Parents Weekend with the Dalai Lama

Finally, the long awaited ‘parents weekend’! It really wasn’t about all the Cornell Parent activities, though there were many activities planned, for me it was just about needed time with Shane, in his world. The thought did occur to me that my parents and I might somehow be imposing on his newly found space, but I let it pass quickly, since this was about what I needed, right? Not so much about what he needed. What were his needs anyway? He seemed to be completely need-less since arriving at Cornell. Fascinating.

But as we headed into the beautiful mountains of New York, noticing the bright colors of fall leaves and the gorgeous surroundings, an ache of not wanting to get there too quickly radiated over me. It was an odd feeling. As much as I was dying to see him and have his arms wrapped around me, I knew that once we arrived, the rest of the weekend would be a whirlwind. And then over…

So my goal was to simply stay present, in each moment. First on my list was to be present on the drive and time alone with my parents. That was easy!

But next: Shane. We changed our dinner reservation 3 times, due to traffic, yet only to find that this was the mere beginning of ‘rushed’ meals. Apparently eating at Cornell, is not an activity, but a quick rest stop on the way to fun. And then, about an hour before arriving, came in a text: can’t wait to see you! What more could I ask for than that?

Greeted with a huge warm hug from Shane, the kind that never feels right leaving, we skipped our way to the Sushi reservation. When we got to the door and realized that the place was empty due to it being a great take out place, we had a good chuckle at the lonely ‘RESERVED’ sign on our table. As we finished barely our last bites, Shane reported we really needed to get going if we were going to make it to the A capella concert.

And so it began…a weekend filled with laughs, stories, more laughs, more rushed meals and an unbelievable sense of accomplishment in watching him move around campus like he was the mayor. Or was it the guy from Cheers, where everybody knows his name…and they are oh so glad he came…? All I knew was that in fact everywhere we went, someone knew him and was giving him a shout out. It was quite amazing. He certainly did not waste any time immersing himself into Cornell.

Each moment of laughter, was followed by a little sorrow. Each moment of laughter, surrounded by the sweet memory of why he is so missed in my world back in Pennington. I have yet to meet a man who comprehends the meaning of being ‘present’ like he does; like it is not an option, but a mandatory way of living. Am I biased? For sure! But even so, I have been surrounded by many great men in my time, many who have offered my life laughter and love, but none, that could consistently, day after day, year after year, make others around him feel as if they are the only being that mattered in that moment.

Every moment he must unknowingly break another girls heart, I thought. Mine surely aches each time I leave his side.

We only made it to one of the Cornell Parents’ activities, but did all the things we wanted to. Listening to groups singing at random street corners, fire stations, in buildings and then letting the music in our hearts guide our time there. We were also lead on some great walking tours filled with breathtaking colors and sights. It was like an overload of our senses as we continued to take it all in, trying to record each moment on video and camera.

Saturday night Shane scurried off to a fraternity party that he frequently gets invited to. Not because he wants to be in one, as he has taken a stand to not conform to being like others, but because of the group of friends that trail along with him. Apparently the friends that follow him there, have come to count on him as their safety net as he has started a tradition of getting almost 30 students home safely at the end of the evening…on foot! One sober boy. 30 others lost without his guidance. I can still hear my friends from way back when, whispering how he won’t stay sober once he hits college. If they could see him now. Clearly he had become a Dalai Lama of sorts. Taking care of others as he began doing when just 8 years old. Putting the needs of others before his. The Dalai Lama? Yes, that is what I said! ‘He who was thought of as a reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders.’ Possibly! ‘Chosen to enlighten others.’ Definitely! ‘Exerting much influence.’ Certainly!

Sunday morning we awoke once again with a bounce in our steps, knowing we still had one more meal with Shane. We squeezed in our last morning workout in a hotel run by a staff that seemed a bit surreal as well and I wondered if we were we in a Shane fog? Or was everything here just perfect? Hard to tell.

Proud of myself for finally having figured out the Cornell campus, I offered to drive back to the dorm to pick up Shane. One more rushed meal to go! As I carefully maneuvered the car into the parking lot, I saw a woman who looked like she might be pulling out. My heart sank as I watched a young girl head over to her car. I knew what was about to happen right before my eyes: a goodbye. I tried to look away, feeling the heaviness of the tears right behind my eyes, but could not. Maybe if I could watch someone else do it without sobbing, I would then be able to as well. No such luck. Neither of them were crying. Not mom. Not daughter. But I cried for both of them.

