Amina Kruck has been dancing in Tara’s Mandala for 14 years. As a Level One Tara Dhatu Student Teacher she facilitates Tara circles in the Phoenix area and has taken special delight in sharing the empowerment she has received from the Tara practice as a woman with a disability. She is the Community Outreach Manager at Arizona Bridge to Independent Living located in the Disability Empowerment Center in Phoenix, AZ. She writes…..
Our Phoenix Tara retreat in October was one of the most powerful I have ever participated in. I know the practice well enough now that I am able to concentrate on the visualizations and meditations. We had many participants that have done the practice many times and are sincere dharma practitioners. Most precious was the presence of live musicians for our Mandala: Shivadam Burke, John Hinton and Debra Podjed. The musicians had been practicing for several months for this offering and they did a fantastic job!
The retreat was at my place of work, a beautiful complex, fully accessible for people with disabilities. Because it was being used by many groups over the weekend we found ourselves moving from room to room from day to day. This left Tara blessings through my place of work which is fantastic for me! We had women from Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, California and Indiana join our local group. I had three very close friends participating, including my longest time friend whom I have known since I was 13.
We started with a potluck dinner for the travelers and to celebrate Parvati’s 38th birthday. Drolkar Elizabeth Beck, who came from Tucson with her beautiful daughter, Arabella, danced the story of Tara’s birth. We all danced the preliminary prayers and the Dance of Tara’s Qualities. As we were making our offerings of all that is precious, I looked up at Carey, the Tara facing me whom I have done many Mandalas with, and she was just beaming. I had been overwhelmed with worry about work earlier that evening and looking at Carey I felt such a hit of light that I burst out laughing, a laugh that just bobbled up from deep inside of me with joy. I was filled with light the rest of the weekend retreat and my work worry left me.
During the workshop I danced as a protector with Aricia Davison and Penny Morningstar. We all had mobility issues. We beamed as we turned, filling with light to offer support to the dancers as we figured out how to best accommodate our disability needs. I love being a protector, working in concert with other protectors, seeing them light up as they learn the mudras. Throughout the weekend, Parvati offered teachings to deepen our practice. I always learn something new and each Mandala is unique.
To open our Sunday evening sacred performance, Carey Avery danced the Eight Precious Offerings dance. She was elegant and graceful and set the tone for Tara’s Mandala Dance. We closed the formal presentation with a version of the Vajrasatva 100 syllable mantra Dance. Then the Mandala Taras invited the audience Taras to join them for Dances of Universal Peace. We were fortunate to have four experienced DUP leaders with us; Yamuna Devi, Jennifer Friedman, Shivadam Adam Burke and John Hinton. Auspicious beauty abounds!