It comes to my attention today that at least one person out there is reading this blog and wondering when I am going to write more.  Well the truth is that I have lots to write about but not so much time to write.  So tonight I start again and maybe will write shorter bit for you a little more often.

Blessing 1

One of the most powerful and interesting events happened a few weeks ago.  In hindsight it seems to have foreshadowed the events unfolding now.  Max and I get up Friday morning and go down to the store to meet the Monks that have come from Edmonton to bless the restaurant next door and our new prayer wheel.  Max and I dress in orange shirts in honour of the Monks and are just about to leave for the store when the phone rings. It’s Lisa from the store, she tells us that the Monks are here and ready to bless the store and the restaurant.

My good friend Alan told me the week before to just enjoy the process. Today he tells me to listen to the universe for any message that might be there and so I listen carefully. As we walk out the front door of our store, Phay, Mao’s sister greetsus and introduces us to the Monks. Everyone smiles. We go into the restaurant to decided while the group decides what to do. Sunworks is to be the first to be blessed, we had hoped to have the prayer wheel blessed and are surprised that they are going to bless the store as well.

Max and I hold the doors open for the Monks and the group of elder Lao ladies, who I think are from Red Deer, that have come to help. Monk Sien and his Master enter the store along with a third Monkwho carries holy water in a large brass hand-pounded bowl. There are flower pedals in the bowl and a twig brush. Monk Sien wears bright orange. The Master wears a caramel colour exactly the same share we used the first few years of the store to decorate our booth at the farmer’s market.

I watch, I listen, and I enjoy the process. I let the monks and the group do what they need to do for us. Inside the store, they tell us to sit on the chairs at the front of the store. They tell us to hold our hands in a certain way which is very much like the way we were taught to prayer growing up as Christians — but somehow it feels different. Monk Sien and his Master begin to chant and the other of the three moves around the store splashing the place with holy water, returning to the front to splash us with holy water, and then prayer wheel. As they being the chanting and I can sense a clearing of the room. An odd sensation. They finish their blessing and the elder women present all smile at us.

Blessing the entrance.
Blessing the entrance.

Monk Sien goes outside and paints a blessing on the window of the store. We stand silently inside and watch. It is interesting and beautiful and makes me feel happy. As we exit the group tells us that our business will be very prosperous and I think about all that we are trying to do right now.

We move next door to the flower shop and do this all again at Laura’s place. She is thrilled beyond anything I have seen before. Laura has quite a following in the Chinese community and teaches Tai Chi, so already has some sense of the meaning and the importance of this. Later in the day she talks about how this ties all three of our business together in some way, because of this shared experience.

After the blessing of the flower shop we all pose for various pictures inside and outside of the businesses. I had been worried about taking pictures but then Monk Sien pulls out a high tech digital from his robes and asks up to take pictures on his camera as well.  I chuckle to myself.

We take a couple of photographs in front of the prayer wheel.

Next we all move to the restaurant to wait for the Mayor and guests to show up. Monk Sien and his driver leave to go back to Edmonton. The Master stays to perform the blessing in the restaurant. As we wait he takes the opportunity to bless each one of waiting. Most of the staff receive a blessing. Max offers to the Monks to come up and spend a day working in the yard of the monastery helping to landscape it.

This day is very interesting to me.  The day before we were in Edmonton working on our Swerve project which we will build.

While there, at the architects discussing the budget, we have a incident that left me feeling anything but positive about the process of our project.  I felt beat up an angry, so on this day of the blessing I really needed to feel something positive.

I take my seat across from the Master and do as I’m instructed. I put my right wrist out palm down, and my right hand up like a half of prayer. The elder ladies and other gather behind me and near and touch one another or me forming this kind of grouping. The master chants and ties a yellow and orange bracelet made of a several thin strings around my wrist. When he is done, he tells me twice this will bring you lots of money. I say nothing to anyone and think of yesterday. Some ladies tell me it is very lucky, and will bring health. I get the sense that their definition of luck is different than ours.

Blessing the Prayer Wheel
Blessing the prayer wheel

Everything changes as the Mayor and City Council arrive, a couple of photographers, and the television crews arrive. I feel good about having some influence in our community, about being able to bring all of these people together, about being able to recognize an important opportunity. There is an excited buzz about what this new restaurant means to the City and to the downtown.

Just before 1100 they line up two rows of chairs in from of the master. They ask the men to sit in the front, this almost offends the women that have come. The elder Lao ladies sit in the second row and explain what is happening. We again are instructed to raise our left hand like half of a prayer and hold our right wrists out. He begins to chant and the Lao ladies bring around bracelets for each and everyone in the room, including the media, guests, camera and TV men. Everyone gets a blessings. Afterwards they ask the Mayor is there is anything that he would like to say on behalf of the city.

He does a great job speaking about the importance of diversity, of community, and of this new restaurant in the downtown. About how interesting and important the downtown is. The interpreter then says, okay it’s time to eat.

We take our place at the a couple of tables and they bring out a lot of food. Everyone is impressed. Just before the group leaves the restaurant Mao and his family present the Mayor and the city a piece of art from the Lao community. It’s brilliant and now hangs in City Hall outside the Mayor’s office. The whole experience was brilliant. I hug Mao, shake the hands of the others. Terry does the same. We look around as we leave the the entire restaurant is full with new
customers. There is not one sit empty. They are off to a good start.

And we are on our way — new restaurant blessed, store blessed, prayer wheel blessed, blessed personally, flower shop blessed, a bonding experience, and beautiful welcome, good media coverage that will help them get started, new friendships formed, and a message about the downtown that rings loudly and clearly. Quite incredible really. I am in my office shortly after noon feeling like I’ve done a whole day’s work.

Then Andrea marches in with a demolition permit. She had sneaked out during the lunch and gotten the last signature, then gone over to the city and got the permit signed. Wow! We are making way for Swerve on faith alone.

It’s six weeks later and much has changed, the old building will come down next week, the work on the Sunworks building is near completion, the appraisals of our work came in higher that expected, new partnerships
are forming that will be paramount to success, and the budget for Swerve is slowly sorting itself out.  It is amazing how much actually happens in such a short space of time.

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