I first started attending Birmingham Buddhist Centre in 2004 and came to Taraloka on retreat in the same year and have done many retreats since then. For the past 5 years I’ve been living in Todmorden and been part of the Hebden Bridge and Manchester sanghas.
Taraloka feels like my spiritual home and like many other women I’ve learnt so much about myself here. I have also loved supporting retreats as an organiser. On those retreats I feel I’m at my best - my most integrated, compassionate, aware - I’d like to be like that more of the time. I love seeing how women coming on retreat open up, make friendships and flourish in such a short time, it’s so lovely to watch and a privilege to be a part of.
When I first saw the advert for Taraloka I thought I wouldn’t apply. Then I was on the ‘Heart Sutra’ retreat in February 2020 where I heard Ratnavandana give a talk on emptiness. She said she saw her life as service to love and I cried when I heard this, I felt such a resonance. I feel I have so much love to give the world and don’t know where to channel it. Taraloka feels like the opportunity to do this.
I want to bring my practice fully into the work I do, this wasn’t easy in other contexts I’ve worked in – it could be stressful and busy and it wasn’t always easy to talk about my Buddhist practice. Now I hope I’ll be able to more fully express myself in my work, be more fully myself. I want to reach a place where I’m really present to everyone and this will impact positively on whatever I do, whether it’s on the phone or e-mail or helping someone else in the team. I’m looking forward to living and working with others who love the Dharma and are committed to the Three Jewels, trying to live this out the best we can in our daily lives.