I recently enjoyed a reunion, of sorts, with a group of guys I started working with over 20 years ago. Going in to this experience there were numerous opportunities for trouble. There was a guy who battled addiction and has been clean for over a decade walking back in to the lion's den. There was a guy who had been fired for being a jerk, and left numerous ruined and ravaged relationships with friends and family in his wake. There were ex girlfriends attending this event alongside current wives. There were guys who went on to have successful alternative careers, while others toiled away in the same career. There were all sorts of things that made it challenging. Two of the guys had spent those years on a spiritual quest. They used to be united by this, but one found Christianity and the other Buddhism (that's me, of course) and are now, seemingly, divided by ones inability to accept the others ways.
In spite of all of these things, the weekend was stupendously amazing. The bad blood washed away with hugs and handshakes. The career choices mattered not at all in the face of a bond between this band of brothers that is still stronger than jobs and talent and charisma and which transcends time and practice. Old flames were warm and friendly but cold by comparison to the heat of familial love. Old demons cringed in the awesome power of life lived with love and presence. It was simply, astoundingly, amazing.
It was rewarding for me to see in many ways, but watching all of this I couldn't help but be amazed by the dharma of interbeing everywhere I looked. I looked around at these people who are really like a family to me, and I realized to my astonishment that any one of these great families, partnerships, friendships...any one of them...might not exist today if not for the choices we made back then. Good choices, bad choices...they all led here. And "here" was a beautiful thing. It was just humbling and beautiful to see.
At the height of the celebration, in the middle of beautiful chaotic creativity, I stood - took a few deep breaths - looked around and smiled. It was truly one of the greatest moments of my life. I'm grateful, on this Thanksgiving Day, for all that has led me to where I am today and made me capable of seeing that moment for what it was. I'm being intentionally vague here, in the interest of others' anonymity, but I hope you've followed the point. The point is that everything is as it should be. Enjoy it.