A Special Convocation
In the spring of 2004, a special convocation was held in Vancouver where Honourary Degrees from both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia were bestowed on three Nobel Laureates, who had all won the Peace Prize. The recipients were the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Shirin Ebadi.
It was a week long event with enormous gatherings of 30,000; smaller gatherings of 1000 and one special gathering of 300, where the Dalai Lama made an appearance. My Mother was one of the lucky ones, along with my sister, a few friends and myself. We all received the white scarf, his blessing and a memorable moment for a lifetime. My take away was: “Never resist a generous impulse,” and “My religion is kindness,” which is the same religion as my Mother’s.
I was thinking of the Dalai Lama as his 85th Birthday was this week and I had recently watched a documentary about him (which I highly recommend) called In His Own Words. It is wonderful and I hope to show it to my Mother, later this month.
It brought me back to that extraordinary week in Vancouver 16 years ago, where we also met many other amazing teachers and writers representing all of the wisdom traditions.
It’s all a Blessing
Rabbi Zalman Schachter, was one of them. He wrote the book, From Age-ing to Sage-ing, amongst many others. Several of us became interested in his warm and enlivening concepts, to turn ageing into a meaningful, lively and joyful time of life while passing on wisdom to the younger generation.
Rabbi Schachter wrote a blessing that my Mother loved and loves to this day. She keeps it out in plain sight so it is readily available.
I dedicate this blessing to my Mother who has showered us with blessings for 100 years. And to everyone, doing the very best they can do with challenging situations. You all have my highest admiration.
“Whether the golden sun warms you to the core or the bitter cold wind stings your face, it is all a blessing. Whether you are surrounded by pleasure or immersed in toil and strife, every moment is a thing that carries boundless beauty and possibility.
Take each moment as it comes to you and give your best to it. Resenting the pain will only make it more painful, and hoarding the pleasure will only prevent you from experiencing its joy.
Give your attention and your energy to where you are. For when you truly appreciate the value of where you are and what you have, it opens you up to a world of possibilities.
Move beyond your own arbitrary judgments, and things that were once difficult and intolerable can become far easier to bear. Consider that much of what makes something difficult is the way you think and feel about it.
Rather than seeing yourself as enduring something unpleasant, see yourself as contributing your very best to a challenging and energizing situation. Rather than waiting for something better to come along, take the initiative and find a way to make something better actually happen.
Every moment is a truly unique and valuable blessing when you see it as such.”
Rabbi Zalman Schachter
Note 1:) Rabbi Schachter, was the author of many books, a founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, an innovator in ecumenical dialogue and a revered as well as a controversial figure in the overlapping circles of his life.
Note 2:) My Mother’s strength is “to take the initiative and find a way to make something better actually happen.”
Note 3:) Speaking of my Mother, (as hinted in my title today) she is in the hospital until Monday, July 13th. I am flying out on Sunday and we will be together with our family bubble, until the end of July on beautiful Gabriola Island. Is that not happiness!
Note 4:) I appreciate you dear readers. You are simply the best. Many thanks and the warmest of wishes. Take care of yourselves and make the most of everyday. Remember to allow lots of time for beauty in your life. We need that now, or so it seems to me. See you next week. Trudy