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I knew I needed to have people who could reflect back, if I neglected what it was that I might need, as well as what the situation needed.
In 1968 I was 15 years old, at secondary school, sitting the first major exams at the end of that year. Living with my younger sister, parents and two pets in a valley-suburb 10 miles from Wellington, New Zealand.
In 1978 I was in the middle year of Occupational Therapy training in the Wellington area. I’d been in the first batch of people by ordained by Urgyen Sangharakshita in New Zealand in January 1975. I was living in community in Wellington (including Dharmadara) but also (while training in Auckland) with Ratnamala and her sister Eve. This was the first time living in an all women community.
In 1988 I was living in Bethnal Green, UK, at 20 Approach Rd) in a community of 7-8 women in a community started for those who worked in the ‘Cherry Orchard’ café. I was working in the café/restaurant (by now open in the evenings) as ’manager’. This was part of the Pure Land Co-operative associated with London Buddhist Centre. I was involved in the LBC classes and mitra study etc. It turned out this was the last year that I worked full-time there. The following year I was involved in a car accident while visiting Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 8 years.
In 1998 I was living in Coogee, Sydney, Australia in a community of 5-6 women. I was working as an Occupational Therapist in Palliative Care and was Mitra convenor for women in Sydney. I was also supporting my father while he had several health issues.
In 2008 I was living in a rural women’s community inland of the mid-north coast of New South Wales with a core of 4 Dharmacarinis. Various Dharmacarinis also came to stay for different lengths of time. We worked on sustainable land principles based on permaculture for gardening and offered sanctuary for injured wildlife. We were running small retreats for Dharmacarinis, and women training for ordination. We were also providing a community where women could visit. The community supported three solitary retreat facilities available for men and women within the movement. Women travelling would volunteer their services to help in the running of the 150 acres property.
In 2018 I am currently still here but we are making plans to move due to the ageing of community members.
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