Nonfiction (Memoir 2)
The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference.
Traveling by boat, train, and foot, it took me three months to reach the Tibetan monastery in the years before China drove the Dalai Lama into exile. I lived at the monastery for the next five years.
I was not required to wear a saffron robe – how stereotypical, I thought – although after only a year I wore nothing else. The quiet, smiling monks made no demands upon me, allowing me to participate in their daily rituals as much or as little as I desired. At first, I merely attended the resident Lama's daily lectures, taking long, solitary walks in the evening, marveling at the majestic white-capped peaks of the Himalayas.
And then I tried meditation. My teacher said I was a natural. After only six months, I was able to descend into a deep pool of tranquility for twenty minutes twice a day. I was not an official member of the monastery – I was, after all, a female – but every waking moment was steeped in joy as I listened to the spinning of prayer wheels, the flapping of prayer flags. Even the bleating of lambs and goats, clear in the high-altitude air, was prayer, the voice of the Eternal.
It was during one of my morning meditation sessions that a vision crystallized from the depths of thought-free consciousness. In my mind's eye, I saw starving children in Africa, children dying from dysentery, cholera, and dengue fever.
That was the first moment in my life when I realized that the journey is more important than the destination. Within a month, I said my goodbyes and once more took to the road, this time traveling by train and jeep. There would be many more stops on my journey, but for the next ten years, I served as a medic with the Red Cross, caring for the sick and dying, the hungry and homeless.