Tibet

Inspiring women.

 

Husband and I get a big welcome in Nepal Every day, I meet amazing and interesting women.  I can’t believe my luck.  In they come, through The Potting Shed gate day after day and tell me stories of what they’re doing,  the causes they support and the projects that need help.  They link me to others who are following their passion and working quietly away to improve life for others.  They make sure I know about and help spread the word on coal action meetings, book launches and fundraising events like the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia event last week at Dirty Janes Emporium. They introduce me to friends and artists who are making and designing things and of the whereabouts of local growers who need an outlet.   Like all the seriously committed participants in this weekend’s Relay for Life, they pass the baton on, and keep money rolling in for all sorts of charities, large and small.   The depth and breadth of this womanly network is astonishing.  It’s not the corporate ‘Linked In’ kind of network.  It’s the word of mouth, we need you to get involved kind of network. Activists, philanthropists, idea makers, influencers and toilers. All pulling their weight. All taking their turn at the wheel.  It is like a giant bee hive buzzing with purposeful life and endless energy.  And so I thought I would share some of their stories from time to time here on this blog.

First up, here’s a letter from a new friend and customer at The Potting Shed, Margie Thomas who inspires me with her passion for the Australian Himalayan Foundation.

Dear Maureen,

In August I’m heading off on a fund raising trek for the Australian Himalayan Foundation. We’ll be crossing the mighty Kali Gandaki river numerous times, trekking over a number of high altitude passes up to 4,500 metres, and riding Tibetan ponies through countryside that is unchanged, and reminiscent of rural Tibet 1,000 years ago. This will be quite an arduous adventure for someone who is 62-years-young.

The Australian Himalayan Foundation is dedicated to helping people of the Himalaya through improvements in education, healthcare, and conservation. Not to mention special projects like the innovative Himalayan Art Award and supporting the Snow Leopard Conservancy. Check out www.australianhimalayanfoundation.org.au for more detailed information. Or jump on this link to my fundraising page: http://makingadifference.gofundraise.com.au/page/ThomasML

I’m making a difference and fundraising for a cause that’s close to my heart. I’d appreciate any contribution, big or small. Donations made through this platform are secure and will be remitted directly through to my charity of choice.  It’s worth noting that donations are tax deductible.  Thanks so much for your support!

Margie

So I asked Margie for more information and here it is:

Maureen here you go … info on the pony trek to the ancient and remote walled city of Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang. There are only a few places left on this one-off journey. The concert by Tenzin Choegyal will be quite mind blowing. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on the ponies which are really fun. One gentleman walked the entire trip last August. 

Good on you Margie … and thanks for including the pics of the buckwheat crop in flower and the spectacular rhododendron garlands … to fit in with my ‘gardening’ theme.  Ever thoughtful!

If you’d like to join this amazing trek, contact Margie on  0418 457 152 or via email at mrsweare@gmail.com. You can download a pdf of the tour itinerary here – Upper Mustang Pony Trek or scroll down for the Trek highlights.

 

Margie is PICTURED ABOVE WITH her HUSBAND GARRY WEARE (AUTHOR OF 4 EDITIONS OF LONELY PLANET’S GUIDE BOOK “TREKKING IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYA” AND DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE AUSTRALIAN HIMALAYAN FOUNDATION) being welcomed with RHODODENDRONS.  

Chorten and snow capped peaks _MG_2413 Grain crop in flower -Upper Mustang Mustang Aug 2013 397 Upper Mustang Pony Trek with the Australian Himalayan Foundation August 2014

Meet up with Stan Armington and Tenzin Choegyal in Lo Manthang. Our 2nd departure will be accompanied by Lindsay Brown, Conservation Biologist and former Publishing Manager of trekking guides at Lonely Planet, Lindsay now treks, jeeps, rides and stumbles across many a mountain pass while writing and photographing for Lonely Planet’s Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan and the Karakoram Highway guides, among others. Mustang is a wildly beautiful region of Nepal. It is culturally and geographically part of Tibet, and was until about 20 years ago, closed to the world. Tourism is still strictly controlled and limited. The Australian Himalayan Foundation and Adventure Associates invite you on the trek of a lifetime to remote Upper Mustang and the ancient and fascinating walled city of Lo Manthang.

