Tonight there was a practice circle after zazen instead of the more usual sanzen. As a Sangha we haven't been together very much since Ango ended mid-month; kept away by weather and holidays. That being the case HB thought a circle would let us all reconnect more as a community. He asked us to speak to what we've learned about ourselves over the past year and what our intention is for the coming year.
At first when practice circles are announced I feel deep gratitude for the opportunity to sit back and listen to others. To not have to speak, reveal myself to my community. Given the way the year has gone I voluntarily spoke up about mid-way through the regular members rather than wait to be called upon.
I've learned a lot about myself this year. There have been many hard and painful truths surface. What I settled upon to share, to be brief so all people would have time to talk is that I've realized what a "behind the scenes" kind of person I prefer to be.
I like being generous with compassion, patience, understanding and support with others. I particularly like it when I can do this from behind the scenes, facilitating the progress and comfort of others. Not that I don't like receiving acknowledgement for these efforts, but I prefer that acknowledgement be accompanied with little fanfare.
More importantly I realize how I am not generous with myself. I begrudge myself the same compassion and love that I easily give to others. I set unreasonably high expectations for myself and deny myself when I understandably fail to meet them.
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