Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On Bravery

I couldn't have made a better choice of where to spend my 40th birthday. This past weekend, I joined together with a group of warm, lovely people, trying hard each in their own way, in their own lives, to find peace and joy and happiness. They are brave souls, both the students and the teachers of the Memoir as Buddhist Practice workshop at the beautiful Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Amazingly, sitting cross-legged on cushions, all were willing to open up to total strangers about their greatest hopes and dreams, their tragic sorrows, who they thought they were and are, and who they might want to be.

I gave them each gold stars, which seemed not nearly enough. I wanted to give them what they wanted, their sought-after babies, their children lost to suicide, their parents long deceased. We all seemed, in our faces and in our voices, in our acknowledgment of one another, to want that. It is lovely to look around a room and see a sea of faces all wanting for you what you want, all rooting for you. It is, unfortunately, all too rare.

Leaving Omega and its warmth (despite the freezing temperatures in my tent cabin) would have been a challenge had it not been for the arrival of my smiling husband and children, who came to scoop me up before I could decide to stay forever.

"Will she be different Daddy?" my son had asked my husband nervously. Apparently, my husband thinks I did come out a bit different. "More you..." he said. That is perfect. I can only be me, it is all I can really strive to be.

We went from the Omega campus straight to Hyde Park. In a continued best-birthday-ever weekend, we traveled to the home of my childhood idols, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

I could barely believe my luck when the tour guide offered up that we had arrived on what would have been Eleanor's 110th birthday. She is a Libra like me, and the difference she made in people's lives through her brave writing and communications with all people, both powerful and common, is truly an inspiration.

It was after 40 that Eleanor broke off from what others wanted her to do and found her own strength and voice. I give her, posthumously, a big gold star. Would that I could have had an audience with the great lady, but at least I have access to her great thinking in quotes, like this one I shall leave you with:

Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier.
We do not have to become heroes overnight.

1 comment:

  1. ummmmm (beep breath) .... that was deeply touching, well written, entertaining and thought provoking. bravo!!!