RITUAL: If I Were You, the Blessing of a Book

“A book blessing?” I repeated to my friend Gary.  “Well, yea, does that make sense?” he asked.  “YES!  Why not?” I exclaimed, affirming his instinct, my own, and all the gods’ listening.    Each creative act — every courageous, obedient dance with The Muse — is to be honored and celebrated and, by all means, Blessed!  And so, on the afternoon of his new book’s release, we made sure its way forward was duly anointed.


Book Blessing for author, Gary Turchin and his book, If I Were You
August 27, 2011


Gary reads, If I Were You

Opening Words:

When I asked Gary about why he wrote this book, he explained that writing this book is part of his Legacy.  He told me he felt, “a Call to do something for the Light in this world.”  I find this striking: to feel, “Called to do something for the Light in this world.”

The Light, whether we stop to notice it, or feel gratitude for it, or receive it at all, shines on….and Gary decided to honor it with this book.



What are YOU doing for the Light in this world?  Perhaps this is book is an invitation for each of us to consider this question….and to respond with one of its suggestions….or one of your own.  And so, we’re going to set about to bless Gary’s book now….



Group Blessing:

What words do you remember from this book? [participants call out various words]  Yes, yes!  All those words and many others.  So now, to bless this book – an original act of creativity; and to offer this book as a blessing to the world, I’m going to askGaryto “send” this Earth Ball into the crowd.  As the ball finds its way to you, call out your favorite word from the book and bound the ball elsewhere in the crowd.  [Words are called out and ball is bounced for a few moments; crowd laughs and engages fully in act of group blessing.]

Sunflowers! Caterpillaring! Nectarines! Holy Mackerel!

Final Blessing / Sending Forth:

May this book motivate those idle and antsy hands to manifest that new masterpiece, Great or mundane;

May this book inspire those dull and deadened minds to new ways of seeing, simple and transformative;

May this book find those hearts – closed or sleeping – and invite them to open and awaken!

Blessings be on Gary, the creator and If I Were You, this book!  May it be so!

May it be So!

Why Lauren Bikes

[This post belongs in a series of 7 entries written to build community and receive donations to support the Climate Ride, a 320 mile cycling pilgrimage I made in October, 2011.  Several entries focus on and celebrate the particular efforts of each of the 4 NGOs I designated to receive funds I raised for the ride.]



In 35 days, I’ll be up in Fortuna, CA, and preparing to ride the 350 miles to San Francisco – 5 days of cycling to celebrate this Earth-home of ours, and to raise awareness about how we can do a better job of taking care of it.

So, SO many of you have already offered support.  Thank you for your generosity!  And for those of you still wanting to give, you have 4 more weeks.  You might recall that I’ve designated 4 NGOs, in particular, to receive the funds raised on behalf of my pedaling.  For the time remaining between now and Oct. 2nd,I’m going to focus on 1 NGO a week, highlighting why I think their efforts are important and worthy of your donation.


This week: The East Bay Bike Coalition  http://ebbc.org/

Their mission: Promoting bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation since 1972.

Geek Treat: In the United States, 25% of trips are under a mile, but 75% of those trips are made by car.  Biking or walking one mile instead of driving will save you at least 15 cents on gas. And what about all those fun interactions with people and your neighborhood when you’re not stuck behind the wheel? (http://www.americantrails.org/resources/health/SuburbBrody.html)


And now….Why Lauren Bikes


“God made so many different kinds of people;
why would God allow only one way to worship”

– Martin Buber


I bike because it’s when my body prays.  I bike because it makes me feel strong.  I bike because two wheels take me to locations I wouldn’t otherwise see.  I bike because I always return from rides feeling different from when I left.  I bike because the challenges scare me…and I am someone who needs to lean into her fears directly.


A few years ago, I was riding my first double century – a double century is 200 miles in one day.  I became very afraid, suddenly, when I learned a big climb was coming and we’d be working very hard for the next hour.  “Climbing for the next hour?”  I questioned inwardly. A young voice inside whimpered, “I can’t!” and I wanted to cry….but another harsher voice snapped, “You can’t cry and ride a bike at the same time!  Keep moving!”


I finished the climb; infact, I finished the entire 200 miles, but I also became irrationally fearful of climbing.  For two months after that ride, I avoided certain roads and noticed an existential distancing between me and my love for meditation on the bike.  I knew I had to lean into this fear and find out what it meant.


In sought-out time with a Buddhist teacher, who is also an avid cyclist, he asked, “Lauren, do you KNOW that you can’t cry and ride your bike at the same time? For whatever it’s worth, I had a lovely cry on my bike just last Sunday.”  He also questioned wisely, “About how old was the one inside who said she couldn’t?  And who was the one who told her she had to?”  Before ending our session, he asked me to describe what it was like to finish all 200 miles.  Had I even taken time to acknowledge the accomplishment?  Ever so gently, with his own tears of joy leading the way, we both wept and celebrated my first double century triumph.  I agreed then to address the fears directly by returning to the East Bay hills, and I vowed to let him know what happened.


One week later, on a very foggy morning, I climbed South Park Road, one of Tilden Park’s steepest.  Along the way, I spoke to the fear, “You can do it.  Look at you: you’re doing it!!  You don’t have to go fast; you can stop if you need to….but look at you!  You are doing this.  Breathe.  Pull, push.  Breathe.”  At the top of the hill, I cried.  I cried and pedaled and laughed and whooped my way across the ridge, tears and snot running down my face, while I rode my bike at the same time.


Practice with Parvati, my two-wheeled Guru


I ride my bike because I see Creation from ever-changing angles.  I ride my bike because it is meditation in motion.  I ride my bike because in our dance together, we find God.