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Proust wisdomI recently shared that my “Year in Review” process this time around had underlined my motivation and commitment to getting my “blog to book” project on the road. I have been writing some drafts for the book alongside the writing of this blog, but something had been holding me back from ‘going live’. I feel I have addressed that block thanks to some deep contemplation of my aspiration as a Bodhisattva and some help from Marcel Proust (via my very wise wife) 

“Our wisdom begins where that of the author ends, and we would like him to give us answers, when all he can do is give us desires”

In other words, I want my writing to inspire others rather than provide them all the answers.

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Over the Christmas period, my Auntie died. The timing was fitting - both her parents, my grandparents, died in the lead up to Christmas some 34 years ago now. It’s funny how certain themes get woven in to the fabric of a family’s narrative.

I knew my Auntie’s death was imminent. Some four years ago, shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she signed up to “Exit”, one of the the assisted suicide schemes available in Switzerland; a country she had made home since moving there in her early twenties. As her condition deteriorated, my Auntie mentioned her “option” more often. A necessitated stay in hospital before Christmas, no chance of returning home and being in too much pain lead her to say “enough is enough”. I cannot imagine the life she had to live these past few years, but I can understand it was too much and she had a choice to cease that suffering made available to her.

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stop look listenI’m writing on the Sunday before the New Year, one more week of my holiday time still to go; it is still 2019...but 2020 is within touching distance. For the past 8 years I have spent “twixmas” spending some time to pause and reflect on the year that has been, and how I might live the year to come based on my experiences, insight, and learning.

All in all, 2019 was a “good year”. When I cast an eye over my review of the year at the end of 2018, I see how I have, on the whole, stayed true to my wishes for 2019. I wanted to settle and consolidate; I wanted to trim back and relinquish some commitments and not take on new things. The “only” thing counter to that intention was becoming a Vajrayana student - but with a tried and tested faith on my Buddhist path (which I started in 2010), I have come to realise that some opportunities are presented to be taken with timing that is often not on our agenda.

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