Confessions of a Dharma Queen (more excerpts from 'Memoirs of a Misfit Mystic')

Today I am settled into my sweet room at the Sri Lankan Monastery in Lumbini, Nepal, which is the birthplace of the Buddha and feeling the impetus to put some thoughts down before too much new accumulates and lest I lose some of the most recent juicy details or insights. Also, time is precious now because hopefully, I will be going into a 10 day silent retreat very soon, where I will be relinquishing the communication devices in favor of communion of a different sort.

Near Manjushree Orphanage
my room at the Sri Lankan Monastery

Yes, I am being drawn again to the sweet simplicity of the Theravada tradition. It was my formal introduction to Buddhist practice in the year 2000, when I attended my first 10-day silent Vipassana Retreat out of Goenka-ji's lineage from Burma.

Somehow it feels appropriate to reconnect powerfully in this lineage after the more recent intensity in my spiritual evolution of ardently attempting the left-handed path and going to such extremes as embarking on a 3 year, 3 month, 3 day Tantric Meditation retreat from 2010-2014 within the Vajrayana Buddhist Tradition from Tibet.

But, I am jumping ahead. Just for the sake of context as to why "I" qualify as a misfit in this so-called spiritual world i am writing about, despite my current very 'ordinary all-American appearance', let me just say that in the years preceding 2000, I was becoming broken, disenchanted with all the world had to offer. And by the dawn of Y2K, I was a very 'old' 24 year old. I was a being desperate for a solution to the suffering I was barely enduring. Suicidal at times, rarely sober, and running, I ran into the arms of Loving Kindness literally when I found refuge in an awareness that far surpassed the effects of cocaine or alcohol. I was still perhaps 'pretty' on the outside, but literally dying inside.