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.

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