The day I met the Dalai Lama
I woke up this morning like it was Christmas day and I was 6 again--by far my favorite age. I stretched and immediately jumped right out of bed, beating my alarm clock to the punch and I began the slow morning process of getting ready. Shower, hair, Nicki Minaj concert, hair....hair...(I think you get the picture) That honestly is where it began. In the sweatbox that was my bathroom I sat there sweating trying to blowdry my hair and keep it from frizzing/poofing up meanwhile trying to keep cool at the same time. The more I blew the hotter I got and the more stressed I became. I had to move on. I tried on wigs and wraps and scarves and contemplated taking another shower just to wash my hair and start over but no! I had had a picture in my head of how today was going to go and that called for straight hair with beautiful bouncing curls! Then I sneezed...and it dawned on me that I had been breathing through my mouth all morning because my sinuses were completely congested.
I tried not to focus on my inability to breathe nor my growing afro and went to make myself breakfast, a bowl of multigrain cheerios (which were stale because I seemingly forgot to roll the bag up). Pouring my stale cereal down the garbage disposal I went back into the bathroom to do my make up. 9:30am...I had to be at the arena by 12 but work by 11 so I had roughly an hour. In this hour I did my make-up and put on some more music to try to brighten my spirit. I ironed my dress and put on the appropriate undergarments none of which seemed to fit quite right. Have I changed since yesterday?!
After perfectly ironing my pristine dress only worn twice and not once in six months (these things excite me) I went back to the bathroom to curl my hair. I hated it--but I was running out of time I had to leave it. I put on my dress and walked out the door where I was met with beaming sunshine and that god damn hill. I looked down at my heels and my dress and I went back home to change. My dress was going to look awful with sweat stains that were sure to appear after my hike up either the hill or the stairs so I decided to go with something more flowy..which meant I needed to iron again.
Trying to hurry up I'm rushing around my apartment and its hot and I can feel my hair getting bigger but I try to erase the worry from my mind. I throw on the new dress and dash out the house. Halfway up the hill I realize that my dress is creeping towards my midsection. This dress is two sizes too big,so its not that, its static cling and the more I move the more it gets stuck in awkward positions around my body. I couldn't help but to look up to the sky and say, "Really?"
I get to work and try to clean myself up when all I really want to do is sit down on the floor of the handicapped bathroom stall and cry. I called My Person and she tries to remind me I am meeting the Dalai Lama today and to shake the morning off. I give it my most sincere effort.
After walking to the arena in 5" heels in a dress that is insisting on being a scarf I arrive and long story short I greet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and he clasps my praying hands and bows to me smiling and in this most sacred and spiritual moment the one thing I can think of is, "I should care more right now."
The six other students who got the opportunity were so elated, we even cried. Yes I shed a tear but it was more for being so out of touch with such a monumental moment in my life that I couldn't enjoy it. After meeting the Dalai Lama I didn't want to hear his beautiful speech about peace, love, compassion, and justice. I just wanted to go home and cry. For the week, for the morning, for the moment.
Leaving the arena and walking to a meeting with a professor someone asked me where I got my scarf. I told her I got it when I met the Dalai Lama before the talk. She was impressed and asked if she could touch it. Two more people would later ask the same thing. It is in these moments when you are sitting someone in the heavens watching your life and seeing the magnitude of the presence. That you just had a physical and intimate interaction with someone who others just want to touch even a token or trinket to be closer to him.
I could still be crying. I could be full of sorrow over "missing it" but I think its something very real that can be learned from this. On the day that I expected (key word) so many wonderful things, the small things got the better of me. And in my inability to let go of the past (no matter how recent the past) I lost sight of the beauty in my present. Perhaps that is the best thing I could have gotten from the Dalai Lama: the reminder to forgive. Forgive immediately. I read earlier in the week that "Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could be any different. Stop living in the space of 'if only'." If only my hair had curled perfectly, if only my dress had been cooperative, if only my shoes weren't so uncomfortable, if only I didn't have to walk so far, if only if only if only...I can't attach myself to the past like that. I have to forgive and move on.
So really, it may not have been the day that I expected to have. It may not have been a day that I wanted to have. It was, however, a day that I learned something worth remembering. Now every time I think of the day I met the Dalai Lama I will be reminded of what it feels like to be caught up in the small stuff, and the power in forgiveness. If it is for that gift alone, I am grateful.