Desolation….or not

About a year ago, I was talking with a good friend of mine that had settled on Cortes Island, in British Columbia. She was planning a kayaking trip in Desolation Sound with Ajahn Viradhammo, the abbot of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery. Dhamma and kayaking together? Where do I sign up? So I recently joined some friends in Canada for some kayaking and camaraderie. Ajahn Viradhammo gave several talks and wise teachings in this smaller group setting. Several “Cortesian” friends generously offered the use of their homes to our group, and we spent a relaxing week enjoying the atmosphere. The surrounding scenery was truly awe-inspiring, and led to a quiet stillness.


Following this, we went on a kayaking trip on Desolation Sound, east of Cortes. We loaded a mountain of gear into a mix of double and single sea kayaks, and set course for across the sound to the Martin islands.

All of this gear did eventually fit inside these kayaks. With room for ten people as well!
 

Landscapes that looked so far away from the shore of Cortes soon became more familiar. We set up our base camp, and over the next few days explored the Curme islands and Kinghorn Island.


We enjoyed spotting seals, deer, and numerous eagles, and took advantage of warm enough weather and water to go for a swim on most days. The cooler water was a welcome relief for sore muscles, and was clear enough to spot starfish and other sea life below.


Our return trip was a little more challenging. The sound crossing was pretty choppy with winds at 12-15 knots and waves crashing over our kayaks at times (yay for spray skirts!). Yet the kayaks felt secure, and paddling through the waves was quite fun, even if we did feel like we were still at sea for a few days after our return.

During a weekend retreat in Victoria the following weekend, Ajahn Viradhammo recounted how Luang Por Sumedho would describe an event as a “peak experience “; acknowledging that something was enjoyable, yet subtly pointing to its effervescent nature without being a downer. I would definitely describe this trip as a peak experience, and am thankful to Ajahn Viradhammo, my friend Sobhana, and many others who made it possible.

Author: mettatsunami

In 2009 I was working full time in medicine, and living a life that was alienated from what I truly valued. While volunteering with a local hospice, I began to wonder: "What would I do differently if I had six months to live?". This began the impetus to change direction. While it has been a case of two steps forward, one step back in many ways, there has still been slow movement in the direction of a more authentic life. Since the pivotal decision to change direction, I have been a Buddhist nun, returned to lay life, changed Buddhist schools, returned to medicine part time, and then full time, quit again, traveled extensively, trained in yoga, spent time in several Buddhist monasteries, and am in the process of how to live according with Buddhist and yogic practice and values, and how to streamline this life into something worthwhile. In the Theravadan Buddhist practice, one of the daily reflections is "Has my practice born fruit with freedom or insight, so that at the end of my life, I need not feel ashamed when questioned by my spiritual companions?". That is my practice. My goal in this blog is to share the journey along the way.

6 thoughts on “Desolation….or not”

  1. I am green with envy. What an amazing experience. So happy that U were able to do this. Many happy memories, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post! Last summer I visited Temple Forest Monastery in New Hampshire (about 8 hours south of Tisarana) and learned about Ajahn Viradhammo–I found a wonderful picture book about the history of Tisarana. Reading your post, I hope I meet him one day. . . Feeling mudita for everyone on the kayaking trip!! Also, love your screen name, “mettasumani.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deanna. I hope you get the chance to visit someday. There is also a community of bhikkhunis about a half hour away from Tisarana called Sati Saraniya.
      Your name sounds familiar- maybe we’ve met? Regardless, hope all is well for you! Khemiyā

      Like

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