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Just Because It's Your Birthday.... (Seattle IDP Blogger Group)

Monday morning, November the fifth. My thirty-fifth birthday.

My 3-year-old son, Oscar, woke early that morning. After feeding him a quick bowl of flaked corn cereal with hemp milk, I whooshed him into his sweater and rain boots and out the door. In the Shambhala tradition, we begin our birthday with a sadhana written by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche called the Elixir of Life. Unable to find a copy of it online the night before, I decided to do the practice at the Center, just a mile from our house, before dropping Oscar off at school and heading to work myself.

The copy I found among the file boxes was crumpled from use, familiar and soothing. I lit the shrine and let Oscar hold the tip of incense in the yellow-blue of the match flame. I set a basin of fresh water and a vase of saffron water on a cushion in front of me; Oscar rang the singing bowl three times, and I began the morning chants out loud. He looked on, mesmerized. For about a minute. As I made my way through the practice and contemplations he jumped between cushions, stared into the gong, laughed wildly as he was thrumming the drum, clamored into my lap and kissed my cheek. The conditions for practice were far from ideal, but the morning felt absolutely right, a perfect reflection. Then I got to the point in the sadhana that calls for an offering. How did I forget that part, arriving completely unprepared? There wasn’t even a stick of gum in my purse to place on the shrine. I collected my son and we donned our shoes and stepped into the crisp morning air.

At the base of the cedar tree, six- inches above the ground, a small branch was shooting out. My offering.

I twisted the small branch, but it was attached by a fibrous bulb, stronger than it appeared, rooted, and would not detach from the trunk of its tree. I twisted harder, with more force, bending it up and down to weaken the connection. I pulled on it, the fronds separating from the stem as my palm slipped. The branchling held firm, even though I'd denuded it. My son splashed in the shallow puddles pooling in the driveway behind me.   

A yellow leaf caught my eye, round and browning at the corners. I smoothed its surface, wiping off the damp dirt. I went over to my son and helped him look for his offering. He picked a small maple leaf, dull in color and unremarkable in comparison to the rainbow from which he’d scooped it off the ground from. Back inside we placed our leaves – his nestled on top of mine – onto the shrine and bowed.   

On our way out, I bowed to the tree, to its shivering bare branch hovering, wounded, a few inches above the wet grass, and apologized, and thanked it for teaching me this lesson

Offering does not stem from a taking, it stems from giving away what is given to you, again and again. 

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Comments

cool

i liked this! good call. happy birthday. miss seeing you around. breathing and breathing,

matt (duthie)))

Happy Birthday

There are lessons in life that are right under our noses, yet we still don't see them until after the fact. But the best ones are learned this way, the beauty of life is there are so many gifts around. Thanks for sharing, much respect, Eric D

Thanks Girl!

I enjoyed reading this lovely post and picturing what a perfect morning that was. Wish I was there with you! Happy Birthday.
Love,
Meredith

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