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.
Is it too late to be pared up with an MB buddy??
Happy to pair you up Trish!
I love this story. When you publish your book, I’ll go to your reading and be the nervous audience member!
Maybe next time for Mondo Beyondo — I’ll put it on my MB list — momentarily moolah-less. Have fun! 🙂
This is the third time I’ve heard Spirit Rock mentioned in a month. I had never heard of it before. Hmmm…I think someone is putting it on my list for me.
Aww, this post gave me chills. So happy you saw her, then met her, and weren’t disappointed.
What a wonderful story!!! I can relate so much because I’m also attached to Rachel Remen’s books. I love her wisdom and her beautiful storytelling. I never would have thought to put something like meeting Rachel Remen on my MB list! Thanks for the inspiration!
Interesting story – my husband and i were visiting his old university town on a road trip and strangely ran into one of his really good friends there, who now also lives somewhere else. We ate breakfast together, excited by this chance meeting and then after our conversations she told me she had a book she wanted to give me. It was Rachel’s other book, Kitchen Table Wisdom. She said the book just fell upon her and was the type of book that needed to be passed on. It was an amazing read!! So full of truths. The way it all happened was strange, like I was meant to read the book. Now to find out one of my hugest heroes for years before i had the book, you, also loves her wisdom makes all even more interesting to me. hmmm.
oh, me,me,me! I want in on Mondo Beyondo! Can I still be buddied up?
I read kitchen table wisdom and it was pure magic. I didn’t know about this one, I am going out and buying it today! she’s one of my hero’s as well.
wow. that kind of describes how i feel about meeting you. i know that might sound silly and also intimate, but i do know someday i will get to hug you in person and thank you for the way your presence in my life has moved it in many ways and i know i’ll be nervous but happy too.
you and ben have been part of my mondo list from the start (and now i can add nico, man, that kid, i need to hug that little one someday too).
so glad to be in mondo again, i am finding the timing is just right. xo a
I love the dream behind the dream, the doll inside the doll.
May all your dreams come true.
ps. If I write ‘tea with Andrea’ on my MB list… will it come true one day? 🙂
is it too late to be buddied up?
I think it is finally my time… Are you still accepting buddies for Mondo Beyondo?!?!
No worries, if not.
what a great story, lovie! your meeting her (and any future heroes) doesn’t surprise me in the least.
thanks for the book recommendation – I ordered it, and it is on it’s way!
beautiful! I love that one of your MB dreams came true. Oh man I want to join MB again! But – I shall wait….in the middle of moving into a house. A house that far exceeds what I dreamed for!
Love that you’ve met a hero. When I was in the same room with Maya Angelou, I was in Heaven!
wait… I enrolled yesterday… what exactly is an MB buddy? I need to be paired?
honestly, you and Jen are on my list…. if you ever come to England you will have to come and visit and I can be embarassingly dorky and get my photo taken with you chaps. Just realised how much Mondo Beyondo has affected my world…. Its not that I never did those dream lists, cos I did, but it was the connections and the entry into the world that Mondo Beyondo introduced me to. I just went on an art retreat. I am studying to be a yoga teacher. Its like the sharing of it makes you want to make it real more. I have made the effort to do things in a way I might not have, just to ‘tick it off my list!’ some things happened by magic too. And somethings are yet to pass. Its just a good thing to do. xxx see ya!!
I just picked up a copy of My Grandfather’s Blessings….Thank you for always recommending such wonderful books. (I am also reading Awakening Joy.)
I’m celebrating your dream come true- how wonderful!
This makes me think of a favorite scene in “Tangled” where Rapunzel is terrified of her dream coming true. What if it’s not what she dreamed? Or worse, what if it *is*?
The post you wrote is really nice.
The post you wrote is really nice.