I have been at Tiratanaloka only since June 2012, and am still finding my feet here in some ways. I'm really appreciating being here, though. The retreats I've been on have been excellent; very powerful, for me as well as for most of the women who come on them. It's a great privilege to be in a situation where I'm engaging with the Dharma so directly as part of my "work"; whether through meditation, leading study groups, giving talks, doing the prostration practice and puja, or talking to individuals about their practice. Running retreats alongside the others on the team is very enjoyable and bonding, and I've come to feel very much part of things in a short space of time, probably because of the intensity of what we do together.
Before I came to Tiratanaloka, I lived and worked in London for 25 years. At first, I was a school teacher, but I've been working for Triratna full-time since 1996. I worked in Evolution in Bethnal Green, then for Karuna as a door-to-door fundraiser and appeal leader. My final two years in London were spent working in Lama's Pyjamas, the London Buddhist Centre's very successful charity shop. I was ordained in 1999, and I spent two years visiting India and working alongside Karunamaya and Vajrasuri with women in our Movement there between 2001 and 2003. Before coming to Tiratanaloka, I lived in five different women's communities, both in London and in India. Some of these living and working situations were more challenging than others, but I feel I've grown enormously through them all, and don't regret being part of any of them. The friendships that I formed during these years are of central importance in my life, and it's delightful to find myself at Tiratanaloka with two of the women who were made mitras with me at the London Buddhist Centre on Dharma Day 1993!
I'm looking forward to whatever comes next; but in particular, to the opportunities I'll have to deepen my connections with friends old and new, both those who come on retreat at Tiratanaloka, and those I'm living and working with in the community.