International Women's Day 2021: KusaladeviOn Sun, 14 March, 2021 - 17:00
I’m Kusaladevi and I was ordained in 2015 at Akashavana retreat centre in Spain. I live in Nottingham in the UK, with my partner Paraga, who is also a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. I’m the chair at the Buddhist centre in Nottingham, so most of my days are spent preparing, supporting and leading events for the Sangha (Buddhist community), meeting Sangha members and doing various tasks to ensure things run well at the Buddhist Centre. I also work one day a week for the Buddhist centre online which I really enjoy. I love hillwalking and one of my highlights of the year was climbing Hellvellyn via Striding Edge on our Lake District holiday between lockdowns and the wonderful sense of space, beauty and adventure we were blessed with on that walk.
The last year has presented some surprises and unexpected twists for me! I moved in with my partner in February, which has been a delight - we’ve been in a relationship for 16 years, but never lived together and lived very independent lives. I was also fortunate to start two new jobs, with FutureDharma and Dharmachakra. I’ve loved working in two remote Triratna teams this year, as I’m particularly interested in how Dharma practice manifests through work, communication and friendship.
This year has highlighted my tendencies around how I engage my energies, both within and outside of work. Being in the same space a lot of the time (working from home) has presented challenges in this area - how to transition from work to other activities, when to engage my energy outwardly and when to withdraw to focus on inner Dharma practice. I think I’ll be working this all out for the rest of my life!
I’m amazed at the mysterious process that took place last year and resulted in a very strong, wholehearted and intuitive wish to respond to the Nottingham Sangha by becoming chair at the Buddhist centre. It was an unexpected surprise! It’s such a delight to be learning in this role and serving the Nottingham Sangha. I’m also enjoying being part of Interfaith activities in Nottingham - it’s inspiring connecting with others on the basis of our faith. I’ve found the conversations in the Order and more widely in society around race and diversity stirring and moving and I hope to bring some of my learning from these conversations into my role as chair.
Although the pandemic has been deeply challenging and difficult for so many, I’ve been moved by the resilience and adaptability of humans and the stronger emphasis on looking out for others and generosity amongst local communities. I’ve also enjoyed some moments of connecting with strangers whilst out walking, even if that’s just a shared smile. I have been amazed at how effective online events and retreats can be and it’s been particularly inspiring to connect with other practitioners all around the world.
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