As soon as Margie saw Vee kneel next to her to engage with the little boy on the carpet playing with his truck, she knew. She knew the woman was there for a reason. She could feel it.

Vee was a dominating presence. She filled a room. Stocky, yet attractive, Vee sat quietly playing with the boy while the rest of the women in the room discussed their ‘mirrors.’

“We must keep polishing our mirror, so that we may see ourselves more clearly,” one woman recited. The living room was filled with women, as it was “Buddha Life’s” bi-annual women’s group.  “As we polish our mirror, understand that it IS possible to obtain enlightenment in our current lives.”

The women then went on to discuss their stories. Some were benign, but many were horrible. Cancer, and car wrecks and death of children or spouses. So much loss, yet each woman sat wondering aloud what they were doing to attract the bad karma into their lives.  The married women were so grateful for their husbands, and the single women were so hopeful that they would find love this year. 

Margie couldn’t help but think about the attempts to run her off the road by the same red pickup truck a year earlier, not to mention the fact that this practice didn’t sound like typical Buddhist practice. She snuck a sideways glance at her co-worker and friend, and now Buddha Life sponsor, Anne, who was listening intently.  She seemed to be buying it, so Margie raised her hand so she could go next.

“I have had…. loss in my life as well,” she began. The women were enthralled. “It began with me deciding to leave my husband.” The women nodded in unison.

One woman; a beautiful, mature Asian woman with a black and silver coiffure spoke, “sometimes we don’t realize how tightly woven our karma is into other people’s lives. Disrupt their karma, and it disrupts your own.” Everyone nodded in agreement.

Margie nodded. “Yes, well, it is a rather long story…”  she began.

“Our stories are very powerful, as they reflect our attitudes and beliefs. Know that it is possible to change the outcome of our lives, simply by the way we tell our stories…” the Asian woman interjected.

Everyone nodded again.

“—well, I’m not going to go into my story right now. Just know that I’m glad to be here, and I feel the love and support that you’re all … exuding.”

Margie sat down shakily.  Vee passed her the Kleenex box, and Margie graciously plucked one from the container.

After the discussion, one of the women lit an incense stick, and everyone pulled a set of beads from their purses. Vee led the chant, and then everyone joined in.

Anne handed Margie a tiny book, in which the chant could be found, and joined in on recitation.

The group chanted for a full hour before Vee signaled the closing phrases.

Vee walked up just as Anne and Margie were gathering their belongings.

“Thank you so much for coming, Anne, and…” Vee held out her hand toward Margie as an introduction.

“Margie,” as she smiled.

“Nice to meet you,” as a few more women walked up. “This is Joy, and this is Jen.”

The women smiled and shook each other’s hands.

“I love your house,” Margie gushed, “did you refinish all the woodwork, or was it like this when you bought it, it’s gorgeous.”

“Oh, thank you. I redid everything,” Vee nodded and smiled as Joy interjected; “And she’s looking for roommates…if you know anyone.”

Anne looked at Margie, “aren’t you moving out at the end of April?  Have you found a place yet?”

Margie smiled and nodded.  “No, I haven’t … wow.”

“Wow, what,” Vee interjected, “we should talk about it.”

“Well, this just seems to be…. perfect timing,” the words stumbled out of Margie’s mouth.

Vee nodded and smiled, “Karma.”


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