Venerable Pannavati is this firestorm of a nun/activist/teacher/humanitarian. Straight up, she makes shit happen.
In our time together in person and from a distance, entirely by example, she’s taught me how to fall in love with humanity and to not give as much of a shit about stuff that never mattered anyway.
She’s a conduit for so much good in the world ( check out her impact HERE! ) and she’s a connector– she’s introduced me to people who’ve become profound teachers for me like Father John Dear and Venerable Ani Drubgyudma. She’s also connected me with other people on the path– like Kim and Robin.
For me, people like Kim and Robin are the perfect example of why a spiritual practice is vital, regardless of context. Together for 15 years and just married last April, suddenly Kim has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. These are the moments when we get to see the depth of grace and love and when we get to see deep into someone’s practice.
Robin writes of Kim: “The funniest person I have ever known, Kim has taught me patience, grace under fire and most importantly, forgiveness of self and others”.
Right there in that sentence I saw their practice— forgiveness of self, first. Far as I can tell it doesn’t work in any other order. All the wisdom teachings affirm this certainty: we gotta love ourselves before anything or anyone else. If Kim taught this to Robin, then she’s got it for herself and that’ll be the best treatment available.
Venerable Pannavati taught Robin to “start practicing with the little stuff first, so we can deal with the big stuff when it happens”. This is why teachers and noble friends are so critical to our growth. So many of us reach for faith and practice and wise action in times of greatest need— and as a result we arrive to the critical moments of our lives totally unprepared. When we cultivate a sturdy practice early on, in the doldrums of everyday life, we build a bank of credit up for when the shit storm arrives. By the time it comes, those of us committed to daily practice have a lot of grace built up to lean into and rely upon. Our practice becomes habit, a reaction to the situation. How beautiful is that?
When I asked Robin how she’s doing with Kim’s diagnosis she wrote “Were it not for my practice, this would be so much harder – I keep remembering impermanence. Mostly, what has helped me is being in the moment – that really is all we ever have. I cannot contemplate the future or what it may hold – I am not there yet. The future is a fiction, as is the past. I know that thoughts in my head, or hers, are just that – they have no basis. We know that what one ponders becomes the inclination of mind – so I am careful what I ponder.”
I rarely see such a profound example of the benefits of a spiritual practice. I am grateful to witness such beauty and I want to support these two incredible humans as they navigate this scary new road. They need all the love and blessings we can spare and the truth is we all need Kim and Robin just as much because it is only in giving that we can ever hope to receive. So, how about we all up our practice RIGHT NOW and JOIN ME in giving them some of your loving-kindness and your MONEY. They really need the support for the countless things that arrive in a storm like this. What’s especially cool is donating to people you don’t even know— even if it’s a dollar or two— I really believe something beautiful happens when you recognize the interconnectedness of us all. If you know yourself or anyone else, then you know Kim and Robin so let’s all hold hands and walk together.
Do it. Do it now. Please. Show them how much loves is swirling around and headed their way. Support them here. I know for sure, the only real way to live is to give.