‘Authentic Tibetan culture survives only in exile in a few places like Mustang, which has had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet.’ HH Dalai Lama

Trip highlights

 A unique itinerary devised by the legendary Stan Armington

 Hear musician Tenzin Choegyal perform a special concert for the locals inside the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang.

 Trek beneath some of the world’s most dramatic mountains

 Experience a breath-takingly beautiful high altitude desert and the world’s deepest valley

 Visit ancient gomphas, abandoned forts and maybe a nomad camp

 Visit the extraordinary Chosar caves and Mustang’s oldest Gompha, Lo Gekar

 Spend time in the 15th century Thubchen gompha – arguably one of the world’s great rooms.

 

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The power of colour.

IMG_6824Yesterday as I drove to work I passed a Tibetan monk walking along the road in Sutton Forest, quite far from anywhere in particular.  A most unexpected sight!  He had probably walked all the way from the Sunnataram Monastery – a Thai forest Buddhist monastery near Bundanoon, a couple of villages away.

Until that moment, my head had been absolutely spinning with things to do, orders to place, calls to make, banking to be done and a swirl of ideas I need to bring together.  But seeing this man in his saffron robe immediately made me feel calm. My mind stilled.  I was aware of my foot pulling a little bit back off the accelerator. In that instant I was making myself calm down.  Was it the aura that surrounds the Tibetan persona? …  years of absorbing through the media the Dalai Lama’s teaching, seeing interviews, reading the news about the Tibetan dilemma?  Or was it the impact of that distinctive colour?  Why did they chose that particular colour for their robes? It made me want to learn more and from about.com I read that the Buddha taught the first monks and nuns to make their robes of “pure” cloth, which meant cloth that no one wanted. Types of pure cloth included cloth that had been chewed by rats or oxen, scorched by fire, soiled by childbirth, or used as a shroud to wrap the dead before cremation. Monks would scavenge cloth from rubbish heaps and cremation grounds. Any part of the cloth that was unusable was trimmed away, and the cloth was washed. It was dyed by being boiled with vegetable matter — tubers, bark, flowers, leaves — and spices such as turmeric or saffron, which gave the cloth a yellow-orange color. This is the origin of the term “saffron robe.” Theravada monks of southeast Asia today still wear spice-color robes, in shades of curry, cumin and paprika as well as blazing saffron orange.

Embarrassed at how little I knew of the local Monastery,  I googled Sunnataram  and discovered “it is a place where you can learn and apply Buddhist teachings to add inner peace in your daily life. They offer many Dhamma programs and activities for all levels of interest, from serious meditators to students or just curious visitors. Monks and volunteers have created teaching tools to simplify the complicated Buddhist teachings into modern day language.”  And this particularly interested me – the plants in the monastery gardens are carefully chosen to link with Buddhist history and add more peaceful and pleasant feelings to both meditators and visitors.  You can learn more here: http://www.sunnataram.org/100_0426

And all this got me thinking about the power of colour in the garden.  In particular orange.  I have to say I have never been a fan of orange until I saw a splendid display of tulips at Hidcote last year.  That splash of colour on a gloomy day was uplifting and beautiful.  It warmed a chilly day and reflected in a pond in joyous brilliance. When I came home I planted a bed of the lovely orange rose Pat Austin, named for the breeder’s late wife.  They are gorgeous, glamorous and a very beautiful orange.  This year they will be underplanted with orange parrot tulips.  I’ll have them in stock soon, along with lots of other colours,  if you too would like to make a brave move and add colour to your garden this spring.IMG_6845IMG_6773

FOOTNOTE:  If you would like to help with a donation to Summataran these are some of the Things they Need

Gardens:  the following plants- Waratahs, Rhododendrons, Pieris Temple Bells, Hellebores, Euphorbia. Chicken Wire, Garden Stakes, and bags of potting mix. There is a list of other items they need on their website where you can also make a donation.  http://www.sunnataram.org/