I first started attending Birmingham Buddhist Centre in 2003 and came to Taraloka on retreat in 2004, have done many retreats here since then. For 5 years prior to joining the community in 2020 I'd 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 being of service to love and I could feel the tears on my cheeks when I heard this, I felt such a resonance. I feel I have so much love to give to the world but didn’t know where to channel it, Taraloka feels like the place to do this.
I wanted 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 in a secular society. I have been able to express myself in my work and be more fully myself. I 'm still working with trying to be really present to everyone whatever I do, whether I'm on the phone, responding to an e-mail or taking part in the shared Team work. I’m enjoying living and working with others who also love the Dharma and are committed to the Three Jewels, trying to live this out the best we can in our daily lives. As I've continued to learn and grow my sense of knowing that I'm in the right place has deepened and I know that this is where I'm meant to be for now, who knows what the future will bring.