Parvati Leads the Mandala of Tara in Indiana

On the week-end of March 15 – 17 at the Sacred Waters Center in Mishawaka, Indiana (just a stones through from South Bend of Notre Dame fame) the local community of Taras lead by Jenny Mish and Mary Wood hosted me to lead a Tara Mandala retreat culminating in a magical offering of the 21 Praises of Tara Mandala Dance Sunday afternoon.

The organizing team: Mary Martha Metzler, Parvati Burke, Jenny Mish, Mary Wood, Joyce Hug, & Deborah Ryan

Resting on 4.3 acres of land, Joyce Hug’s Sacred Waters Center is a retreat haven providing “a place where people can go to share their knowledge and experiences as they travel on their spiritual journeys…”  it was a perfect match for our week-end journey into the heart of Tara’s Pure Land.  The renovated house provided our many traveling Taras with cozy bedroom nests so they could immerse themselves in the practice.  I was touched to note that the home’s living room now serves as “Gauri Matta Hall”, honoring the Great Mother by a sister name to my own Parvati!  We were especially delighted in inaugurating their newly renovated yoga studio, giving us  plenty of room to sing and dance together.

The Mandala was diverse, with a mix of long time dancers and those meeting the practice for the first time.  Notably among the dancers was a Catholic nun and a 16 year young woman. I was touched by the quality of attention each dancer brought to her participation and the cooperative and supportive environment that was created.  All who have danced a Praise understand the beauty and the challenge inherent in engaging oneself fully in this very special mix of support and push, nourishment and opportunity for deep growth in ones stickiest inner places.

Sophia Malmquist, 16 years old, dances the Tara of Impeccable Virtue

All gave fully of their hearts and minds.   I was grateful for having Ivy Garland from Wisconsin join us since she had both the experience with the practice and the courage to lead our protectors with grace and ease. What a joy and honor to share this precious practice with them!

Jenny Mish has been facilitating a Tara Dance circle in this community for the last number of years. She is moving and will soon be handing things over to Mary, so we decided to have her dance as Central Tara.  She was gorgeous in the Spring time meadow green sari and led triumphantly with beauty and strength. Mary Martha helped us bring things to a perfect culmination by leading a Dances of Universal Peace favorite, “May I Take Peaceful Steps,” based on the wisdom and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

The ironing party held in the Sri Gauri Matta Hall shows Sara Malik McQueen with Mary Martha Metzler and Ivy Garlynd with Mary Wood at work.

Many thanks to Jenny and Mary for instigating the retreat, doing all the hard to work to make it such an easeful success, and for leading the local circle of Taras monthly. For information about the monthly Tara gathering held there please contact Mary at MARY.R.WOOD@comcast.net.  Additional gratitude to Joyce Hug for cultivating such a wonderful retreat center and welcoming us all so graciously.  For more information about Sacred Waters please visit http://sacredwaterscenter.org/. And, of course, merci beaucoup to all the Taras in the community like Deb Ryan who worked hard to support the event. Gracias, as well, to those who made the choice to spend their week-end engaged in this precious work, even though for many it meant driving a distance to do so. Om Tare! May All Beings Be Well and Happy Blessed By The One Who Blazes With Glory!

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