His Holiness The Dalia Lama and other Remarkable People

“What was the promise that life made to itself the moment you were born?” Margaret Wheatley
This past weekend I was graced to be in the presence of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. I guess “oh my God!” may or may not be the proper invocation, but frankly the entire experience of being in a room with his energy and peace was a spiritual experience. But, it’s sort of like doing yoga, to talk about how great my yoga practice is on a given day, seems to belay the point. All I can say is that I felt really, really good, being in the room with the Dalai Lama.

Now the Nobel Peace Leaureates were another experience all together. Betty Williams, Maread McGuire and Jody Williams all make their life work peace. They have put themselves in the way of danger, persevered beyond what seems possible and made, by any accounts, a remarkable contribution to this planet. A more down to earth, funny, acerbic, delightful, disarming group of women it would be hard to imagine. Maread spoke about how there is so much pain in life, and it is really hard, but there is also incredible joy and so much love, so many good people. Her energy was absolutely beautiful. She talked about forgiveness and seeing her sister bury her children and then her meeting with the mom of the boy who killed them. We both buried our children, she said.  Jody Williams didn’t think she had the forgiveness thing down pat, she said she felt a great deal of “ righteous indignation.” Her passion and action is so raw and powerful it made me want to leap up and fight alongside her. All of these women showed up fully to the hour that we were all together. They shared their dreams and disappointments, but mostly they shared their humanity. Each of us knew that these were real women, women living their lives bravely and fully, women who worried about their children and grandchildren’s grades while worrying about the great injustices in the world. Betty Williams longed to have more time to cook, Jody William who had tried to drop out of Peace Activism without success, Maread who said clearly to the audience “I am no different than you”.  Which brought me right back to a statement made early on in the connecting for change conference. “What was the promise life made to itself, the moment you were born.” What are each one of us doing to live that promise. Life has a promise for each of us, and they are equally sacred. Whether raising little people, ending the use of land mines, standing for peace in Ireland, running a small business, creating a piece of art, these are all life’s promises for us asking to be fulfilled. The business of life is to go out and live it, there is no crystal ball which is going to tell us how it will all turn out, that is a risk we take when we choose to be fully alive. ---Silken