Tibetan Prayer Flags (Wikipedia images)
Photos of these flags have always caught my eye...they dance across the sky and remind me of a cross between kites and drying laundry. I'd never paid too much attention to their meaning until a recent experience when a group of us were looking for a collective way to honor a friend's birthday. The last thing she needed was more "stuff" so a gift would be a challenge. Suddenly I remembered a string of such flags I pass every day on a curvy road in the mountains. This string of color appears to be blocking a pull-over that could be treacherous, they serve as a warning.
Putting our heads and collective, varied talents together we decided to create our own version of prayer flags to honor our friend's new year. Each person constructed one or two flags and I sewed them all together in a chain to be hung outside. We took lots of liberties in our sizes and materials but if you are curious about the special colors and meanings of the traditional flags you can check this article on-line.
At the last minute (best laid plans...) we discover the birthday gal is headed out of town; but hubby to the rescue. He kindly helped out by hanging the flags as a surprise at their campground to be discovered on her special day.
Aren't they gorgeous? Every single contribution (and more than a few were gathered from out of towners) was different; but each offered up feelings and love not only for our dear friend but for the countryside over which they would fly. Prayer flags are ephemeral, they naturally deteriorate and fade away...like little parts of them spreading joy over the world.
morning view from the camper
We were amused that the installation art became quite the talk of the campground. Our friends had to give more than a few tours and explanations of just what these unusual decorations were. I also love this explanation for installing provided on-line:
When raising prayer flags proper motivation is important. If they are put up with the attitude “I will benefit from doing this” – that is an ego-centered motivation and the benefits will be small and narrow. If the attitude is “May all beings everywhere receive benefit and find happiness,” the virtue generated by such motivation greatly increases the power of the prayers.
from Radiant Heart Studio, Redmond, CA
I know these particular flags are powerful ones! They were made and hung with love to generate creativity and happiness in all beings...and now they have a new home:
The meditation shade garden right outside her studio...a lovely place to ponder
and bask in birthday happiness!
There are so many ways to make prayer flags and many reasons to be involved in making, giving and hanging them. This winter I will be thinking about how best to teach a workshop where we can each make and take our own, so let me know if you might be interested when spring rolls around. Meanwhile, I am
Joy Fully Yours,