of this in the first place. He changed my life. He showed me the path which I now walk. So I would have liked him with me this evening. But he has wished me well and will be thinking of me.

After the ceremony

What an amazing, inspirational, beautiful, magical evening. I felt surrounded by love and support. A lovely friend who has been with me throughout my Buddhist journey surprised me by coming along. People stood up and said such lovely things about me – about my conviction, my energy. They called me a warrior and one praised me for my courage. We did a three stage Metta Bhavana meditation- and the second stage was centred on me. The tears threatened to flow.

I was right to be nervous about the candles ! I ended up putting all of the candles out trying to light mine! Then someone went in search of the lighter .. which somehow didn’t work! Fortunately someone had come armed with a lighter … It was fine – everyone was laughing and it didn’t take away from the occasion. It certainly made for an unique mitra ceremony!  It could only happen to me.

I have so many cards and presents – the cards have such touching thoughtful messages.  I also have the flowers from the shrine.

So I am now a Mitra. It feels such an important step. I feel energised. I have the tools to keep going forward in my life. I have a lovely set of friends who are always there for me and me for them. I am part of a beautiful community.  I still have everything going on in my life.  I have many challenges to face and life is not always satisfactory – there is much suffering.  People who I love dearly are suffering.  The situation I am in hasn’t got any better!  In fact, it has got significantly worse over the last couple of weeks.  But the way that I deal with it and the way in which I approach it has changed.

I asked for a poem to be read at my ceremony which sums it all up wonderfully.  Someone commented that this poem was perfect for me.  That I walked into the Sangha with a mission, a purpose.


One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

I have a date for my Mitra Ceremony!

  • I feel that I am a Buddhist
  • I am trying to practise the five precepts
  • I feel that the Triratna Buddhist Community is the main context in which I want to deepen my practice

Mitra is a Sanskrit word meaning friend.  Mitras are people who have made what is called a “provisional” commitment to practising the Dharma within the Triratna Buddhist Order.  There is a special ceremony which takes place where the would-be mitra is making the three declarations listed above.  The ceremony itself is a simple yet beautiful one.  Unfortunately for someone as clumsy as me, it does have plenty of opportunities to drop things or set the place on fire.  Please don’t let me set the shrine on fire! I will keep you posted on that one.

This will definitely be a landmark in my journey. It’s represents a commitment to my path


Coming to the end of the year

The end of another year is approaching – and the start of the new.  It is an artificial construct.. human made.  And (together with all of the hype around Christmas) we have constructed a whole drama, story, legend around what the new year should mean.  It’s often seen as an opportunity – the time to make resolutions, to decide to take new paths… What we are doing at midnight on 31st December seems to have taken on an extraordinary importance.

Most of the time, I find these human obstructs to be totally unhelpful.  The  Christmas thing – well that would be a whole “ranty” post to itself (it might well happen).  But there is something about the New Year which I do find helpful…  The idea that things can change… that I can make things change by resolving to do things differently.

Every year I make New Year Resolutions.  I try to make them positive rather than saying what I won’t do.  I did quite well on 2018’s.  I made sure that they were SMART – (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) so, yes, I did well.  But were they challenging?  Were they life-changing?  I was unhappy with huge aspects of how I was living my life – did these resolutions aim to change that?  On the whole – no they didn’t.  They were easy, they were achievable – do Dry January….  drop that extra bit of weight… Take Pretzel to puppy training classes.  These did not turn out to be life-changing for me – and they were never meant to be.

This year has been full of ups and downs (lots of downs).  The dips in the road have seemed like craters.  There have been great times – time spent in Snowdonia, a Moroccan holiday.  There have been evenings spent with my girls, with friends…  There has been great times but this year has taken its toll.  I have loved and I have lost;  people I love have been through trauma and distress; I have had to accept that there are things my body just cannot do any more (weights, running….).  And there has been this feeling of being trapped in a place where I do not want to be… being a person that I do not want to be.

Fortunately, I did not totally break.  I stumbled.  I laid on the ground not wanting to move a few times… but I did not break – well not totally.  I started on a journey in mid July which has been hard, with loads of twists and turns.  The train I was on crashed.  But the journey is sound.  It is a journey which makes complete sense to me.  It is not easy but it is do-able.

So, next year will see a continuation of my journey.  I aim to become a Mitra early on in the new year – making my public declaration that I see myself as a Buddhist, am following the five precepts and see myself as belonging to the Triratna Community.  I will be continuing to develop my practise of the Dharma.

I do not need a New Year tradition of resolutions and change to do this!  It is a continuation.  However, as I walked Pretzel yesterday morning I came to the realisation that I have to make changes.  Changes that will help my continuing journey.  Changes that I need to make in order to progress, to continue my journey.  I have come to a junction and have to make decisions.  I could continue walking the easier path which is familiar, even a little boring. Or I could push my way through forests, up hills and get to a path with a better view.  I could accept the challenge of leading a better, more skilful life.  I could carry on walking my current path with its familiar stresses and challenges until I am pushed off that path by others.  I could let other people, circumstances dictate when I change my direction.  Or I could make January 2019 the year in which I take control.  When I give that push to becoming more Tee.

My resolutions for 2019 are SMART but they are challenging.  They are not easy targets to meet.  They are going to take work and determination.  But I have a direction.  I feel an energy that I haven’t felt in a while.

Celebration of Sangha Day

When Ananda, the Buddha’s friend asked him if friendship was half of the spiritual life, the Buddha replied that it was “actually the whole of the spiritual life”


Yes I am talking about Sangha AGAIN!  Yes, the Buddhist community is becoming increasingly important to my life.  I will make this a short post 🙂

Last night at the weekly Eastbourne Buddhist meeting, four Mitras gave talks about the preciousness and joy of Sangha.  All four are very different people, different ages, experiences, personalities.  They all talked very differently.  However, from all of them there shone the light, the jewel of Sangha radiating the importance that the different communities of Buddhists have in their lives.

Throughout the evening there was a common thread… the three jewels are inextricably linked.  The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are all precious jewels which shine in the world inviting people to take refuge within them.