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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

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Namaste from Nepal!  Our first full day was jam packed, yet we had a moment of reflection on the rooftop of Shechen Monastery Guesthouse where we are staying.  I was finally warming up in the sunshine, and gazing out at the rooftops nearby;  I loved all colorful rooftops with clothes drying in balconies and prayer flags fluttering in the breeze everywhere you looked.  Some were old and graying, some brand new and still bright.  The juxtaposition of old and new, graying and brightly colored seemed symbolic somehow of my trip here, but I didn’t know quite how.  After spending the day learning about Buddhism, walking around the stupa at night, and having a closing ceremony with a large tray of toasty yak butter candles, I realized what the fluttering prayer flags meant to me.  Prayer flags have mantras written on them, and each time they flutter in the breeze, goodness releases from them and permeates the air.  You don’t even have to be aware of the goodness coming from them, yet you are a part of it.  It’s magical to think!  I can be a part of something good like that, and hopefully bring that into my life and also spread the goodness myself.

Buddhism is also about letting go, recognizing the transience of things and trying to not hold on to things that we need to let go of..  Maybe, the more we let go, the freer we are.  Old and gray doesn’t mean anything negative;  it just means we have had more time to let go of things we needed to let go of.  I’m in a state of transition now, with my kids growing up.  I’m about to enter a new chapter of life, which means letting go of some things and embracing others.  Very sweetly, my 4 children all sent me off on this journey with words of wisdom and inspiration–just as I’ve sent them off on their own adventures.  In fact, 2 of them are Dragons graduates themselves!  Now, the tables have turned and though I’m the mom,  they are drawing on their Dragons experience to  support me on my journey.  A big thanks to my family for supporting me in this journey!