I will be amazed if I’m able to write all of this in one blog…for certain it’s a “twofer.”
The truth is that I’ve been wanting to write for the past few days, but I’ve not been able to put it all into words or should I say I’m not certain what words to use! So, I’m gonna go back and wind my way to where I am…..
We loaded our bags once again and headed out on our journey to see the Oracle of Tibet. Our first stop was NYC, usually we stay down town in the Village, but this time we were slow to book our hotel and when we did get around to it our favorite spots were inhabited, so mid-town and craziness was what was left. Our plan was to spend one night in the city, hit up a Broadway Show and then head up state in the morning to Herondale Farms - the home of our great friends Iva and Jerry.
Our city adventures went as smoothly as could be expected toting two little babes all over (of course I forgot Lola’s stroller). When I was a child I was raised to value art, education and culture – this WAS the goal of the middle class, so you can totally appreciate the honor I felt to be able to share Broadway (Shrek the Musical!!!) and live theater with my girls. This was Bella’s fourth show and Lola’s first. They LOVED IT!
In the morning we decided to hit H&M for some serious kid shopping, the mid town store has the largest kid selection and of course I did a mad fast scan of what is going on in the ladies department. Then we hopped on the train for the next two and a half hours for a really beautiful ride north, New York leaves and trees are in full on fall mode. It’s been so many years since I lived a seasonal climate that being with the cool air and changing seasons triggered so many memories that hadn’t been pulled on in fo’Evha!
Iva and Jerry raise organic cattle and chickens, plus they grow some serious organic veggies – these veggies are grown with the hands of the “The Gay Hot Farmer” the cutest, sweetest young guy who has devoted his life to rearing veggies!
They have converted an old beautiful red barn into a house and walking through it you feel as if your inside an Anthropology catalog, Iva’s sense of style is FAB-TASTIC! The real perk for me is that she has Jane, a wonderful young women living on the farm who is from Alaska. Jane was raised in Ionia. Ionia is a settlement of macrobiotic folks and Jane is a seriously good CHEF!! I use the word CHEF due to the extent of her knowledge of food and it’s value. I was thrilled because this meant for me that all the food was clean, yummy, healthy and beneficial..a NEW concept “BENEFICIAL & FOOD” for folks (including Mee).
So about the Oracle and our family, there is a bit of back story here and I’ve contemplated on sharing it. It feels very private and for sure I will go into it all in detail in my book but for blogging sake I’m going to give you all a brief history.
A bit more than two years ago, Lee was working in Sausalito on a project – converting a classic hotel into a center in the image of THE RANCH. We’d taken a lovely apartment overlooking the water, however our main house was in Malibu and I was spending most of my time there and Lee was commuting back and forth as Lola was a very young baby. One day Lee calls and says “Mee you gotta get up here, The Oracle of Tibet is coming to stay here at the hotel, he has a head cold and needs a place to rest before flying back to India.” So, I packed it up and we jumped a flight north. You see up until this point, a private meeting with the Oracle was pretty impossible. He serves along side of the Dali Lama and had never traveled to the states before, to meet with him in Dharamsala one would need to be a head of state, for he himself is a diplomat of sorts or should I say a consultant on a global level.
My mother had taken up with Buddhism when I was 12, and I was introduced to the philosophy. She never pushed it on us, only shared important stories and ideas. In truth her passing was made much easier for me, knowing that SHE believed in life after death and reincarnation comforted me in an unexpected way. She spoke often of who she would like to be in her next life, claiming that she would marry a man named Max – an old salty sea dog of sorts, a lover of literature and music. Together the two of them would sail the ocean in cut offs and t-shirts dancing their days away on the deck. My first trip to Jamaica – college spring break after her death..I looked out to the sea to spot one single sail boat off in the distance, triggering this tale of hers. My heart stopped, turning the corners of my mouth up wards into a smile as I heard her laugh bounce off of the walls of my memory. For me this story that she spun before her death, turned into a woven beach throw that I soon came to rest upon every trip to the sea..knowing that my mother was with Mee.
When Isabella was about 3 years old she asked such very interesting questions regarding life and death, as I’m sure all children do – OK you know what that’s not true – ’cause Lola isn’t even thinking about life, death or what happens. Bella was doing more than thinking she was digging, always explaining to me what she thought happens and constantly telling me that she was a teacher. One day we were in an airport, she was coloring – I asked her “what are you making?”
My mind had to find the definition of the word to register – you see I’d never talked about Buddhism or what my mother thought – after all Bella was only 3! So I asked her “What’s a Mandala?”
“It’s how I see my path.”
Back to Sausalito, there we sat a midst a room full of people that had come to have an encounter with the Oracle filling this amazing space over looking the sea. Many of the people were of importance and public fame, the Oracle and the monks that travel with him began to pray in Tibetan and when I looked down at Isabella, her head was bowed, eyes closed and she was attempting to pray along with them. Hmmm, I thought..that’s interesting.
After The Oracle finished his prayer, the many people began to filter past him baring gifts of gratitude and receiving blessings. Bella looked to me and asked “Momma I want to talk with him too.”
“OK in a minute.”
Before I knew it she was in front of him, having cut the line and holding up the adult flow of traffic, she said “Excuse me, do you know Kundun?”
“Yes I do” he said.
“Well if you know Kundun then you for sure remember me, but maybe you don’t recognize me because I used to be a boy. But Kundun and you were my good friends.”
Lee and I were like “what?”
Then The Oracle turned to us and asked our permission to speak with Isabella in private. And off Isabella, Ana (Lee’s college aged daughter who was visiting from Nashville) the monks and The Oracle went..to have tea and chat.
For 3 days we spent with the monks and The Oracle, then on the 3rd day Kuten -la shared who she was…He believes that Isabella is the reincarnation of his most favorite teacher, a high Llama who died in 1998.
Before this past weekend I took all of this with a sweet grain of brown rice, not certain if I believed it..that was until our second encounter and well I will share this with you on Friday so check back…….