There is something that is truly missing today for me and it is the nightly excursion to the shop in the village after dinner. All my mates and I would meet outside of the dining hall and take the stroll for what I affectionally recall as a great ending to another interesting day.

(Personal blog posts following several people’s journey through mindfulness and suffering. Including the unique experiences of spending time at a ‘mindfulness’ community in Thailand.)

We all had our favorites I reflect back on how funny it must have looked to the woman that owned the shop. We would rush in and dart straight to the freezer in the back. We would dig through all the different kinds of ice creams to find our favorite flavors. Being the somewhat OCD person I am I would find myself organizing the scattered mess of ice lollies and ice creams so we could easily obtain the one we wanted.

So…is this really about the ice cream or is it about the event of getting together with people you have made dear connections with you ask? I will answer that by explaining what really took place while we were enjoying our sweet treats. This moment every evening was about people sitting around a table talking about their day whether it was good or bad, happy or sad, hard or easy. We took the piss out of each other with love, we took the piss out of ourselves unabashedly and shared the things we learned that day  that did, will and does shape our worlds to be a better place.

There were no inhibitions around this table. We were open and expressive; we asked each other their opinions about something that one might have had to go through. We asked each other for advice. We dissected our behaviors, weaknesses and strengths. None of us were ever afraid to tell the other if there perhaps might be an area one could improve on or if there was an area we commended. We sat around that table and ate ice cream to learn to become the person we yearn and are striving to be.

So much more took place then just gobbling down our dessert. It was a meeting of the minds and there were definitely some strong ones. We laughed around that table, we cried around that table but most of all we made history around that table. All of us are interwoven in a moment and time of vulnerability and I cherish it every day and cannot help but giggle when I look at some photos that reflect the times around that table. For that I am truly grateful today.

My favorite you ask? I aptly named mine ‘Angry Panda.’ No matter how many times I bought one and I can assure you it was plenty, Angry Panda always had that same scowling look.  This photo gives me the giggles every time because it reminds me how precious life really can be.