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I think it was the missing piece of the jigsaw, as it were.
In 1968 I was 6 years old, final year at infant school and struggling with the outside world as I experienced it through school.
In 1978 I was 16 and studying for ‘A’ levels, on the brink of adulthood but feeling an outsider, never really fitting in and very afraid.
In 1988 I was working in a classical music publishers in London and leading a life immersed in the arts – in and out of work. Uplifting in its own way, but also a means of escape from who I was or might be or what my life was about – neither of which I had a clue about. My main preoccupation was to present a polished front. Nothing was very real.
In 1998 I was two years into the Dharma at the London Buddhist Centre and beginning to declutter my life and see the benefits of ethical practice and, for example, going on retreat.
In 2008 I was preparing to move to Norwich (where I now live and will remain) from Cambridge (where I’d moved in 2002, worked for Windhorse Trading, been asked to leave (Sept 2003), joined Alcoholics Anonymous (Nov 2003) and had my last drink. (13 December 2003). Five years later, in 2013, my Preceptor helped me to recognize (and receive a diagnosis of) Aspergers’ syndrome which has been hugely helpful. It was a missing piece of the jigsaw, as it were, understanding and working with my conditioning.
In 2018 I’ve been a few months back from my ordination retreat in Spain – after 17 years in the ordination process, 17 Going for Refuge retreats and 17 modules of Mitra study. I’m still processing the way ordination has turned my world upside down and how my life will never be the same again. Everything feels, looks, sounds different, at times, bewildering, even.
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