On a crisp fall weekend my friend Christopher and I found our way to this crazy cool old place on the Hudson River, a beautiful hour train ride from New York City.   A large crowd was anticipated to spend the weekend with one of the most incredible groups of wisdom teachers I’ve seen gathered in one place.

Unbelievably, almost nobody showed up.  We got to spend the entire weekend in small, intimate circles with people we’d studied from, read and wondered about for a long time.

In one of those intimate conversations I fell head over heals for a forest monk who lives on 200 acres of remote land in a tent, totally off the grid.

I can’t remember what I must have been going on and on about but she interrupted me:

“you gotta understand, unless you have something replenishing the heart, lifting the mind, you are in trouble!”

~  Venerable Ani Drubgyudma, founder and abbot of Bear Paw Monastery.