Night of the Notables Reflection

Hard to put this into words.

First, a school day of intense stress. Block 1, 2, 3, 4… they all felt the same. Me tuning out the teacher because inwardly I was shrieking at the top of my lungs OHHHHHHHHH GOOOODNEEEESSSS IT’S TONIGHT I WONDER IF I COULD JUST DITCH MY LEARNING CENTER…

You get the point.

Then, in the prep time before dinner, it felt like the calm before the storm. I was surprisingly tranquil in this period. I felt as if I was floating –no matter what happens after this, you are done- and I was already set up, so I got to use the time to help out the people around me and preview their learning centers.

This was an incredibly idiotic idea.

I was so ashamed of my learning center after seeing everyone else’s, especially the grade 10’s. I hated that I wasn’t creative or surprising or fun in my learning center. Instead of a nice prep time, that revelation turned my thoughts back inward where flames of disappointment were roaring skyward. But I did my best to ignore it,and just kept working. A great distraction soon arose in the form of – dinner!

Dinner was delicious, and I tip my incredibly awesome metaphorical hat to the food crew. You guys did a great job. Pasta was a great choice, there were options for vegetarians, it was well organized… well done.

After dinner, I had a few more minutes to despair that no one would visit, and then the night began. Speeches were up first.

And they were incredibly. Grade 10’s, y’all were amazing. I saw a lot of wide eyes in the audience. I think it was a good choice overall to do the speeches at the beginning, as later that evening everyone just seemed more engaged.

After the fabulous speeches, we moved to the learning center portion of the evening. At first, no one visited me. I was between three excellent grade 10 learning centers, and everyone was trying to complete the game.

However, about 15 minutes in, this nice old lady came by. She saw the title of my poster board, which said ‘Live with Compassion’, and she asked “So what does it mean to live with compassion?”

I should have expected that question honestly, as it was the title of my center, but I was completely and utterly thrown by that. A bunch of thoughts whizzed through my head, and for a second I was afraid I was going to answer ‘I don’t know.’ But instead, I told her that living with compassion is something that is different for everyone, and for me it is about valuing happiness for myself and others. After that, we had this amazing conversation that I am still shocked I had. We talked about western societal patterns, and personal happiness, and how people in their community can actually build a peaceful culture. As we spoke, a little crowd formed around my table, and for much of the night I had a good 8 or 9 people listening and contributing to this great back-and-forth about the Dalai Lama’s beliefs. A few TALONS alumni came by to ask me rapid fire questions and tried to make me uncomfortable (thanks you guys!), and although they partially succeeded, I was just feeling good and I just kept talking.

Overall it was just a great night. Yeah. That about sums it up.

Annotated Biblography

No commentary on this one, folks.

Kindness, Clarity and Insight – The fourteenth Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso 

Google Books Link

This was an interesting read, as it was not about the Dalai Lama at all, instead painting a picture of what it takes to live happily and build a culture of peace. I recommend this book, because of it’s short length (230 pages) and the insight that it offers into the Dalai Lama’s perspective. If you are impersonating him, it’s invaluable. 8/10.

The Path to Freedom – His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Google Books Link

Great book, as it is a collection of two of his works. Part one focuses on his childhood, and later exile, and part two focuses on his hopes for the future. Part one was my main area of focus, but part two was very inspirational. Quite a bit longer than his previous book, at 500 pages, but definitely worth the read. 8/10.

The 14th Dalai Lama, A Manga Biography – Tetsu Saiwai

Google Books Link

This book was fabulous. It was the first thing I read, and it took me about ten minutes to read. It condensed all the important dates, facts, and people into this tiny book that was very entertaining. Perfect introduction book. 150 pages, all illustrated. 9/10.

Vancouver Dialogues, Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education

The Talks can be found here

Fun, short read, and very inspiring, but not useful for this project. This book is the Dalai Lama speaking to topics such as world peace, seeking compassion, etc. This book talks little about the Dalai Lama himself, and what he has done, and far more about where we can go for the future. 6/10.

The Story of Tibet, Conversations with the Dalai Lama – Thomas Laird

Google Books Link

This book caps out and 450 pages. It is a series of interview from the Dalai Lama to Thomas Laird about the culture, spirituality, and traditions of Tibet. This is not the book that will help you with this project. After reading it, I had a more thorough understanding of Tibet. Which is great. That is not what I was looking for. 4/10.

The Official Dalai Lama Website

I used this website a lot. The biography is not very extensive, but it has loads of great pictures. Of his exile, meeting world leaders, giving talks to schools all over the world… the pictures on this website are incredibly numerous. 9/10.


Library Blog Post

Hi. It’s been a while.

I often wonder: what is the motivation for procrastinating? I think to myself, maybe, if I put things off, then they won’t be my best, so if something isn’t good I can always say “I can do better.” If this is true, then a reason you may find it hard to be organized is simply that you are not comfortable enough/happy enough with who you are. Really, everything in life seems to return to those simple questions. Who am I? Am I good enough for me? Will I ever be good enough for me? When I ask myself these questions, the answer seems to vary.

But that’s okay. I’ll worry about those questions later…

So, the Library trip. I took notes during the event, so I will try my best to explain what it was to me.

Part one: the skytrain

  • Rushing, always rushing to get to the train
  • An uncomfortable realization that I should have brought a camera
  • It was a very peaceful ride, for the most part

Part two: the book store

  • Unbridled awe. How anyone can fit that many books into a store that small is beyond me. And we didn’t even get to see the basement!
  • Frustration. The sorting system was not always helpful, and the owner was in great demand for help.
  • Extreme joy upon finding books on the Dalai Lama.
  • Surprise, when I realized that half of those books were written by the Dalai Lama.
  • Upon leaving the store, I was very satisfied. The books I bought there were my main resource for the Eminent Person project, so I consider that store to have been the probably the most helpful resource for the project.

Part three: lunch

  • The moment of silence before lunch was quite nice. As I sat there, wrapped in my blanket, I had an interesting personal realization. Consider yourself, fourteen years old. What have you accomplished? What have you done that you thought you could never do? Because when the Dalai Lama was fourteen years old, he was getting pressured into taking the political, and spiritual leadership of Tibet so that he could defend his country. For me, that moment solidified my desire to study this man.
  • As always, Flying Wedge has delicious pizza. The soup, on the other hand… one could liken it’s appeal to the screeching wail of a banshee. I do not endorse that particular part of their menu.

Part four: the library

  • I have gone to the Vancouver Library many times before. Every time, I leave with a armful of books. This time, however, I already had an armful of books from the store, and so I did not end up taking out any books. So I was feeling quite disappointed with… myself? The library? I’m not sure.
  • Appreciation is always in my heart when I am in the library.
  • Near the end of our time there, I left myself fifteen minutes to go get bubble tea. Upon paying, Fiona, Eric and I waited for our drinks for fifteen minutes. Then we had to go, without our drinks. That left me feeling a little annoyed.

Part five: the skytrain home

  • Rushing. Sometimes walking, sometimes running, always rushing to get to the train.
  • Peaceful reflection, except that this time around the train was rather crowded. Much jostling and bumping around occured.

Overall, the trip was wonderful. This trip is one that I whole-heartedly recommend to all those that do Eminent Person. I found myself walking away with far more than I thought I would.