Kimie’s Love Letter

Preparing vegetables at Teen Camp

Deer Park is turning twenty years old, and although Deer Park is seven years older than me, I still had the best of experiences during my time there. I love the Children’s Program / Teen camp since it’s leading me to the right path. For the Children’s Program, that helped blossom my childhood the most. Since Deer Park’s first Family Retreat, every year seems to top one another off every time. Despite my only regret in the Children’s Program was only joining in the Arts and Crafts group during my childhood, but I still had tons of fun, and I made so many good friends. I have learned mindfulness from experiences and adventures and gained great fruits from them too. I treasured many fun stories from the Children’s Program, and just last summer was my first Tween Program.

One story was very heroic and defined a lot of mindful practice. It was in the Tween Program when the group and I were just beginning to hike up a trail. We had a special aid kid with us as well. A few friends and I walked in the front, and we quickly halted, as there was a rattlesnake in the middle of the path. But the special aid kid just walked right by it, and everyone didn’t know what to do. One monk led us out of there, as the helper of the special aid kid kept repeating for him to stay still and calm. The other monk got a bucket and carefully guided the snake swirling into the bucket. Finally, he was safe, and everyone was very surprised and happy. The kid proved that despite having so many disadvantages in his daily life, he’s still able to stay calm and mindful through that whole situation. Those stories and memories topped off the Children’s Program entirely!

As for my first year in Teen Camp? Very different, coming from being in the Children’s Program in Family Retreat for a long time. I had a very good time and can’t wait to come back this summer. I’ve been going to Deer Park since I was only 9 months old. Deer Park is truly a second home to me. It embraces me so much and has helped me gain wonderful experiences I could have never gained in school. The environment alone is what brings Deer Park to its best. Everyone is kind and caring, and I almost always pass someone who if I gave a glance to, would smile back to me! The energy in the place was so calming and welcoming, unlike school and other places. It had a vibe of mindfulness and gave me a well-being of safety.

Personally, Deer Park plays a very important role in my life, and it’s what builds my other half of my personality and mindset. Without Deer Park, I think I could’ve been growing up to be a very mean teenager with a confused mindset. Thanks to the monastic who have taught me how to walk, how to sit, how to see, how to eat, how to love and how to relax in a mindful way so I’m now a mindful teen. I’ve made so many amazing friends and amazing memories in Deer Park, to the point where every time I go there, I’m practically filled to the brim with joy and happiness as soon as I get out of the car to breathe in the breath-taking place. I can’t imagine what would happen if I stop coming to Deer Park for retreats or special ceremonies or to just simply visit. Deer Park means to bring all of us together as one, to live together in harmony and happiness, and to love our well-beings and others.

2 responses to “Kimie’s Love Letter”

  1. Dear Kimie,
    Being an elder, I cannot build a new fear-free school for you or for my descendance, but I read your happy words over and over again and tried to listen deeply to their meaning. Perhaps I have not yet listened deeply enough but this is what I wish to say to you for now.
    Thay tells us to always pay attention to the roots of all things, so I looked up the word “school” in my dictionary and I learned that its root meaning was : Leisure.
    Schools are meant to teach children how to use their leisure, their freedom.
    Childhood is that blessed time and space of leisure and freedom.
    That mission of being entrusted with children’s freedom should be the beauty of schools and we will
    work to restore schools to that labor of Love, Peace and Compassion – leaving no child by the roadside.
    Meanwhile while this big construction site of the New School is taking place in our hearts , we elders promise to create alternative spaces, projects and zones of peace where youths like you can take refuge and continue to blossom.
    Mother Earth’s trees and plants are under assault – we are watering and repairing them.
    The schools are being “hardened” and diverted from their peace-making and nurturing role – we will keep them safe.
    Meanwhile,Kimie, your joy is a lesson to the teachers of the schools of the future !
    Lotuses for you,
    Julia Wright

  2. Dear Kimie,
    Thay says a letter of understanding may take a lifetime. I took more time with your letter and re-read it. This is what finally came to me and I thank you for it : everywhere where the present moment is dwelled in joyously, peacefully and lovingly – there is a school.
    Schools are built in the heart.
    So I wrote a haiku for you.

    For Kimie

    a school of dolphins
    rides with joy each coming wave –
    their present moment

    Lotuses for you,
    Julia Wright

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