El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

A thoughtful gift

August 14, 2014 1

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, I wanted to share with everyone this card that my sister made for me for my 21st birthday. At the time, I was just starting my third year at university and things weren’t great. My family was having some financial difficulties which my university were being nasty about, and I had just come out of a particularly depressing summer when I’d lived in a tiny hole-in-the-wall apartment in London whilst my then-boyfriend was working hard at his internship. (I’m being very light on the details; I’ll tell this story another time)

My sister’s card and the accompanying gift lifted my spirits. They were strange, odd and definitely very quirky…and I had NO idea what to do with them. However, so much effort had been put into everything, to the point of timing when she sent it, that I treasured the love it represented. And clearly I treasured it because I’ve kept both card and gift until today (the gift, by the way, was a cushion onto which she had sewn photographs along with parts of various gifts I’d given her over the years).

CardJM1

Click on the image to see the full version!

I often contemplate on what I have done to be reborn into my family. I don’t say this with any sense of arrogance but I think I must’ve done something pretty okay in a previous life, to have been reborn in an environment filled with kindness. I am not talking about material kindness, but a spiritual and emotional kindness – all of my life, I have always been surrounded by people who care spontaneously and without conditions. This stretches from Rinpoche to people in my immediate family, to my extended family, to my Dharma family and even the people I studied and worked with. I think that is quite an amazing thing, considering how much nastiness, pain and suffering exists in this world. Sure, there were some hurtful people along the way but they were always drowned out by the vast majority who were kind.

After I have contemplated on that, I contemplate on what I am doing to repay their kindness. What do I have, that I can give to them? I also contemplate on what I can do to be reborn again in such a conducive environment to practice Dharma. And finally, I contemplate on how I can bring this to others.

So my Throwback Thursday this week is a little different. It’s not going to be a photo of me with hair and make-up on, or food I devoured three weeks ago, or a vacation I took so long ago that I only remember it through Instagram-style filters. This week’s Throwback Thursday is dedicated to all of those people who have been kind to me in the past, are being kind to me now and will be kind to me in the future, as represented by this card from Jean Mei. May I learn to care in the way that they do, so that I can always work to ease the sufferings of others. May all who are suffering in the six realms, quickly be free from their sufferings. May they always be reborn in places surrounded by kindness without agenda, in places with an abundance of resources, with healthy bodies and environments where they can receive, contemplate and practice the Dharma.

Thank you guys :)

Family, Reflections and Teachings

One Comment → “A thoughtful gift”

  1. pema thinley 5 years ago   Reply

    Wonderful sister to all…..

Leave a Reply