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  • There I was, sitting in the zendo (a Japanese word meaning meditation hall), listening to Roshi(a Japanese word for teacher) deliver her dharma talk, when Stella started crying. Stella was 3 years old, and her mother had recently passed away. Her father, who was still in mourning over the loss of his wife, was soon to be ordained by Roshi as a Zen Chaplain. He lived in Washington D.C. with Stella, but was at this Zen meditation center with his daughter for his last training before his ordination. I had been living at this Zen Center in New Mexico for 8 months, having arrived shortly after finishing college.

    There I was, sitting in the zendo, listening to Stella cry, and watching her father try to calm her. For a deep while, i could connect with the cries of this 3 year old girl, what it must have felt like for her to have lost her mother (and to no longer have a mother). There was a 3 year old girl within me who felt the same way in that moment, like i had lost my mother, or like i had never even been mothered.

    After, we all left the zendo. Stella's father approached me. He said, "Stella kept pointing at you and saying, 'she is beautiful.' " And strangely, I kind of knew what Stella meant. I could see the 3 year old girl within me looking at my 22 year old self at the time, and thinking, 'she is beautiful. she would mother me. she could be a good mother.'
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