Expectations were high. This was the Dalai Lama after all. Was it too much to expect the most profound insights we'd ever heard, solutions to the problems of the world at large and our smaller worlds within it?
This past weekend theTibet House
, theDrew Katz Foundation
, Columbia professor and Buddhist scholarRobert Thurman
and Newark MayorCory Booker
hosted His Holiness theDalai Lama
at theNewark Peace Education Summit
in New Jersey. With the heightened security, bows of deference and the craning of thousands of ears toward his every word, it was hard for me to imagine what it would be like to face such out-sized expectations when traveling--feeling their weight in the very air between you and everyone you meet, people who want something important from you that they cannot quite name but expect nonetheless.
Nonetheless,His Holiness the Dalai Lama
and like-minded Nobel laureates will join poets, educators, other peacemakers in their fields, a few thousand attendees and most importantly, 1,000 of Newark’s students to discuss what it will take to get to peace and, I hope, to get started in making it happen.
That sounds like a nice and fluffy way to spend time.
I earned my first paycheck as a writer when I won an elementary school contest for my story about a tiger's troubled
friendship with an incompatible bee. It was the first time I realized I
was in love with shaping words and images into story, and that if I
worked hard enough at it, someone else may read it too.
up in Rhode Island, whenever we had visitors my parents made my five
siblings and I lead the same tour: along the terrifying but stunning
cliff walks of Newport, followed by days at Second Beach where our skin
crunched tight with salt and we dined in our bathing suits on picnic
tables, feasting on clam cakes and watching the shadows move in until
we shivered violently enough to go home.