~ Stephen Levine, A Year to Live
As for me, I'm healthy as can be, free from doctor's restrictions, jumping off rocks into rivers, hiking, aging, failing, and approaching death, like everyone else. Some see that as a negative view - like maybe you'll escape death if you're positive enough! Good luck with that one. I see it as the juice that can inspire us to really live our precious life. I prefer the arms-wide-open, look truth in the eye methodology, as best we're able. Go deep. Ask the big questions. Why else are we here?
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, or why, soon enough you'll know. Don't wait too long. One day you'll only have a year to live, but "almost no one knows the day on which the last year begins."
All my love,
Photos from southern France follow.
I made a big effort to get to the last full day of the Dharma Yatra, the 10th that I've attended. It's a beautiful gathering. You can come! www.dharmayatra.org
The boys, Chris on violin and Wim on guitar, plus Nastia, playing a mean cooking pot, joined me on the Sangha Holiday a few days later.
I was hoping to surprise people, but word got out that I was coming. A few were surprised, including, in a way, me. I was sure that it would be impossible for me to attend, even for a day.
My brother-from-another-mother, Denis, leads a group in laying down meditation.
The yatra was in the Alps this year for the first time. The scenery, what I could see and from photos, was amazing.
One of my favorite jobs is carrying kids on my shoulders when they get tired. No carrying this year, or even walking, since I came for only one day.
Future heartbreakers, no doubt.
After the yatra a group of us camped together and went out for a nice meal in a nearby village.
The French know how to do it.
Our campsite for one night.
The road trip begins. English, Australian, Israeli, Dutch, and Israeli.
Lovely Jess takes a spontaneous mud bath by the side of a little road.
Chris was even more beautiful than usual after this beauty treatment.
Wim is wearing a flesh-colored swimsuit.
Two minutes after a spontaneous rest stop, the hammock is tied and occupied.
Jess and Wim.
The last night of our little road trip was hosted by Debbie at her place. She cooked a lovely meal.
During the Sangha Holiday we attended a violin concert in this ancient church.
We tried recording a music video for Wim. This is where we jump off the rocks into the river. Notice the color of the water.
After heavy rains, the river at the Sangha Holiday turned the color of paint.
I still love stone work. Why, exactly, I have no idea. But I have no choice in the matter.
On a big walk, 16 km (10 miles) including 850 meters (2,800 feet) climbing with a steep descent.
The walkers, including 11 year old Abe, who made it look like a walk in the park.
The viewpoint from Mt. Carroux.
A panoramic from the viewpoint. Click for a larger view.
The van got some good use on this trip. I count four people, since that's all that's legal.
Another hike with the second group. This one was 22 km (13 miles) but not as much climbing. I was still pretty beat when it was over, partly because I couldn't exercise much after my surgery.
There are a number of ruins on this trail. At one time there was a thriving chestnut "industry" here, and incredible terraces supported by stone walls line the walk
Beautiful, rugged scenery.
At our last stop, this water is icy cold.
Crystal clear pools.
The second group.
After the Sangha Holiday was over, I joined Denis and friends for a beach day.
Meet Lanza, Denis and Lydia's son.
And now - I'm heading to the north of Italy, to the Dolomites. I gasped when I came around the corner and saw this scene, even though I was here a few years ago. Incredible.
Thanks for looking!