Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Love, the Dalai Lama and “What’s for Breakfast?”

Dalai Lama n Me June 17 2016

I’m a SUPER big fan of love and today, I had the unbelievable (no really, still pinching myself) opportunity to breathe the same oxygen of the man whose whole existence is all about love: The Dalai Lama.

The 200 women (and a small group of men) in attendance got to hear a bit about the philosophy of love and how the world would be a better place if everyone could start with that one (sometimes not so simple) element and build from there. He’s not a Pollyanna about it either. He talked about how difficult it is to change a stream, if it’s run one course for too long. He told us while difficult, it is not impossible and encouraged everyone to remain hopeful. Especially for the next generations, who we must teach HOW to love — and for us to keep trying, no matter how hard. I paraphrase (because he said a LOT), but that was the takeaway.

The morning had many serious moments, like the lovely, heartfelt song presented by Q’orianka Kilcher (who sang of peace) and the many other serious speakers who addressed the audience — all gathered by Women In Compassionate Leadership — as we waited to hear what words of wisdom ‘his holiness’ had to share. Everyone may have been sitting upright in their chairs with tremendous decorum and breathless anticipation before he spoke, but he entered with very little fanfare (actually, to the strains of Benny Goodman – not at all what I was expecting) and the room was immediately at ease. With smiles for everyone and a raucous laugh, there was a whole lotta love goin’ on as soon as Tenzin Gyatso showed up.

He came in through a side door and approached the table where I sat (#7 — my favorite number) and when I turned around… the Dalai Lama stood behind me and asked, “What’s for breakfast?” and laughed with the joy of a child.  I laughed back, because it was such a disarming moment. “What? Breakfast? Uhm… fruit. And stuff.” Not my finest thinking-on-my-feet moment, but I wasn’t on my feet. I was seated and didn’t expect to have a foodie exchange with the Tibetan monk who had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has spent his life traveling the world to speak about the environment, women’s rights, physics, science, cognitive neuroscience and having interfaith dialogues with great leaders and people waaaay more important than me.

When he leaned a little closer and asked me what kind of meat was on the platter to my left I could not identify it for love nor money, so my lovely seatmate softly said, “Ham.” and I related the information to the 14th Dalai Lama who waved it off and said, “Not for me! I don’t like that!”  He walked away with a laugh and I thought, “I’ve managed to upset and offend a man with the world’s highest level of popularity (2nd only to the Pope) and I wasn’t even in charge of the menu. Having changed over to a plant-based diet a couple of months ago, I’m sure I could have made him something in my own kitchen that would have made him happy. Not wave me off and walk away.

What about the fact that I agree with the philosophy that we’re all essentially the same? I’m totally down with the ‘oneness’ of the planet, your holiness! Gosh, I’ve always said that if it has a heartbeat, peel away the skin and we’re all the same pink planet under that superficial covering (which, now that I’ve typed it out loud makes me sound far more Hannibal Lecter than I’d intended). Maybe he was right to walk away. But… he laughed!

That’s the other thing most notable about the Dalai Lama, in addition to being incredibly intelligent and outrageously charismatic, he’s a funny guy with a great sense of humor. When he laughs, you can’t help but laugh along with him. Even if what he says and laughs about doesn’t quite catch up with his translator (who he doesn’t depend on much – his English is crackerjack), everyone within earshot cracks up along with him and the sound is delicious.

The two hours went by quickly and so much wisdom was dispensed, that I will have to pore over my notes later to try and remember it all. But, even if I don’t – I am happy to know that the overall message of the day was simple: Love.

Love begins with you, which then flows out into your household and spreads to your neighbors, your community and ultimately to the world. Everything else just might fall into place a little better if we can start there and serve up love in all that we do.

But, leave the ham out of it. In case the Dalai Lama stops by your table someday.

xo – t.

Quotes of the Dalai Lama —

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

“The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be.”

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy of kindness.”


***Please forgive any typos. I type fast and I’m still a little flustered. And… it’s ma’ birthday. Too much sugar doesn’t help.