My introduction to the Patra experience came unexpectedly and serendipitously on July 14th. Lynda shared the particular history of Patra #34 and how it had come back to her to live another lifetime prior to its journey being completely over. She had chosen to give it to us as a family, the family of GSG, with each of us having time with it however we chose to divide it. She presented this honor starting with me as I had been here the longest, and she did so without knowing that it was my birthday.
I was so taken aback when receiving it, as I had known about the Patra Passage since its inception and had always revered what an amazing opportunity it would be to be part of such a communal, spiritual, and potentially global experience. The whole idea behind the Patra bowls and their passage resonated as a greater good, paying it forward idea that seemed so powerful, I wondered what I could possibly contribute to its journey. I could only hope that I would honor it well with the time it would spend with me and my family.
Within the first couple hours of receiving my bowl I had a strange sensation of being really protective of it. I’m not exactly sure why – as I had been so proactive in my profession of sharing the Patra Passage story and making sure people knew about the amazing journey these bowls were taking. And yet, once within my hands, I felt this overwhelming urge to somehow protect its sacredness. I felt an odd pull in the direction of wanting to share its joy but also shielding that anyone who did see it would fully appreciate and understand its meaning. That’s a bit hard to do when you work in an art gallery, and part of your role is to share this experience. Somehow now that it was my experience, and not that of others, it became personal in a way I hadn’t expected.
I had unwrapped it the first time in the presence of my gallery family, and we all shared in the special moment of its unveiling. It felt right to open it with everyone there – as we were really receiving this gift/experience together. However, I remember feeling very different when it would be unwrapped for people walking in the door while it was at work that day. I had a strange sensation that I felt each person should be vetted through some right of passage, in essence, showing enough genuineness within to share in the sacredness of this special vessel. That’s when I first had to come to grasp with the fact that this vessel was not mine, nor would it ever be. And that it was not up to me to protect it… It is there for everyone – even if they don’t understand it, or appreciate it, or even like it. That was hard to do, and it was my first great lesson that the Patra #34 taught me.
That evening, I went out for a lovely dinner with my partner, and we unveiled it again. For the second time, the sacredness of that moment was held still in time, as my partner and I shared in the experience together. Now parents of a two year old, a night away is a luxury and even more divine is an evening void of discussing logistics about life. It was the first evening in a long time that we stayed in the moment, and central to that experience was the bowl, as it sat between us and a couple glasses of wine. At the end of our dinner, we placed it in the garden next to our table and took a picture to remember an amazing evening… free of obligations, expectations, or even what was to come. And so another great reminder occurred within my first 24 hours with Patra #34 Lesson #2 – be in the moment, nothing more – nothing less.
The next three weeks were a blur. Both of us working full time during the height of our busy season in a resort town, we live day to day squeezing in family time when we can in and amongst other obligations. In fact, one particular evening we were looking forward to our one night home so that we could mow the lawn and get organized, only to be surprised when our babysitter drove up in our driveway and informed us that we had plans that night as well.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed with a lot of things we had going on this year, it had just become easier to “just get by”, than to slow down and actually take in and take on all the things happening in our life. Perhaps the whirlwind made it possible to get through. Ironically though, in these past couple of weeks I have also been in the best “space” I have been in for a while. As I contemplate who shall receive this bowl now, I find it fascinating that the timing of my over-all shift in perspective and lightness in my step seems to have started at the point at which I received the bowl.
I am a Cancer… a homebody that likes a sense of order, enjoys a sense of accomplishment, and while adventurous – enjoys kind of knowing what is to come. It’s taken a lifetime to realize that order, accomplishment and planning are not necessities, only apparent luxuries… that these things do not need to be there for me to feel secure in what is going on or what is to come.
One of the “aha” moments when talking to Lynda about her work and the Patra Passage was her explanation of how the monks live day to day just knowing, believing, and having faith that it will all be provided for them. They don’t waste energy with the immediate “What if’s” like where their next meal will come from, or long term issues like whether their monastery will survive the ages. They live by the mantra that it will all be provided. We are only given what we can handle.
Looking back, I realize I’ve been thinking alot about those monks lately, and I know its in large part to me living with the Patra bowl everyday. Only now in giving it away have I come to realize that just by living with it – Patra #34 really was the catalyst of the mantra going through my head lately, “It will all be provided”.
So now I must fulfill the other half of the Patra Passage journey. I have received much by having Patra bowl #34 in my life, and now I will give it to someone else who I feel deserves this amazing opportunity to Breathe, to know that it will all work out, to live in the moment, and share it with those he loves. So today, I pass this amazing bowl onto Coly McCauley.
