Yesterday, I had the honor & privilege to attend a talk given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I had no idea how amazing this event would be. I mean...I knew that it would be amazing, but I wasn't exactly prepared for just how amazing it was.
A bit of backstory first -
About 6 weeks ago, a co-worker (Brian, who I have worked with for 14+ years!) told me that the Dalai Lama was coming to Middlebury College to speak. He knew that I'd be interested. There were 2 events schedueld - one for faculty/staff/students and one for the public. I set a reminder on my phone for the day that the tickets went on sale. I got up at 5:30am, and had my desktop, laptop, AND iphone ready to go. I don't always have reliable internet service, so I wanted to be prepared! The tickets were set to go on sale at 6:00am. At 5:59, the site would not load. I spent the next 30 minutes trying to reload the site with no luck - I'm not sure if it crashed completely, or what. Itried calling - 20 times - and got a "circuits are busy" message every time. I was completely bummed.
A few days later, Brian was on the phone confirming his staff tickets (he's a part-time coach at the college). I gave him a hard time (teasing, of course) about that fact that he was able to get 2 tickets. We had a lot of laughs over it not being very Lama-like to be mad at him for having tickets.
A few days after that exchange, Brian came over to my desk FIRST thing in the morning. The conversation went like this:
B - So, Katrina, who is your favorite guy?
me - Can I have some framework?
B - Just, you know, right now - who is your favorite guy?
me - My standard answer is Bradley Cooper
B - (pulling an envelope from behind his back) Do you want to change that answer?
me - Why? What's that?
B - (dramatically pulling a ticket out) Perhaps it's a ticket to His Holiness.
me - What???? Brian!!! What??? Are you serious?????
B - I would not joke about His Holiness. (laughing)
me -Brian!!! Bradley is dead to me. You're going to make me cry.
B - Don't I get a hug??
me - DUH!!!
So, the fact that I even got to attend the talk is the result of an amazing act of kindness. Brian gave up his own ticket so that I could attend. (yes, of course I made cupcakes for him!!)
Yesterday, I had a lovely breakfast downtown (more on that in another post), and headed down to Middlebury to get in line. I was pretty happy that I was in the first hundred or so people to arrive. That resulted in a seventh row seat - amazing.
I don't even really know where to start in describing His Holiness. Dude, he is FUNNY. As the Chaplain of the college was introducing him in a very eloquent speech, HE SNUCK UP BEHIND HER. As the crowd started to giggle, she turned slightly, jumped about a mile,& yelled "OH MY GOSH!!" - that was the first of many times that we heard his amazing laugh. I told Becky last night that his laugh can only be described as what pure happiness sounds like. Throughout the speech, he told jokes and cracked up - and I hope that I never, ever forget the sound of his laughter.
He spoke of kindness, compassion, and hope. His words hit home in a way that will likely bring me to tears for a while. His thoughts on wholeness - needing both the mind and the heart - to be truly happy were so simple, and so true. His thoughts on religion - encouraging people to honor & practice their own religion, but RESPECT all other religions - resonated in a huge way. His advice to students - to listen & read, but investigate to find what they believe to be true - is a lesson that I hope that I have taught my children. His wisdom about parenting - that showing children affection and love daily will build the foundation for a lifetime of happiness - made me feel proud of how I've raised my kids.
Oh, and his jokes about his gallbladder surgery?? I will be laughing about those for YEARS.
I watched the documentary - 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama - last night on Netflix. I definitely recommend it.
Such an amazing man. Such an amazing leader. Such an amazing day.