Dechen was born in Bhutan and enjoyed a childhood surrounded by the lush flora and fauna of the region which is at the foothills of the mighty Himalayan range. Encounters with nature were of the up close and personal kind, from the sublime to the scary. One minute, one could be experiencing the flutter of beautiful exotic butterflies in a dazzling array of colours, and the next minute one could be crossing paths with snakes (some of them venomous, like the cobra), that inhabited pockets of the garden and sometimes found their way inside the house!
Her father’s love for nature transformed the garden into a tropical paradise, filling it with flowers in every colour and fragrance, as well as ferns, creepers and bushes in every shape and size. And trees! So many trees within the compound surrounding the house that parts of the garden resembled a small orchard. The bounty of nature grew at the doorstep; fruits galore – like litchees, mangoes, bananas, oranges, chikoo (sapodilla), star fruit, jackfruit, pomelo, sugar cane, papaya and more. A large kitchen garden at the back of the house, had multiple rows of vegetable beds that ensured a constant supply of fresh vegetables.
Animals were ever-present throughout her childhood years. The family had farm animals like cows, pigs, chicken, ducks and a large fish pond. And being in the tropics meant being surrounded by an abundance of wild creatures – every manner of creature that bit, stung, stank, hissed, slithered, squawked or cooed. From the aforementioned snakes, to frogs, tree lizards, common house geckos, snails, slugs, noisy crows, parrots, doves, bats and every kind of flying insect. The close and personal relationship with nature during her childhood laid the foundation for a lifelong love of the natural world that remains strong till today.
In the summer, her small garden in Canada is a magnet for butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, robins, squirrels, and of course…rabbits!
She has always been drawn to the Tao principles of harmony with nature, going with the flow, simplicity, patience and compassion. In that regard, her book The Unexpected Muse is quintessentially Zen as it captures these principles from an unusual angle in a charming and witty manner.
She hopes to continue her journey as an author, illustrator, thinker, learner and chronicler.
“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a space of no-mind, from inner stillness.”