Thank you for the miracles we have shared in so many ways. I am saying goodbye as I have finally made the reluctant decision to retire from Compassion Works for All and from a professional life as therapist and meditation mentor.
When I began work as a psychotherapist in 1968, I knew it was my heart's call. When I added wisdom practices of Buddhism and meditation to therapy and the community, I found a path of one heart with each person that I shared special time with. After many years of working with people on life challenges and growth, in 1994, I found that I had received the perfect preparation to enter the world of those on death row and those living in prisons around the country. From the beginning of my professional life journey until now, each and every person that I had the deep honor of being with were my teachers. Each of you taught me about the miracle of what it is to be a living being. Each of you contributed a unique gift that opened me to our one mandala of perfection that we all are.
And then, I received a new and even more difficult personal growth assignment. An illness has required that I withdraw from all of you and all the stimuli of the world and go inward to more fully know what you have been teaching me throughout these years. The new gift of intense focus on the present moment demands that I meditate on life and the unfolding of moment to moment. Had I been the one to give myself an assignment that I had avoided all my life, it would be this. I should have foreseen that if I didn't enter into such a practice willingly, it would be thrust upon me. And so it was.
All of you wonderful beings and your enthralling and miraculous journeys were an absolute delight that enriched my life. I have loved all of you and all that we have shared together. But now, I must tie up all these loose ends that dangle in every which way in order to see a bigger picture. I have a pretty nice cave to meditate in. I have all that I need. I will write a bit, meditate a lot, and try to live as long a life as possible. But, it appears that it is time to double down and do this meditation 24/7 that I have heard we should tackle before we die. This isn't quite the retirement that the television ads promised me.
I leave Compassion Works for All in your loving care. Here, too, perfection is clearly working its magic. Our fabulously smart and skillful director, Morgan Holladay, has now had a few years to learn everything about CWfA, has built a fabulous board, recruited volunteers, and solidified our incredibly faithful donors and supporters. We see opportunities for those we serve gaining traction throughout the country. We see that the issues of social justice for our most underserved demand to be righted. Those who live in prisons for a wide assortment of sentences, many of whom will not benefit from incarceration, are being looked at by lawmakers and citizens. More people now care about those we care about. There is a movement in communities and from within the prisons for healing our children and all those in the prison community. Morgan and all who embrace CWFA are marching in the forefront of all these issues. I see great change emerging. Compassion is the means of opening this great vision for all.
So, as I say my goodbyes, know that I am holding each of you in my heart. I will never leave your heart. For every little loose end that I weave into the great mandala, you are right there sitting on the lotus beside me. Thank you for all you have given to me and to each other. So many blessings to each of you.