Sunday, December 23, 2007


My brother has been living in my dad's old house since before my dad died eleven years ago. Sonam has lived there with him for four years, Kunga for two. In those years the house has been remodeled and most noticeably, re-energized. Literally, the old, angry, drunken, cigarette smoke-filled house has been replaced with all that is right with the world.

My dad had travelled extensively in "the Orient" when he was young, and our home was filled with all kinds of his relics from those days. He never explained any of them, to me anyway, when he was alive. Sonam has now made the scary dragons and sharp-edged artifacts soft and lovely with her understanding of their role in Buddhism, and her feminine touches around the house.

In what is now their shrine room, are two giant deities, one of Buddha, one of Tara. Michael and Sonam paid over time for them, and finally had enough to have them sent over from Asia. Then Sonam and her sister, Suthi, carefully painted them. The shrine room isn't ready yet, they still sit on the floor but will one day sit on their own specially-made tables.

Before it was Michael and Sonam's house, the shrine room was my parent's master bedroom. It is the room in which my father died.

Now, instead of being able to walk in and say, "Dad died here," we enter to do a practice that is meant to instill peace, love and compassion for all sentient beings.

Tara and Buddha have not been consecrated yet. They have been filled, literally, with prayers and painted according to strict protocol, but until a lama that Sonam hand-picks comes and blesses them, the deities must remain blind-folded with a holy katya. They are vulnerable to evil spirits if their eyes are open and their beings are not consecrated.

Perhaps we humans should have holy katyas wrapped around our mouths and typing fingers until we've been blessed, consecrated. With our mouths and loose fingers we can forget to use skillful speech. We can forget to be our highest selves. We can forget that we are on this path together, to help, encourage, walk alongside each other with love, peace, compassion, tolerance and patience. We are not meant to walk behind or in front of each other on the path, but alongside, in cooperation, not competition. There is no scarcity. There is not a special guest list for enlightenment, all are welcome, the more the merrier.

We humans tend to forget that what we preach, so must we practice. We can forget that sticks and stones can break bones, and words can break spirits. We can forget that it is easier to add words, than to take them away, once spilled from our careless lips they are never to be fully gathered and made whole again.

That expression my mother used all the time? The one that she thought gave her carte blanche? "Do as I say, not as I do?" Yea, that one. I'm not a fan of that one. What we say and what we do are not easily extricated from one another, once mixed together they are like a casserole, once put together, the ingredients are impossible to separate. I vote we all try to align what we say and what we do, but that's just me.

Until we do reach a state of enlightenment, can we all agree to open our eyes to see beauty? Open our ears to hear truth? Open our minds to seek wisdom? Open our mouths to speak kindness? And open our hearts to love? Can we agree to at least try?



Maddy said...

Seeing your photo reminded me that my dad has traveled extensively too. I'm so used to seeing all the knick knacks from all over the globe that I don't pay them much heed any more. Perhaps I should ask him for a little more back ground information.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"which takes you straight to my new blog.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

YES!! I will stand with you as one who will try.

riversgrace said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. Fully hear you. Fully get it.

Clear vision, razor sharp, all for good.

Casdok said...

And i will try to!! Lovely post!

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

This is a wonderful post. I wish that all of us could stop our mouth from engaging before our brain has a chance to catch up to what is actually being said. I try very hard not to offend or hurt; but sometimes words tumble and they can not be retracted no matter how hard we try.

When I intrepret things that people have told me offensively, I try to consider that what they said may not have been what they ment.

kario said...

I love that you are part of the ritual in this room. I can only imagine how healing it must be to see the house transformed into one of love and acceptance. Thank you for these gentle reminders of what it means to be part of a family. Especially during this time of the year.


lo said...

Yes, yes! Yes we can and yes we will. Brilliant post C:)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Carrie, just beautiful. My heart fully believes this to be be true, and I am with you on this. I strive to be that person.

shauna said...


Jerri said...

"Chop wood. Carry water."

All the meditating, all the learning is for naught if we don't align our actions to it.

I thank you deeply for this reminder. And yes, I agree to try.