We had our last meal, shared all the fun we had being submerged in his new life, had some great belly laughs about the hills and then Shane showed me his organized homework app on his phone, reporting all the work he still had to do. That was the cue: Hurry up on that last bite!

I let my parents get their hugs out of the way and then put myself in there, prepared for whatever would come next. I allowed myself to feel sad. I allowed myself to cry. I allowed myself to make mental notes of his hug that seemed to make my whole world better. Oh to feel love like that. And oh…to feel so grateful as a mom to have raised such great boys. One, who was temporarily in his own world…

It’s just until thanksgiving, Shane said as I wept in his tight squeeze, it will go fast. Just a few weeks away…

And at that, I gathered myself and released that poor boy from my clutching arms. How did I raise a boy that never pulls away from a hug first? We then got into the car and I took one last deep breath. Then…again promised myself to be present…with my parents on the way home.

Life, with the good and the bad, is meant to be lived. No wasted days will be made up at the end. No exceptions.

Inner Peace

What’s all this talk about world peace? 

I mean, of course I believe that everyone learning to co-exist could only bring amazing things to this world…but WORLD peace?  Really? Do we understand how large of a task that is? Do we really understand how many closed-minded opinions we would have to alter in order to get everyone thinking the same peaceful thoughts?

I am not trying to be pessimistic or remotely suggest that creating peace across the world is not possible. I am a firm believer that anything is quite possible, if done with intention and persistence.  Just think, we could probably eliminate hunger and homelessness too, since we would then have a world filled with human beings helping other human beings.  Sure, we may not be able to eliminate people dying of horrible diseases around the world, but if we could guarantee that all human beings were operating from a heartfelt place, wanting to love and feel loved, think of all the other unbelievable changes that could also occur.

What keeps us from world peace is that most of the anger, fighting and killing comes from a place of feeling right.  A feeling that the way we think is the way it really is.  As if our thoughts and beliefs are factual.  It’s not that I don’t understand how it feels to want to stand strongly in your beliefs.  I do.  I come from a long line of debaters, a family of confident people that are willing to go to bat for themselves.  But even with that upbringing, I was able to comprehend that it was my opinion.  Did I talk relentlessly at times, too loudly, too persistently, coming across as though there were only one side to the story…yes!  But in the end, what good can come of that? You can’t actually convince someone to think like you do. You can’t force someone to do things like you do.  Well, you can actually, but that isn’t what you want.  What you really want is for others to not only see your side, but also value it and then take it on as theirs as well. Yet that doesn’t usually happen.

Instead, you should only hope to offer a new perspective to those that see it differently.  But you can only offer.  It is still their choice to do with it what they will.

Even with that knowledge, though, if we all stayed within the boundaries of the laws, making decisions based on what was for the better good of society and the human race, then couldn’t we eliminate much of what now shows up as hate and create a peaceful world?

Maybe, but only if we could work on the true problem at hand.  The problem is not that the world is too large…in my opinion. The problem is that the very same people that are fighting for world peace do not have peace within themselves. Peace will not come by changing others. Peace will not come from blaming others.  Peace will not come by getting revenge on those that have not done it our way.  Peace has to come from within ourselves.  In order to be peaceful from our core, we will need to learn to be with the silence at times, as well as the noise; we will need to learn to be still. We will need to accept that our feelings are just that: ours.  They don’t make you feel any particular way. Actually, you feel how you feel, because that is how you feel! So stop the blame game. Give up on your desire to change others, and focus on the act of sharing.  Be mindful with everyone you interact with that we all want the same thing: to love and be loved.  And that even though you are certain that you know…you don’t always know.

We have a long way to go before we can even touch the surface on a world that is peaceful always, and until we can each find peace within ourselves, no matter what our past has given us…world peace will remain out of our reach.

Do what you have to in order to find peace. It will change your life, which in turn, will change all the lives of others around you. 

Hello world!

Welcome to my world. I write about life, through my eyes, the way I see it and am clear that you may see it completely different. Smile while you are here, cry if the moment moves you and come back often…it will inspire me to keep writing.
“Live your life the way you want it. This is no dress rehearsal.”
Happy blogging!