Cultivating compassion and joy is not a linear process; it’s organic, like growing flowers.  If you work regularly at decreasing your compulsive desires and narcissism gradually you will see beautiful results.

–Lorne Ladner, The Lost Art of Compassion

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 Last June, I spent two weeks deconstructing at an ashram.  On the surface, the ashram experience seemed a nightmare.  Group constipation, perpetual cravings for hamburgers, and sleep deprivation combined with withdrawal from various vices, hard work, heat, and allergic reactions.  (See Poo-poo Tea at the Ashram and Ashram Adventures for a recap of those fun details.)

Beneath that muck, seeds of joy were being planted.  Several lifetimes of lessons were condensed into those two weeks.  It was a lot to processes. I’m still working to understand what I learned and to apply it to daily life.  (For more on that end, see A Heart Flung Open and Knowing by Doing.)

And here is but one of the many lessons I learned from the experience: Beauty will unfold day by day when you work to tend the garden.

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