After 6 days my suitcase finally arrived, damaged but with everything still inside, thank Buddha! Meanwhile the weather was getting wetter and wetter and by week 2 my rheumatism played up enormously and I had to lessen my activities and increase my intake of medicinal cannabis.
I talked to our “family head nun”, since I came as staff to help, I felt badly about laying down in my tent. She firmly told me that it was important to be well rested in order to be able to talk with people in a fresh and loving manner with mindfulness. This is because we stayed there for 4 weeks, which means you have to be fresh the whole month and in addition I am a lay “priest” in Buddhism this means I can be asked to have talks with participants about their questions.
Sometimes I get asked to talk in public about one of the mindfulness trainings. The 5 mindfulness trainings are the basis of Buddhism especially in this tradition. So I allowed myself to also use the Vapir No2 much more publicly than previous years. Mainly out of necessity, because I had a lot of pain but also because I was feeling more relaxed about taking it as my medicine.
In the evening I was once again grateful for the Volcano, which brought me a lot of relief and sometimes I would even use it during the day when the pain was too severe for the Vapir No2. Also I started to do less and allowed myself to sleep longer than 5:15 in the morning. In the beginning I still attended the Dharma talks Thich Nhat Hanh gives four times a week, which start at 8:30 in the morning. And even that proved to be too early for me while it was raining so much and I consequently had a lot of pain.
So I started to concentrate on being present whenever the family was coming together, which is four times a week in the afternoon to share about what we were feeling or discovering or questioning in a confidential atmosphere. Also at dinnertime the family meets to eat in mindfulness with a little text that is read before the meal and the chiming of a meditation bell.
We met in front of our tent, which was very handy in case I forgot my medicine or needed to plug in the VapirNo2, which I sometimes even used during our sharing time. This is possible due to the fact that the medicinal cannabis that I use has very little THC, which means it doesn’t make me absent minded/ stoned or however you want to call it. I am very grateful for this fact because it means I can use my Vaporizer whenever I need it and can still function normally. What a relief from a few years back when I had to use the “regular” stuff out of economics and the health insurance not paying for it yet. So I know what luxurious position I am in now, having access to medicinal cannabis, which has a constant quality and can be travelled with legally and it doesn’t make me stoned.
I was at the stage where I started to feel alone in the tent, like missing out on all the beauty. And so I shared this with my ”family” and a few friends that I’ve known for a long time. And low and behold, one friend even brought me her laptop (since we are the only ones getting electricity because of my electric wheelchair and my Vaporizers). So I could plug in the laptop on which she had about 20 talks of Thich Nhat Hanh of which I listened to at least one a day.
Also I started to get visits in the tent. It was so heart-warming and I felt that even in the tent it was possible to be happy and participate in a way. Although it was more tiring for me than if it had been warm and dry, I now have an idea that I can even participate when I don ‘t feel well, which is a great gift for me.