On the night of 10.15.10, we headed down to the Portland Art Museum hoping to get hitched to art. Within minutes of searching, I found my Art/Life Partner: a fifth century Chinese Bhudda head that immediately captured my attention with those divine eyes. Still, I like to know all my options and subsequently surveyed each museum floor, only to return back to the beginning with Bhudda. By that time, my real life partner, Bunny, was on board, too. Having married herself in a separate project earlier that day, this was her second ceremony as the good Rev. Ariana wedded us into a 1-year nuptial commitment with Art/Bhudda/Life.
And then a door opened. Being raised agnostic, I was neither attracted nor repelled by religion. Still, I am completely fascinated by strange coincidences and hold a strong belief in being guided by spirit. Several weeks, after our Art/Life marriage, Bunny asked,
"Since our night at the art museum, have you been noticing connections to Bhudda like I have?"
"No," I responded, "but maybe I should raise my awareness."
A few days later, she was in the midst of a rough spell, so I suggested a visit to the Japanese Garden with the kids to be get inspired by the Zen vibe and Fall foliage. En route to the garden, we stopped at a stranger's house who was selling an unusual commuter bike - a no-brainer for only 40 bucks. Moments after the test ride, we stepped into an antique store down the block and unexpectedly entered a showroom full of Chinese Bhuddas. Suddenly everything seemed sacred.
A sculpture and raked garden titled, Bhudda Herding Cats.
Lilly immersed in a silk screen installation.
Thanks to Lilly, Bhudda joined us for a holiday 'honeymoon' to Maui. While visiting a friend, she commented on the spines of a book series that collectively completes a head. Turns out that these Tezuka graphic novels depict a fictional life of Bhudda. We promptly reserved the series from the library and they arrived a couple days prior to our vacation. Perfect timing since Lilly, age 7, very recently dove into the joy of reading. The graphic novel completely captured her attention and she finished the last book (over 1,000 pages!) on our return flight home.
I was reading the series in Maui, too, and at one point, several of the characters describe our innate connection to nature and a divine ability for some to mind-meld with animals. The next day, we were playing at a beach, when a big, beautiful macaw swooped over us and then landed into the yard of a private home. Lilly followed its flight path and engaged in a conversation with the resident. Turns out that he had lived next door for many years with a Bhuddist monk who passed away. Shortly after, the macaw arrived and started living under his shelter. And soon after that, a mutual friend told him a promise from the monk, "After dying, I will return as a bird to continue teaching to my disciples." The macaw has continued to reside with him for the last 7 years.
Our newlywed life with Bhudda is brimming with sacred art, strange coincidences and spiritual connection to nature.