Written by Dr. Dechen Tsewang, MK Santa Fe Host
The 4th Machik Khabda in Santa Fe took place in our back yard and the participants were my two daughters: Pema, age 8, Drukar, age 4 and their friend Norzom, age 7. I made a platter of treats and we looked at video of ANU’s song Fly with prompts to look at images that capture their eyes. The kids are familiar with the song as it has been played at home, various Tibetan community gatherings and in car-rides. Norzom liked the images of chortens that are very familiar. Children were able to relate to chortens they have seen in the past - in Santa Fe, Bir-India, Kathmandu etc. Pema pointed out that the masks of monkeys stood out to her as an animal symbol that come in dreams such as a crow or a raven, a concept she learned in school last year. She thought Phur is a very unique song, “I think Phur does not mean really flying but that it means…trying out and that just trying is good enough.”
Children read the lyrics of Phur and asked what "fate" meant. As a mother, I had to think carefully and felt a little nervous in trying to explain the concept of fate to a child without alluding any limitations attached to it. As usual, children always surprise us with their wild imagination and intelligence. Pema was quick to point, “so fate can be something that can be changed too”. She was able to relate to women fighting for voting rights - we had talked about it last year, in school and she said, “In a book that my aunty Amrita gave me, it showed that how women fought for voting rights and now, my Ama can vote, other women can vote”. An eight year old girl sees that fate is something that is not stagnant and can be changed.
Machik Khabda’s study guides that accompany each session is very well thought out and a pleasure to read and discuss. It is a treat to have such a solid curriculum that allows us to learn about our Tibetan sisters and brothers in Tibet and provide a space for discussion. I had heard about Pekar (featured for 2nd Khabda) years ago with her sculptural works but never knew about her poetry, essays and her struggles. I found her work very empowering as a Tibetan woman raising two daughters.