It’s the day after the memorial service for our good friend, Nick Shindo Street. It has been an emotionally hard two months since his passing. I’m still finding it hard to believe he’s gone.
Tad and Christin Street, Nick’s older brother and sister-in-law, created a beautiful service that truly captured the essence of Nick. There were tears and laughter, music, and deep heart-felt sharing from his family and others who were close to him. It was a true celebration of Nick’s life. (Watch Nick’s Memorial Slideshow)
Nick Shindo Street was a wonderfully layered and beautiful individual. After leaving his hometown of Decatur, AL, in the mid 1980’s, Nick eventually settled in LA where he lived as a priest at the Hazy Moon Zen Temple and a prolific and award winning writer at USC for 20 years. In 2022 he left the priesthood and returned to his home state, creating an new life for himself in Birmingham. (Read Nick’s obituary)
He contacted me before his life-changing move and once he arrived, we quickly became best friends. And although he was here for just shy of two years, it felt like we knew each other for decades (Many of you reading this know what I am talking about). We had similar backgrounds and education. His path led him to Buddhism much earlier than mine, while I arrived after 40 years steeped in Christianity.
Nick was a dream come true for my self-taught Buddhist way of life. Often, after our Thursday Sangha meeting and community time at Rojo restaurant, we would go sit on his apartment balcony, drink hot Bengal Spice tea and talk about… well, everything. I would ask him questions about Buddhism, he would graciously listen and meet me as an equal, rather than a superior. His humility in guiding me as I tried to reconcile my past spiritual past to my new found path, taught me more than his words could ever say.
We also shared a similar passion to build a meditation community that embraced and encourage people from all walks of life. Nick, however, had a much larger vision than my own. Three months after this recording Nick rallied many of us here in Birmingham to found the Alabama Meditation Network.
In May of 2022, I asked Nick if I could interview him in our Thursday Night Sangha with questions that many of our Sangha members would submit beforehand. What followed was a wonderful and intimate Sangha evening.
I don’t know why I have procrastinated to put this interview on our website. Since Nick’s passing I have found myself thinking about listening to it often, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. But earlier today I made a cup of Bengal Spice tea, opened up the audio file, and listened to my friend share his life with humility, humor, and honesty. For obvious reasons I was moved more than I was the night we recorded it. And as I listened, I heard all the wonderful characteristics about Nick that were shared about him at his memorial.
I hope as you listen you will be encouraged, comforted, and remember our beautiful friend Nick Shindo Street.