One of my favorite places in the world is Shelter Island, N.Y. I spent my childhood summers there and make it a priority every summer to make sure I get some time on this special island. So when my Step Children came to town, my husband and I loaded up the boys, our 100lb Golden Retriever, and Khenpo and headed out for our adventure.Shelter Island is only around 3 hours from our home in Wappingers Falls but with summer traffic, stopping for snacks and both human and canine bathrooms breaks, by the time we got on the ferry everyone was so excited… Especially Khenpo and Marshall.Bringing a Buddhist Monk to a beach paradise I knew would present many firsts for both him as well as the people we would be spending time with. The first evening we brought him to a July 4th Bonfire on the beach. Khenpo enjoyed mingling and instantly became a very popular guest. When it came time to dig a hole for our bonfire he jumped right in to help.And while we explained there would be fireworks once it got dark we took Khenpo home as the sun set so he could rest and “do his practice”. Coincidentally we also wanted to bring our dog home to avoid the fireworks scaring him.The next morning we had a very early meditation session with many of Khenpo’s new friends he made from the beach the night before:After becoming more centered we took Khenpo out for a special ride on my father’s sailboat. To get to the sailboat we rode out on a motorboat first.Once on the sailboat Khenpo was a natural and before too long took over as captain!You may be wondering, why is he not wearing a life jacket!? The answer is that I witnessed Khenpo swimming and he is actually very good! As we were experiencing a heat wave I had bought Khenpo some swim trunks so he could decide if he’d like to go in the pool. And he sure did! I am not sure where a man living in land locked Nepal at a Buddhist Monastery learned to swim so well but it’s just another one of the many ways this man has surprised us.
On our ride I found myself having a bad episode from summer allergies. Here Khenpo is explaining to me that it’s because I ate a taco three days earlier with ground turkey. I’m not arguing that being a vegetarian has many health benefits but some of his diagnoses for ailments seem a bit far fetched.That night we enjoyed a family meal in our beautiful paradise. My husband made vegetarian arepas as a treat, another first for Khenpo. His first trip to Shelter Island was a success and was a wonderful experience for everyone.