I lost my precious thing on the Bicycle Buddha adventure last June. My little black notebook. MyÂ archive of jots, quotes, ideas, notes, emails, maps and doodles, the random traces of my mind at work. Somewhere between breaking camp at Fort Rodd Hill and setting up my tent on the beach at the Tawous reserve, I dropped my precious thing.
I asked Brigitte to comb the grass where I had picnicked. I phoned the cafe where I lunched and the farm market where I bought cheese. I tried everywhere I could think. I accepted finally that I must have dropped it out of my pannier along the road, or into Elk Lake when I stopped for a swim. I had painted on the book, in silver: gate gate paragate, parasamgate bodhi svaha. Gone, gone, gone beyond. Awake. So be it.
I told myself that all those notes (encompassing all my time at Upaya) were inside me now, and that was enough. I got a new book and I wrote on the first page: start again. And again, I started. I could feel the nubbly black surface of that book in my dreams, through this seven-month practice of letting go.
Last week I got an email, subject line: notebook found. The email was from the Student Support Office of the International Study Centre at Royal Roads University. The notebook, with my email address and heartfelt plea for its return on the inside cover, had been turned inâ€”found, in the men’s washroom, at Royal Roads (where we had gone to hear Joanna Macey speak). Go figure.
I made a ritual pilgrimage to reclaim my bookâ€”a mini-epic journey, rumbling the bike along the Loughside trail to Royal Roads, that surreal castle on the sea. Tess at Royal Roads handed the notebook to me, and when I opened it the first note I read was from Zen Mind Beginners Mind: “Not to be attached to something is to be aware of its absolute value”.
My little black book is the reflection of my life. Not my life, but its reflection.
And if i can offer you dear blog reader one piece of advice, this is it: get a very small notebook and carry it with you, always. And a pen.Â 🙂