The Birth of Tara Malas and our Non-Profit
Was it in January when I realized that reaching the ?old? age of 60 was just 6 months away? As the psychotherapist, I spent decades witnessing my clients, as well as friends and family, go through a sort of ?birth canal? as they prepare for certain important initiations in life. God, the thought of turning 60 and having my life stay the same as it currently was, was absolutely appalling! It wasn?t that any particular part was appalling; it was just the overall stuckness of it.
I prayed one of the big prayers. You know, the ones where you say, ?Dear God, Buddha, Tara, Mary, all the angels, Jesus, anyone else who might be listening, I completely and totally surrender my life to you. Please take me and show me my very highest purpose. I completely trust, I let go. I only know that this is not it. No matter what you want, I will do. I hold on to nothing.?
Then nothing happened ? for about a month. . . .
Tara and the Nangchen Nuns
My husband Porter makes malas, aka prayer beads. We decided to design a new line of wrist malas for women. We?d had this business (actually a hobby) for years. It could have been a prototype for ?mom and pop operation? with a bit of daughter thrown in. He?d perfected his mala making to beautiful pieces of spiritual jewelry. Carlos Santana, Jack Kornfield and many other notable spiritual seekers purchase and use his malas. Daughter, Kristine, made us a homemade website that Porter occasionally upgraded.
Anyway, he did this design around the beginning of February and named them ?Tara Malas?, due to the fact that there are 21 beads and 21 praises to Tara. We had dinner with our friends Debra and Geo a few days later. Now here we were sitting in our favorite meeting place, the Lotus Restaurant, eating the same round of food that we have been eating together for 5 or 6 years. Somehow it is comforting to know that we will probably be going to this same restaurant, eating the same round of food for another 10 ? 15 years.
I was wearing the new Tara mala, a beautiful jade with garnet and carnelian and a gold guru bead, as Debra went on the say that Lama Palden, our mutual dear friend, would be doing a Women?s Day long Retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. The event was entailed ?Empowering the Awakening Feminine ? A Benefit for the Nangchen Nuns? and, of course the divine Tara was the focus of the Awakened Feminine.
Do you ever get one of those feelings inside when magnificent possibility meets with auspicious serendipity? I have a tendency to bubble over with enthusiasm, which I immediately tried on calm and ground. But I just ?knew? that somehow the ethers had parted and grace was looking me right in the face. I called my friend Lama Palden the next day and we set up a meeting at her house. I offered that we sell our Tara Malas at the event with the proceeds going to Nangchen Nuns (who I still knew nothing about!) Palden spoke to me then about these dedicated women, the plight of their survival, and the great work that Thoknyi Rinpoche was doing as their avid supporter. Almost simultaneously, we thought of the possibility of the nuns making Tara Malas as a cottage industry. Through the course of multitudes of tweaks and changes, pounds of trust and patience and a mountain of divine grace, here we are in Tibet.