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December 4, 2018

One year ago, my mother’s caretaker Jennifer started her shift by saying “There were sure a lot of sirens I heard on my way here.”

I remember sitting with my mom, talking, not realizing that in a few hours I would be back there, loading her in her van as Jennifer stood by, holding mom’s medications in a bag and the flames raged in the hills just a mile or two away.

That night the biggest and most destructive fire in California started, just two months after the previously most destructive fire in Santa Rosa. Since then, we have had two massive fires that have destroyed thousands of homes and a debris flow that killed dozens.

That night changed everyone who was here. We’re wiser and sadder and, I think, kinder to one another.

It should be obvious, but we pretend so we can get through each day without feeling paranoid and afraid: everything can change in a moment.

That knowledge is also a font of strength and mindfulness.

One of my great spiritual teachers, Richard Levy, said that all of his lessons could be summed up as “Show up. Pay attention.”

The zen saying is “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

Before the fire, show up and pay attention. After the fire, show up and pay attention.

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What remains. #thomasfire #venturastrong #ventura

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  1. December 4, 2018 09:36

    “Show up. Pay attention.” is a good mantra.

  2. December 4, 2018 15:55

    I remember when I first read about! My
    Mother is disabled. That was a hard time
    For you, I know!


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