When I made a quinzhee this week after blizzard Juno, it was my idea to make a finial shaped topper for it, but the first lot of snow to settle was not the right consistency for sculpture. When more snow arrived a few days later that was malleable I was able to add the topper as a final touch. As this process unfolded, I was once again in the meditative state of mind that happens when I get to make. It is a place of self fulfillment for me and what I have found from years of struggling to grasp some kind of internal peace, is that I need to be creative and I am happiest when I work with found natural materials. The whole time I dug away in the snow, I was really feeling it. I was feeling the rewards of physical labor, to actually work hard with my body, and I was feeling the freedom of creativity that is like a joy ride for the mind. A repeat phrase kept popping into my head and so as I worked away there was a mantra, “The universe provides all that we need…. the universe provides all that we need.”
With a driven intensity I was digging to feel this sense of abundance and all the while with kindred righteousness I kept thinking, “Everyone deserves to feel this. Everyone deserves to feel they have all they need. Everyone deserves to be fulfilled.” In the midst of finding my true joy and feeling my own peace by releasing my creativity, beneath it all there was still a madness, anger and frustration that in fact not everyone in the world is free like me. Still though I worked away, chanting my mantra “The universe provides all that we need… the universe provides all that we need.”
There was something about this phrase, and my desire to have inner peace that manifested into the structure, and when I sent a photo of the quinzhee off to my dear Aunt in Australia, she wrote back “It is so beautiful… like a Nepalese wonder.” My Uncle had just been in Nepal and he came home with a large picture of a Peace Stupa, and so the likeness was instantly relative to my Aunt. “Oh yes, yes, it is like a Stupa!” I said to myself, delightedly. And perhaps this was my intention all along, to make something like a Peace Stupa in my back yard, in order to find my own peace.
I don’t want you to think for one minute I am considering myself like a buddhist monk building a Peace Stupa, because we all know that along with my wonderful poetic mantra of “The universe provides all that we need…” Simultaneously my extremely healthy ego was adding, “And it will be just perfect for instagram!” I do not claim any grasp on enlightenment, but I do know that by making art I feel good and it sets a piece of my soul free that so badly wants to be free, and in that my friends, there is peace for more than just me.
I was introduced to the existence of a Peace Stupa through Crystal Castle, located at Mullumbimby, NSW, near our hometown in Australia. When you read about Peace Stupas, you will have a sense that they are full of goodness, because right down to the core, they are imbedded with peaceful vibrations and pure intentions.
Peace Stupa, Peace Pagoda or Buddhist Stupa as they are called, are located all over the world and while each one is unique, they all represent enlightenment. They are symbolic of the importance of community strength and interdependence to achieve world peace. The Tibetans believe that contributing to the building of a Stupa is one of the most auspicious things one can do in a lifetime. The mere sight of a Stupa puts one in touch with ones innate goodness, inspiring compassion, kindness and the restoration of balance at times of conflict, war and environmental destruction.
We can all find value in the awareness and presence of a Peace Stupa, to connect and remind us of what is really important. If peace is in the individual, and we are united, this give us world peace.
Now of course my imagination runs wild with the idea of the giant snowy sculpture we could all build together! Yes, lets all meet with our bundled babes and loved ones and hot thermoses full of chai and cocoa! We will each have shovel and sculpting spades and blankets for resting and chatting upon. Can’t you just imagine it if the next snow day we all gathered and made the most enormous community snow cave Peace Stupa, and all the children and all the adults where gratified and inspired by earths gifts and our togetherness! Then my friends, I really would be feeling that inner peace grow.