I went skating with a friend today at the outdoor rink in Robson Square. There is such joy in that simple, old-fashioned activity. It brought back many happy childhood memories of skating on ponds and in backyard rinks, figure skating lessons and holding hands with a boy during public sessions at the local arena.

Some of you may know that I pick a theme every year. Last year it was The Middle Path. I have learned a lot about walking that middle road this year; I’m not skating wildly between austerity and self-indulgence so much any more.

It was fitting that yesterday I found a little book at Banyen to reinforce what I have been practicing this year. Beyond the Self, Teachings on the Middle Way (Parallax Press, 2010) by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, is a commentary on the Buddha’s Middle Way teachings. Some of the notions contained in the Middle Way speak to the interconnectedness of all things. How in order to protect human beings, we have to protect nature and that separating the two would not be considered “right view.”

This year I have chosen Joy as my theme. In the introduction to the book it says: “When we embrace the interdependent nature of all things, forsaking all extremes, we will be on the path of a more peaceful and joy-filled existence.”

So the key to joy appears to be contained in my continuing to walk the middle path. Or skate, whatever the case may be.


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