January 17, 2024

After making our way across the border from India to Nepal, riding elephants & sleeping in a hut on an icy mountainside, we arrived in Kathmandu.

Lisa had an old friend who owned a beautiful hotel, and because many of us were sick and having coughing fits, it was a good landing place for the first two days.

We were cold and tired from being on the road.

First priority: Hot showers – something that would be rare to come by, for a long time after that.

The following day, we went straight to the monastery where Lisa had worked for her Abbot friend years ago.

Lama Kalsang is a gentle giant, with a pure heart & radiant aura.

We were so happy to finally meet him! His gracious attendants poured us some hot tea.

Afterward, we set out for the Swayambhu Stupa, a short walk from the monastery under the monkeys.

Stupas are architectural structures that symbolize the pure nature of our heart.

They contain relics and are power places of positive benefit and merit. It’s where people come to make wishes & prayers – and do practices like meditation, calming the mind or becoming aware of the breath.

At Swayambhu, you can see Buddhists, Hindus and people of other spiritual traditions spending time around this magical place.

There’s a long pathway around the Stupa. You can walk along it and make offerings, spin the prayer wheels or sit in contemplation. On the long pathway, it takes about an hour to walk around it.

At each turn, there is something new to discover.

Prayer flags fluttering ripples of positivity out into the air currents.

Women on the sidewalk selling garlands of fresh flowers.

Colorful hand-carved stones with prayers.

I was especially in awe of the giant statues.

And the huge incense burners with billowing, fragrant smoke. I bought Juniper, Cedar and Spikenard from a store with massive piles of aromatic herbal powders.

We dipped our hands into the bags of herbs and scooped out handfuls of powder to place into the incense burners.

I visualized the smoke going to all beings across space, bringing a sense of peace.

Wherever else we felt inspired, we made offerings of flowers. We sat in wonderment. We people-watched. We skipped along the path and spun the prayer wheels.

It struck me that this was missing in the West. A place to devote yourself to the purity of your own heart.

A place where anyone of any spiritual tradition could come and make offerings, or sit in silence, or acknowledge the sacredness of life. Or simply wish for – or reconnect to – the goodness in the world.

Though simple, these practices give such depth to the present moment. It allows us to sense how we can impact the world in ways that cannot be seen, only felt.

If you feel moved to, make some kind of offering today.

Light a candle. Put a flower in a vase or bowl. Pour water on the Earth. Burn some herbs or incense. Dedicate it to awakening your own pure heart and rippling that out to all the beings you’re connected to.

Sit in silence or in prayer. Touch the ground. Hug a tree. Anoint yourself or someone else with Divine Within.

Allow yourself a moment to call forth the divine within your own heart.

Tell yourself, ‘Wake up, wake up!’

Let’s wake up the divine within us together.

Love & flower offerings,