Here I am; nearly 70 years old – I was 69 yesterday! - and, I have to say, I really have been a fortunate guy. Life is just great! Who knows what might happen tomorrow but I have a wonderful, settled family; I live in beautiful places; I have sufficient money for whatever I need and; I have to admit that, despite my preference for simple living, I definitely have more than sufficient ‘things’ in my life!!!! - and I have a handful of great friends to enjoy this life with. What a great way this is to grow old.
For seven years now, during what they call the ‘working’ hours, while Harriet has been busy editing books I’ve been free to divide my daytime up between making music in our home studio – writing songs and singing, and playing different instruments - and sitting quietly, listening to my favourite Zen podcasts from the San Francisco Zen Center website and drawing. In those seven years I gradually produced all of the drawings you see on this website. How lucky am I to be able to spend my time like that!!
And then, if you add in my other regular activities …. sitting meditations in the mornings, cooking meals for the family every day, enjoying the wonderful peace and beauty of gardening in our little, very ‘English’ cottage garden that’s in front of the house and going for regular runs around the bay at Sandbanks a couple of times a week; you can really see just how fortunate I am.
This year has been a real turning point for me. I can’t claim to have been a particularly warm-hearted or generous person over the years but, finally, after ten years of listening to zen podcasts, numerous years of sincere meditation practice and five years travelling back and forth to South East Asia, it really has got through to me that I really can trust in life to give me everything I need – so I don’t need to worry about that any more – and the only way to go from here on in is to make way for some of that natural compassion and caring that arises - and to try a little (‘tenderness! The Commitments’) generosity.