A spectacular combination of yellow and purple graced my eyes as I traveled yesterday to America’s first home, the city of brotherly love, in Philadelphia. There on a counter with cups and a large “coffee” pot with hot water for my tea-toddling friends were a bunch of flowers that greeted everyone and spiced up a small corner of the room at the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. They were the only flowers anywhere in what was a fresh, near spotlessly clean art studio converted each week for spiritual services.
Boy, did they cheer me up. I was thinking about stopping and getting some myself, remembering the joy I felt the previous week gifting the Buddhist Center with my small offering. The flowers were nicely arranged on what I later found out was what they call an altar, just like most churches and some temples.
“They look good,” I say to the artist, Susan Simmons, whose abode I just entered and immediately noticed her flowers. “Yes,” she said with a big smile. “They held up nicely.”
What? Is this the same batch I brought last year? (2009, which was just last week, remember?)
“I cut them and added fresh water,” Susan said, touching one of the petals.
I saw care and compassion on her face. Or was that something emanating from inside of me? Or maybe both. In any case, I felt welcomed, I felt at home here.
“You want to place them?” she asked me, nodding her head in the direction of the altar where a few candles and a large picture of the Dalai Llama rested on what looked like a “mantle.”
“You don’t mind?” I asked, feeling something inside of me saying “go for it, Mike, go for it.” Not at all, she indicated. What happened next lifted me higher than I have felt in years and years.
Please see Part II: