Lena Grace has been busy for months working on developing Tara Dhatu’s eStore. I decided that I would start my January tour by spending a week in Portland. I was a bit nervous about this trip. Traveling with an impaired hip is challenging. I had heard the weather across the states was really cold. I had to pack up my house in Kanaio to leave it for six months and I had created some renovation projects to keep my excellent caretakers busy while I was away. So I was quite kerfuffled out.
Lena managed to get me a Business Class ticket for my first trip so I was quite comfortable and well cared for. My fabulous caretaker, Ben, helped me to relax about his care of Kanaio. I managed to hop across the big pond without incident. We also were smart enough to leave a whole day of rest before I started teaching.
My first event was to lead a session of Dances of Universal Peace with Jack, Lena’s adorable husband. It was a large circle. I developed the evening around dances that would present Chenrezig as a complete Buddhist Vajrayana practice. It was a powerful evening. Jack is a superb leader and has attracted a wonderful group of dancers.
Lena has been developing a circle of Tara Dancers in Portland at the Dance Mandala’s beautiful Nepali temple. The temple is built around the work of one of my teachers, Ratnakagi, represented by his son Prajwal. Prajwal’s main student and the director of the temple is Helen. She attended Tara camp this year and asked that I lead a children’s class at the temple. Together, Lena and Helen developed a weekend program for me.
Saturday morning we opened with the children sitting in front and their parents and other interested adults sitting behind them. It was such an amazing gathering of children. We had four, four year old kids, usually a recipe for disaster but these kids were so well behaved it was fantastic. They were also from such diverse backgrounds of age, color, ethnic origin, it was a rainbow tribe of delight.
An hour is about all the time you can really keep a child’s attention on that kind of material so we released them to do some coloring and play while their parents and the other adults attending the session chatted with me about Tara and the Eight Fears and how to work with the teachings.
Saturday & Sunday afternoon we worked with the meditations that go with Tara’s Mandala Dance.
Sunday morning Lena took me to the Tiffany Center to check out the Emerald Ballroom to see if it would be adequate for our Festival of Prayer 2012 â€“ Dancing Tara Monlam. It is a perfect place for our aspirations so Lena will be looking into the possibilities of us renting it for our five day festival of Goddess Tara.
Downstairs we visited the Crystal Ballroom where hundreds of Portlanders engage in Ecstatic Dance. That was fun and exciting. Oh, I can’t wait to dance again so I can join them.
Sunday evening Helen had asked me to talk about the dharma in every day life, the mechanics of Vajrayana practice and we had quite a lively group whose questions kept us going the entire session.
Monday evening Lena took me to a Watsu pool. Friend Robin has mermaid evenings when a small group of women gather in her warm pool to chant and engage in Goddess ritual. It was a very yummy thing to get into that warm water when it was freezing rain outside!!!
Tuesday Lena took me shopping to I could get some warm clothes and shoesâ€¦bless her.
Wednesday we visited Prajwal at, the Portland Chinese Classical Garden there he is employed to offer a Chinese Tea Ceremony. The Tea House is in the center of the gardens and offers over 300 varieties of tea. That was an out of time experience. Bone depth satisfying.
During every spare moment Lena and I worked on Tara Dhatu and the storeâ€¦.truly the week flew by. I will stop off in Portland on my way home to Maui in June. I am so grateful that I can still travel and teach. May I be able to do so until the day of my death.
With so much love and aloha,
To see the picture album go to