I began planning this trip a year ago, and here we are sitting outside the Hotel Vajra in Katmandu, Nepal.
There is an air of excitement all around us. We are here at festival time and the beautiful old brick walls surrounding the hotel are vine and flower strung. The deities in their niches are decorated with colorful powders and fresh flower garlands. They are each surrounded by lit candles and the air is rich with the incense wafting on the breeze. Lavish attention has been paid to the feminine deities in particular as this sacred time of year is celebrated.
There is a subtle yet pervasive feeling of the Himalayas that loom in the distance, though the overcast sky makes them almost impossible to see. I listen to the banter of my daughter Megan, and my son Chris, as they share lightly, easily, effortlessly with some of the group of 20 whom we have traveled to Nepal with.
We are on pilgrimage here to the birth place of Buddha. We have come to find the place where the sacred dwells inside each one of us. We are here to view ourselves and the world with the beginner’s minds. Each of us hoping and waiting for an invitation from this sacred ground, into new depths of our own connection with spirit.
I listen with delight, as my adult children share what has touched them, what has caused them fear, what is emerging from deep within their own hearts. I sit and watch with the eyes that have been watching them for over half of my life now, and yet, with eyes that are seeing them for the first time. They are so different from each other and me, and at the same time, so similar. My son and daughter are self proclaimed best friends. I am touched by their honestly, sharing insights, questions, and their life concerns. One moment I am inspired by their openness and insights, and then in the effortless back flip of discussion that they each do so often, l am brought to tears of laughter as they share an outrageous thought or story.
These sacred beings, to whom I gave birth to, that came through my body, are vibrant and alive. Filled to overflowing with so much more life than I ever expected; it’s as if their bodies have a difficult time containing all of the radiance that is filling them. I have the privilege of being with them for 12 days on this sacred quest. I watch their depth in sacred ceremony, their laughter on shared bouncing van rides, over roads riddled with potholes. I take in their awe as they watch another culture, so different than the one in which they we’re raised in. I catch their irritation when they are tired and tempers flare. When there has been too much time together and not enough time with one’s own thoughts and silence.
My heart is pierced at the respect they show for the shamanic healers. When it is their turn to receive healing, they open deeply and honestly to all that is offered. With patience and reverence they hold sacred space for the others in the group when they are the recipients of healing. We are all so vulnerable, asking the healers for what we need, each witnessing all of the others in the heart bared honesty of our deepest needs. Megan instinctively covers her head with a shawl, it feels as if her body remembers from another life, how to occupy this space. Chris stands for minutes in silence, I can feel the keenness of his awareness, and I wonder at the mystery taking place within him. Both of them are fully present, taking in this sacred adventure, truly like dry sponges absorbing water.
There are other moments that pierce me in another way. This sacred adventure is showing me the turning of time. Chris reaching out to take my arm, supporting me over some high curb or ditch or across some broken stones, His touch is strong, secure, loving and protective. Megan checking for any needs I and her step father Steve may have. Both of them caring about our needs and well being, in the same loving way that I have care about theirs for so many years. They are a grown man and woman, filled with so much more than I can ever know.
The best I can say of them; had I meant them as strangers, I would have been fascinated and enchanted from the first, and I would have grown to admire and adore them both. These few lines cannot speak to the multifaceted awareness I have of them. It is not that they have resolved all of their issues, or that they are awakened to the depth that they will be. What truly touches me are the qualities they display so effortlessly, respect, compassion, joy, concern, curiosity, frustration, appreciation, boundaries, forgiveness, and most of all love. The best I can say for myself, and what I value the most, is somehow I have been able to help create the container that encouraged these two amazing people to be open to the lessons of love, with all of its heart piercing, soul prodding, frightening capacity for being broken open and transformed. These wondrous, radiant souls in my life can and do love. I sit here now, safe and comfortable in my home surrounded by so much inside and out. I am filled with gratitude and with love and awe.
The sacred isn’t only half way across the world, it is here watching love unfolding and unwrap the treasure of my family.