In my life, I truly have been fortunate to meet a majority of people I admire. Call it luck, assertiveness, or law of attraction, but it happens. Generally there isn’t a doubt or surprise when this happens to me. This is my life. My parents used to tell me I was the luckiest girl in the world, and somehow I believed it. The interesting thing when I meet these people is there is so much I want to say to them of my years of admiration and how they impacted me. But what comes out of my mouth is not what I envisioned. It’s not as eloquent or as memorable, it just is. Lately I will give a positive quote to them to thank them for their impact on me, take a selfie, and that’s it.
I used to feel that meeting someone I admired would be a life changing moment. Because I felt so much high excitement, I expected them to feel the same way too.
The older I get the more I realize how valuable our time and energy is. As I watch other fans approach these celebrities, authors, or chefs I watch in admiration. These fans will remember this one particular moment forever, and there may be over 100 fans trying to have one moment with the celebrity within a span of twenty minutes. To be present, gracious, and friendly is a selfless act, and for each celebrity I met who acted this way I truly thank you.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting both Tony Robbins and Jack Kornfield both at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. Jack is a well known Buddhist psychologist, who helped bring mindfulness to the West. He is co-founder of two retreat centers in America including Insight Meditation Center and Spirit Rock, and author of numerous books. I briefly was able to chat with him after his one hour lecture, and asked for a selfie. He cautiously walked me to the side to take the selfie, so a line wouldn’t begin forming. I told him of the work I do, and he was appreciative of hearing the impact of trying to bring mindfulness, yoga, and therapy to our service members overseas.
Then there was Tony Robbins. The last time I saw him was at one of his events Unleash the Power Within, with over 10,000 attendees. It was a 4 day event and insane to see the impact he had in this room of over 10,000 people in London making them dance, meditate, scream, and walk on fire. He was mesmerizing and untouchable. The fact that I was able to get front row at yesterday’s workshop was so phenomenal, as I know how difficult it is to get within his atmosphere. After his three hour talk (he had gone one hour over), he actually talked with fans. It was more than people requesting pictures, but people telling him their life stories, the difficulties they had undergone. People momentarily were connecting with him. It was as if they wanted to be healed, have a coaching session, or to just briefly be seen by this superhero. Although it was minimal time he spent with each person, he was able to zoom in, lock their gaze, and hear their story. It reminded me of when people go to visit Amma, the hugging saint. They share their tears, hoping their pain will be lifted away, or a miracle will happen.
As he listened to some of their tribulations, Tony began to offer some people free entrance to one of his upcoming events. It was amazing. I was in awe, but when I was with him I didn’t want to offer a sob story. I just wanted to thank him for his influence on my life. It may not be memorable, but I don’t want to ask more of someone who already gives so much. I then began to compare my experience to that of others, why didn’t he hug or kiss me on the head, or give me free entrance? To simply meet him was phenomenal, why ruin it for wanting more, or wishing to grasp another person’s experience? It reminded me of a quote that Tony said in his talk earlier that night:
“Trade your expectations for appreciation, and your whole life will change.”
I went to my hotel room after the conference, an acquaintance I met five years ago in my yoga training class reached out to me on Facebook about what an inspiration I was. We haven’t spoken in five years, but she wanted to thank me for sharing my travel adventures online and how she was moved by a “successful woman like me.” Hearing this from her truly landed on me that evening. She saw that I was living my dream life, offered appreciation, and stated it encouraged her to take action in her life.
I was grateful of so much that evening. I was appreciative of this acquaintance offering her positive thoughts towards me. I was also filled with gratitude to be at a conference filled with so many psychologists and authors that I have listened to for years. I am living the dream, and perhaps am the luckiest girl in the world. The experience of hearing and meeting both Jack and Tony, will stay with me, and definitely filter onto those I work and share my life with. Inspiration is contagious. I observe these celebrities with admiration. They have the lives that most of us strive and dream for. We hope by momentarily being in their presence, some of their luck or talent will rub off on us. It’s amazing to be surrounded by greatness. Although in meeting them you realize they are only human beings, it reminds you of the possibilities that life has to offer.
Greatness doesn’t just happen in the worlds of superheroes, giants, and gods. It can happen within us. The beauty of being in the presence a cultural “superhero”, is that you see they are mere mortals who have achieved phenomenal success. All is possible.
It reminds me of the Joseph Campbell quote , “You are the hero of your own story.” Be your own superhero, and in doing this sometimes we end up saving others.
Just as kindness and hatred are contagious, so is amazing feats of gratitude, strength, bravery, and accomplishments. If you have the chance to meet your superheroes, I encourage you to do it. It doesn’t matter if you fumble with your words or make a fool of yourself in your introduction. This meeting of a superhero will shake your reality, and perhaps you can see that is possible for you have the potential to join the ranks of being a superhero too.
Originally published at itonlytakesasmile.com