Guest blog by Cindy Rasicot
My life has been a spiritual journey since I was a small child. At four I asked my older brother (who was five at the time): “Where is God?” His answer: “Everywhere.” Puzzled, I looked all around, but didn’t find evidence. I kept my brother’s words in my heart while growing up, and figured I’d have an answer someday.
My spiritual life took on new dimensions when I moved to Bangkok for three years in 2005 with my husband and teenage son. I was in my mid-fifties, not working, and questioning my life’s path. Initially, I felt adrift in a foreign culture and unprepared for the challenges I encountered there. On an impulse, I signed up for a conference where I met Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, a Thai Buddhist nun—an encounter that opened my heart and changed me forever.
I began to spend weekends at Dhammananda’s temple, an international center for Buddhist women. I wrote an article about Dhammananda for an American Women’s Magazine and spent hours interviewing her for that story. In time, we became very close and our deepening relationship led me to write my memoir, Finding Venerable Mother: A Daughter’s Spiritual Quest to Thailand, published by She Writes Press. The book chronicles my adventures along the spiritual path.
There are challenges and triumphs on any spiritual journey. When changes happen, they can be frightening, and fear is difficult to handle. After my family moved back from Thailand in 2008, part of the transformation that happened was my realization that my husband and I were drifting apart. I was on a more spiritual path, and he was drawn to other interests. In January of 2020, after thirty-four years of marriage, we divorced. The six months period leading up to my decision of whether or not to separate was particularly challenging for me. The thought of being alone terrified me. During my time of personal struggle, I learned several valuable lessons. The first thing I learned was that my fear was not insurmountable. I could survive it, but in order to do that I needed to feel it. I didn’t need to fix it or “overcome” it; I just had to live through the experience. And much to my surprise I did, day after day, moment after moment, and hour after hour, with a lot of help from my family and friends.
Many women authors have written about their life experiences undergoing profound life transitions. One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Lesser, who wrote Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow. In her book she confronts the question, will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed? Another obvious, and popular example is Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Eat, Pray, Love. Jane Binns, also a She Writes author, wrote Broken Whole, a memoir which describes her journey to discover her authentic, whole self.
You may find one of these books is helpful for you or a friend who is experiencing a major life transition. One thing I know to be true. If we go forward with a truly open heart, faith, love, and forgiveness are possible. Please feel free to leave a comment if you are inspired to do so.
Cindy Rasicot is an author and retired psychotherapist. Her life has been a spiritual journey that took on new dimensions when she and her family moved to Bangkok, Thailand. There, she met her spiritual teacher, Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkhuni – an encounter that opened her heart and changed her forever. She wrote about her experiences in Thailand in her debut memoir, Finding Venerable Mother: A Daughter’s Spiritual Quest to Thailand, which chronicles her adventures along the spiritual path. Cindy lives and writes in Pt. Richmond, California where she has beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.
Sylvia Boorstein said about her book, “Cindy Rasicot’s loving account of her own transformation through knowing Dhammananda is a joy to read.”