Thursday, January 3, 2013

Report from Dawn, and a poem

Offerings all over the streets in Bali
Here's what Dawn wrote in "Sky Dancer," our North American journal for women who are training for ordination:

Hello Skies,
This is a big one for me so hold on to your seats. I had received wonderful news in the beginning of December, I am going to be ordained!!! I had been planning to go to Akashavana to get ordained and hoped that would happen in 2013. A week after my happy news I received the worst news so far of my life. My private preceptor and dear friend Suvarnaprabha has a faster growing cancer than we previously had thought. Nothing really seemed to matter anymore other than being with her, being with friends who care for her and us sharing this new reality. I want to be alive with her while she is alive and not to dwell in my grief. This is what is happening now and it is so important to stay present and open to whatever may arise.

Very recently we decided that I needed to get ordained as soon as I could. I will be making the most of my time in preparation for this big step. I have had a great deal of support from my kula and especially Karunadevi, who is really holding it all. I plan to do my ordination retreat on the San Francisco Buddhist Center's retreat land. I will spend about a month on retreat and I will have a private ordination ceremony there. My public ordination will be held at the city center on Feb. 9th. This is all very new news and I am wondering how I will have the time to prepare, but I am just going with it. I have found some excitement in the midst of my sorrow. It's more of a blend of joy and sorrow and unbearable love. I am filled with gratitude for Suvarnaprabha, in so many ways. I cannot really express the connection that I feel for her and the emotions of loving her so much, receiving ordination from her and knowing that all too soon for me she will not be around, watching her deal with her mortality, her joy, her immense capacity to love and stay open, and for sharing it all with us. It's a significant gift of her energies that she is ordaining me and to know that she is happy to do it. She is a source for inspiration for so many of us, and she is dealing with this in a way that is truly impressive. I feel privileged to have the kind of friendship with her that I do. I hope that you will all take a look at her blog.

Please keep us in your thoughts. I will need it while I am taking this big step. If you can come to the public ceremony I would love to see you. Soon after the ordination I will be going on the women's western regional O/M retreat happen- ing Feb 15th-19th. I hope to see some of you there and we can celebrate as my new self, no longer Dawn.

*   *   *

Here's the message that went out a few days ago to the Order email list:

I am writing to update you about Suvarnaprabha's health. While the situation has often looked promising over the last year, she now has several nodules in her lungs that are growing rapidly, having doubled in size in the last six weeks. Though this could change, the present prognosis is that she has a few months to a year to live. She is currently feeling well, and has a fair amount of energy.

If you would like to stay up to date with how she is doing, please visit her blog, where there is medical information as well as wonderful reflections on her life:

Please keep Suvarnaprabha in your meditations. She will be conducting her first private ordination at our retreat center land outside San Francisco in early February.

With metta,

*   *   *

Ratnadevi sent me a link to Julia Darling's website. She was a writer who died of cancer. Here is a great poem from her blog:


Eventually, I was placed on a bed like a boat
in an empty room with sky filled windows,
with azure blue pillows, the leopard-like quilt.

It was English tea time, with the kind of light
that electrifies the ordinary. It had just stopped raining.
Beads of water on glass glittered like secrets.

In another room they were baking, mulling wine.
I was warm with cloves, melting butter, demerara,
and wearing your pyjamas.   My felt slippers

waited on the floor. Then the door opened
soundlessly, and I climbed out of bed.
It was like slipping onto the back of a horse,

and the room folded in, like a pop up story
then the house, and the Vale. Even the songs
and prayers tidied themselves into grooves

and the impossible hospital lay down its chimneys
its sluices, tired doctors, and waiting room chairs.
And I came here.    It was easy to leave.

1 comment:

  1. A lovely and poignant poem. Thank you. Julie came over to pick up your car. We talked a little and cried. I was feeling in that moment, even though you are around the other side of the planet, that you were here with us, too, in some way. Perhaps I was just feeling the effect that your spacious, warm energy has on us. I think we all have little (or big!) adhisthana waves (those wiggly golden blessing lines that come from a buddha) emanating from us. The deeper and bigger we get, the more to that there is. Maybe it's the wavefront of your awareness, friendliness, kindness and generosity that I could detect washing over us then. What a blessing you are to this saha world! You have made of yourself a beautiful offering, even more splendid than the ones you picture here! You are dear to me and I love you. However sad I may feel, from time to time, there is also joy at the thought of your beautiful self soaking in the warm beauty of Bali--XO