I got to meet one of my heroes this weekend. Okay, my HUGEST hero. There is one book that sits on my nightstand year after year as a constant fixture. While other books flow in and out, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen remains. It’s like my blankie. I often pick it up and open it at random, reading whatever story finds me in that moment, and it’s always just the right one. I think it’s called bibliomancy and traditionally done with the Bible, but I do it with Rachel’s books. I cry every time I read the introduction to the book.
One of the reasons it pays to share your Mondo Beyondo list is that others go to work on your dreams on your behalf. They write to you and say things like, “I know the director of that program you have been wanting to apply for!” Or, “you want to learn spanish? I know this really hot Spaniard who wants to practice his English.” 😉 You know, stuff like that.
This time, it was my pal Juli who emailed me and said, “I remember that meeting Rachel Naomi Remen is on your Mondo Beyondo list. Can I gift you a pass to her workshop at Spirit Rock in May?”
Years ago, a friend told me a story about how finally, after years of wanting to meet Neil Young, he finally got the opportunity. He was given tickets to his show in Los Angeles and backstage passes. His dream was going to come true! The evening of the concert however, his back went out and he couldn’t go. He called me the next day and admitted he felt relieved. He said he even wondered if he somehow conjured up the injury so he wouldn’t have to go. There was something about meeting his hero that was terrifying to him. Neil Young might never be the same to him again.
And it’s true. You never know what you will find. Your fantasy of who that person is might be dashed. You might discover that in person they are no big deal. Just a person. You might find they are not nice or don’t look you in the eyes. You might realize that they matter to you but you don’t really matter to them (after all, they don’t even know you) You might discover they are much smaller in person where in your mind they loomed so large.
I remembered all of this as I walked toward the retreat center that morning. I saw her up on the stage and I realized that the author photo I had been staring at all these years was from ten years earlier. She had aged into a beautiful, but much older woman than I had realized. When she spoke, the first thing she said was, “I am very soft spoken, so I hope you all can hear me in the back of the room.” I expected her voice to be deeper, louder and more commanding. But she commanded the room with her quiet and her wisdom. She commanded with her presence, which was so powerful, and even in the way she moved slowly… She didn’t say a lot, but everything she said was like a precious gem.
As you can probably tell, I wasn’t disappointed. But then came the moment of truth. Should I say hello? Should I tell her that I want to have tea with her? Why didn’t I bring a book for her to sign? Is it dorky to want a photo with her?
I gathered my courage and she greeted me and held my hand while I nervously told her that her stories give me courage to share my own. I told her the thing about her book being my blankie and she laughed graciously.
When I think of Mondo Beyondo dreams, I often ask myself what the dream is that lives inside that dream. Often they are like nesting dolls, one sitting inside the other, each one waiting to be revealed. There is the dream of meeting Rachel, which is perfect as it is, and then there are other dreams that live inside– to be mentored by someone who resonates that deeply with me, to hear and share sacred stories that transform you forever and to write a book as beautiful as the one sitting on my nightstand.
*There is still room in the current Mondo Beyondo session if you’d like to join us. You can also still take advantage of our 2 for 1 special. It’s going to be a REALLY good session. I feel it.