Time spent with Buddha, and time spent with sacred relics of long walks and memorable events. Patra #034 finds a home in my home.
I cradle this simple pinch pot; I know how this clay feels in my hands and the movement my fingers must make to create such delicate beauty. Lynda, thank you for sharing your treasures, these embellished vessels, which our souls need to know and share.
May we all hold out our begging bowls to find they are generously filled with exactly what we might need.
Namaste – Salaam Aleikum – Peace be upon you.
I shared my Patra experience with my children; Lydia, Cole and Morgan.
I am currently separated and have my three children every other weekend. I decided to place the wooden Patra Box on top of my kitchen counter for my kids to see when the came in to door. They usually run in and tear through the house seeing if there is anything new. Most of the time they go directly to the fruit drawer in the refrigerator and dig though until they find their favorite snack.
This weekend was different. All three ran into the house and were stopped in their tracks by the Box. The oldest, Lydia, was the first to inquire. I helped her take the box to the floor, with her two younger brothers following. Lydia is a very kind and loving child (she is on the Autism Spectrum) and gently started to unwrap the box. I explained to all the kids that the Patra was very special and extremely delicate. As soon as the box was opened, Cole (5) and Morgan (3) thought it would be great to pop all the packing material. While I was corralling the boys and keeping them from destroying all the packaging, Lydia gently took the Patra out. I noticed how she kept caressing the bowl, feeling the contrast between the small bumps and smooth surface in the clay. She instantly made a connection with the Patra, studying the marks and asking me questions how it was made and where it came from.
She guarded it like a mother bird, not letting the “Wild Boys” attain it and keeping it nested in the safety of the wooden box. After she explained to them how the Patra was very special to her, she brought it out for the boys to hold. Cole said it was nice, and wanted to keep some of his Legos in it. Morgan took on the role of the secondary protector, and made sure it was always covered with bubblewrap. (see pic).
The Patra was placed on the kitchen counter for the rest of the weekend.
I explained to them, they could put their wishes or any of their favorite things in the Parta. By the end of the weekend there were Legos, some Play-Doh and a My Little Pony nestled in the vessel.
It is always hard to say good-bye on Monday, but for the days after having the kids, seeing the Patra brought me joy, knowing I shared something special with the ones I love.
Morgan and bubble wrap
August 11, 2014
On this day in 2006, my Father passed away suddenly. We were on a return trip from Catalina Island, when I woke him up from a nap as we arrived at the Laguna Port. Only, he couldn’t talk, and things progressed rapidly from there. He had had a random Aortic Dissection.
It has taken me years to reach a point where I can talk about it without crying, or being crushed by the weight of loosing my hero and mentor so suddenly.
My entire family had trouble moving on, and delayed doing anything with his ashes year after year.
My sister recently sent a portion of his ashes to me this year, for me to do as I wished.
Those ashes had been sitting in a little shrine that I keep for him in my office for the past 8 months.
Many times I mulled over what I would do with his ashes; where should I place them.
And while many places seemed peaceful, no place seemed to hit just right. Until this little vessel arrived. Somehow, I immediately knew what to do with my Dad’s ashes once this vessel was in my home.
Now I had a way to share my Dad with my 2 yr old daughter, whom he never met, and have a process of saying goodbye that had meaning.
On august 11th – the anniversary of his death, we filled a backpack with Kettle One Vodka, a glass to toast, the Patra Bowl, and Dad’s ashes… and marched down to the river by our house.
We had a small ceremony where I talked about my Dad and how much I loved and missed him, then we toasted him with his favorite drink. Thereafter, I walked into the water of the river, and turned the vessel upriver to watch it fill the ashes with the life of the flowing water.
It was a bit unnerving to watch the water turn a hazy white, as it took its own form. It trailed out of the bowl and the foggy trail slid over rocks, and around twigs until it merged into the river…. It was like watching his spirit being set free.
It felt good. It felt right. I felt at peace.
I had hoped to say goodbye to my dad in a way that not only honored him, but remembered him for who he was…. giving, loving, happy, hugs, empathetic, laughing, sharing, receiving, more hugs… really, he was a vessel himself…. he gave so much just by being here, and received so much just by making sure he was.
Thank you Lynda – for giving me a way to finally let my Dad go that felt right. This little vessel has so much meaning to it and its journey – it felt so right to make it part of my journey of really letting go.
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