The nows I lost.

Forever is composed of nows.

–Emily Dickinson

A buoyancy lifts the community above the diurnal duties of “normal” culture. With its chorus of authentic morning greetings – from the standard “good morning, sir!” to eager embraces – Jhamtse spills over with such positive energy that it suitably stirs a spectacular spirit. As one teacher noted, her smiling teeth extending into the open air to meet the day, this is her dream life (not job). Years of visits have led to pure commitment. Because everyone here is all in, they are in all a glorious reminder of what a faithful band of life’s travelers can create, away from the strangely seductive allure of a culture built on plunder and destruction. There is no such death drive here. Only life is permitted, the chanting voices in unison declaring their accord with all the universe. Wake up with gratitude, walk with beauty, watch with wonder.

 

Or so I wrote to myself in a fit of rapture, one day after my arrival to Jhamtse Gatsal. What followed were nows that I let slip by in favor of befores and laters, surely the ingredients of nothing.

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