A lot has been going on around here. Consider it my own interesting version of the “Holiday Newsletter,” Only the holiday is Shambhala Day and the tidings are of the Buddha Families. Settle in with a couple of cookies and have a read . . .

Macadamia White Chocolate Chip – Yum

You know how sometimes you just get kind of off the ground – just a little whizzy. It could be that things are just really busy, or that your mind is a little wound up? Perhaps you have just lost your footing and you just need to touch back to the ground and enjoy its solidness.

Often, for me this is related to my creative processes. Things swirl and float around in a space just above my head – and at a certain point, I need to feel them taking shape. To manifest. This sounds a little esoteric, but it isn’t. It’s about manifesting comfort and a safe landing pad, it’s about working out neurotic energy and transforming it into abundance and warmth. It’s about cookies.

In Tantric Buddhism, aspects of mind and action are described as correlating to a quality and a color. They are called the five Buddha Families – Vajra, Ratna, Padma, Karma and Buddha. Each is said to have a “wisdom quality” and an “emotional quality” and an individual’s personality and actions can sometimes be described in terms of the Buddha family to which their vibe is most in tune. Something like – “I am feeling SO Karma.”

The description of the Buddha families is probably best left up to the guru – my root guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche – from the Shambhala International Website in an article entitled “The Five Buddha Families”:

“The Buddha family, or families, associated with a person describes his or her fundamental style, that person’s intrinsic perspective or stance in perceiving the world and working with it. Each family is associated with both a neurotic and an enlightened style. The neurotic expression of any Buddha family can be transmuted into its wisdom or enlightened aspect.”

For my book Compassionate Knitting I designed a majestic robe called “Padma” – the family with which I very strongly identify.

If you know me and agree or disagree with my Padmaness, let me know. (The red hair kind of helps.) But that’s not about the cookies. The cookies are about Ratna. When I need to flip my Ratna over – or get my Ratna off, I bake. I like to bake, and damn, no humility here – I’m good at it. Ratna is described as “feeling very rich and plentiful.” Its neurotic counterpart is about too much, about over-abundance, too many cookies.

So this week, I got my Ratna off with a nice fat batch of chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Yumm. They didn’t last long, and I do love creating and sharing abundance – especially the chocolate kind. Don’t forget the milk.

Shambhala Week in ReviewCheerful Year of the Earth Mouse!

mouse.gifIn the midst of all the everythings going on right now, this past week was full of Shambhala Day celebrations. This year was a little extra exciting. On the morning of Shambhala Day, the Shambhala sangha gathers at centers around the world and listens to a live address via phone hook up. This is really fun – each center around the world chiming in when their name is announced. It always makes me feel so full and almost tearful. Some years, there’s even an operator who can almost pronounce all the places – between them being either in Tibetan, Sanskrit or German.

The annual address was given by The Sakyong, Mipham Rinpoche. When I was a little kid, it was given by Trungpa, Rinpoche. I had no idea what he was really talking about, but it was very cool to know that the address was being broadcast from the room where I was sitting, and the role call was a thrill even back then.

This year, Shambhala Day was on a Thursday – so the crowd was not quite to capacity. Zane and I were there- Zane played trucks on the Zabutons as I tried to listen – and then my cell phone vibrated just as the address was concluding – and it was school. I am not in the habit of answering a cell phone in a restaurant let alone a shrine room – but it was school, and it was the nurse, and of course, it was a call that my kid had just thrown up. So, we rushed out of the Shambhala Center and off to school.

Jack was likely anxious about the big Inquiry Fair at school later that night – or maybe he just didn’t want to miss out on the fun party that afternoon. Nothing like a throwing up kid. But the day continued beautifully, and the world is a little wiser about the construction of and modern application of catapult technology.
Boulder Lhasang 2008 Procession at Naropa University on a very cold February morning.

Then there was the Lhasang – a wonderful purification ceremony. This is a key part of the new year for me – allowing juniper smoke to clarify my body and mind (and some symbolic yarn, of course), bringing together heaven and earth, and chanting joyously at the top of my lungs.
The freezing cold kids BEFORE getting back in the car.

This year, it was FREEZING – Bill was home in bed with a 104 degree fever and the kids waited in the car. I had a wonderful time as always – as the ringing of bells and drums became more of a rhythmic invitation for everyone to dance along to keep warm as much as anything else. As ever, dear Lady Konchok,
lhasangkonchok.jpg mother of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche presided over the ceremony – and later smiled gleefully while encouraging the children – now out of the car and warm inside, to eat as much of the blessed candies as they wanted. That is good Ratna!