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Buddhadharma : Summer 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 1 0 28 course and decided to ask everyone attending to undertake a service project: helping out in a soup kitchen, serving the homeless, volun- teering in a hospice—something along those lines. But once the notice about the course went out, people began calling Grace, say- ing things like “I’d like to volunteer some- where, but in addition to working I’m taking care of my mother with alzheimer’s, can that count?” “I have young children, and am over- whelmed as it is...can I possibly count that as my service?” as Grace recounted these phone calls to me, I felt quite embarrassed at having missed how much caregiving so many do every day with no fanfare, perhaps no title, and often no remuneration. ever since then I’ve tried to be consciously inclusive when I consider who is a caregiver. when I led a retreat at the Insight Meditation Society especially for care- givers, this breadth was very evident: we had mothers and fathers and spouses and nurses and hospice workers and sons and daughters and therapists and chaplains and medics and so many more. what was so striking to me, along with the evident fatigue many felt, was how often they regarded their service, how- ever difficult or frustrating, as a privilege. It was a beautiful testament to their hearts. It also struck me that for anyone in a continuing sharon salzBerG is cofounder of the insight meditation society in Barre, massachusetts, and has taught extensively on the practice of metta, or loving-kindness meditation. her books include The Kindness Handbook and Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience. (BoTTom)LizamaTTheWs,(tOp)TimLoWLy