Six weeks ago, my home burned down. In ten minutes. While I was out of town.
Complicatedly, the building that burned wasn’t my private residence, though it was the heart of the place where I was living and have frequently visited and lived over the past 17 years. Since August, I’d been living at Wilbur Hot Springs—an off-the-grid historic lodge, hot springs, and nature preserve. Wilbur is where I go for creative renewal and deep contemplation. There is nowhere I feel more deeply nourished, more heart-flung-open to the world, more at home. So when the beloved Victorian-era lodge was largely destroyed in a ten-minute blaze on March 29, I experienced one of my life’s greatest shocks and loses.
Up until the fire, I’d been teaching a weekly self-empathy workshop for Wilbur guests. In that offering, I always shared my favorite Buddhist principle: that every life has 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. I take this to mean that pushing through sorrows and striving toward joys won’t leave us with any more joys, but it will deprive us of the growth, depth of experience, and meaning we gain from offering presence to each joy and sorrow as they inevitably arise.