Saturday, January 13, 2007

the other me

The other me
Might even be better than this one

~ Joe Jackson 'The Other Me'

A couple of years ago I got a surprising email. At first glance I thought it was one of those spam emails that use your name on the subject or sender lines to get your attention. It turned out to be the polar opposite.

The sender was named Andrea Pratt and she was writing to me because a friend had googled her name and come across my website. She was struck by the fact that we not only had the same name, but that she is also a part-time artist and her parents were born and raised here in British Columbia. It was one of those moments of synchronicity that you can't ignore and she's nothing if not sensitive to such messages. It also turned out that we were born only months apart.

The summer before last, Baika (Andrea's Buddhist name) and her father came up from California to visit family they hadn't seen for awhile, one set of which lives only about five minutes' drive from my home, so I got to meet them. Baika and I had only exchanged emails sporadically but meeting her was like meeting an old friend. I felt an immediate kinship with her, and I very much liked her father, too. When they left I felt real regret that we lived so many miles apart.

A couple of days ago I got this e-card she'd painted:





It has occurred to me on more than one occasion that Baika is all those things I wish I was: ethical, generous and selfless, but with a really healthy dose of perspective and humour. She lives her ideals. She works at a hospice, which must be one of the world's most difficult jobs, and she’s perfectly suited to such a role. When it's time for me to die, I'm moving to California! She is a Zen Buddhist priest, and last year started a meditation group. Her most recent project has been the Crosses of Lafayette in Lafayette, California. Check out this news clip from right after Christmas. You will see her speaking briefly, early on in the clip, and it's a fascinating and heartwarming story.

I believe that besides being a friend, Baika is, for me, one of those messengers or reminders (read: kick in the butt) some of us need to keep our eye on the Bigger Picture.

15 Comments:

Blogger Ces said...

Oh my gosh, what an amazing story. Sometimes I am at a loss at trying to find a reason for all these coincidences in life. This digital and electronic age offers so much and now and then something really magnificent happens.

13/1/07 10:12 a.m.  
Anonymous Baika said...

Yes it is true. I am the other Andrea Pratt, called Baika. Thank you, Andrea for your kind words. May all beings be happy.

13/1/07 10:28 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bigger picture is right. I feel better just reading your kind words to your other...Andrea.
Well, that's church for me this week. Just don't tell Joyce I went to a Buddhist church. Mennonites and Buddhism doesn't go as well together as, say, soup and sandwich.

13/1/07 4:07 p.m.  
Blogger kj said...

andrea, i admit i am not experienced in judging character from the blogs, but i am very very confident in saying that you too are an honest, loving, good, and wonderful person. that's that.

i love the synchronicity of your friendship with andrea pratt. maybe you are guardian angels for eachother.

13/1/07 9:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Detlef said...

Great post, Andrea. Even better that AP2 (I'm assuming you're AP1) is genuinely humane person.

Now, if I ever get an email proclaiming to be DJ2, then I know someone is having a lend of me.

14/1/07 12:18 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ces: I'm beginning to believe that these weird on-line coincidences and amazing connectings are the raison d'etre for the internet/pc revolution.

Baika: I'm so glad you didn't find the post intrusive! I debated making it for ages.

Brian: I might get struck dead by a lightning bolt for saying this, but I think Buddhism and Christianity are just branches on the same tree. (And on a Sunday, too!)

KJ: Thanks, friend. The coincidence has definitely made me sit up and take notice of things that exist under the surface.

Detlef: Funny -- I have her in my email contacts list as AP2! :) (And I once thought I had an unusual name -- and did -- but you are definitely the crown prince of the category!)

14/1/07 7:28 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been saying many things lately that also could warrant large bolts of lightning. I'm starting to think there is quite a bit less current flowing through "God's" weaponry than we think.

There is quite a bit of peace in saying some things out loud. But I know what you mean. You sort of feel like running in a zigzag anyways.

14/1/07 9:04 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Fantastic story. Everything has a reason and Buddhist teachings have taught me so very much about my own choices and desires. This post is thought provoking.

I've found you via three different blogs and have been lurking. Thought I'd say hi.

14/1/07 9:42 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Aha and one of the other Caroline's has surfaced on your post about another Andrea... tee hee... I'll take that as a sign!

I used to belong to a Zen group - it didn't have priests but one could become a monk or nun - (though the person I got into it through was called Preist (sic)).

I loved the calm I got through practicing Zazen in a group but not the bad knees... nor the fact that so many of them smoked! Lots were on macrobiotic diets and thought that meant they could get away with smoking...

As to you not living up to "ethical, generous and selfless" I think you are doing pretty well! But a mother plus full-time artist's life is necessarily different from a hospice worker.

Lovely card she sent you!

14/1/07 10:05 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Brian: It seems to me that truly good people of most religious/spiritual persuasions share a dedication to something greater than them, a strong sense of community/responsibility, and a humane approach to life. It's the similarities rather than the differences that strike me.

Caroline 2: I have seen your comments at different blogs and resisted adding soemthing esle to read -- but now I must! After this...

Caroline 1: Thanks for putting it all in perspective. You're so good at that!This reminds me that I have another quasi-interesting 'Andrea' post to make.

14/1/07 1:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is amazing! I don't know I think you and your words exuded peacefulness, generousness and questioning. All things great. You ROCK Andrea!

14/1/07 7:20 p.m.  
Anonymous moontopples said...

This is not only a beautiful story, but also tells me that you have the Laughter and Lust album by Mr. Jackson. I don't know anyone else with that one.

But mostly, it's a beautiful story. Your blog is very nice and I really like your artwork.

15/1/07 2:42 a.m.  
Blogger Joyce said...

amazing story. Unusual.

16/1/07 7:09 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrea, this is a beautiful happening! it is so unusual and one can only guess at life's mysteries like this one!
very cool.

18/1/07 4:32 a.m.  
Blogger joyce said...

And so I did! But now it is cooler, because I relate more fully. This Joyce H also likes to create with fabric scraps, and she is a real for real writer.

it's like she's me, only more acualized...

hope we meet one day.

21/11/09 7:28 p.m.  

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