I think a lot about goals, dreams and intentions. I like to incorporate a good healthy balance of all of them when I plot and plan my future. I always like to be working towards something, it drives me and gives me purpose. Just as important as all the concrete life planning and goal setting is the idea behind writing a Bucket List. EVERYONE should have a few experiences in life that they hope to have and EVERYONE should write them down. So, what do YOU want to do before you “kick the bucket”? 

Part of being a positive thinker and living life on The Brightest Side is believing that you can accomplish the goals you set. Your thoughts are powerful, choose them carefully.

Creating a Bucket List is only useful if you authentically believe that you can start making check marks. As for me, I have always admired the wisdom and kindness of The Dalai Lama. Even before becoming a Yoga Instructor, the Buddhist mindset always made sense to me. Being in the actual presence of his Holiness was a long time dream and it felt beyond magical to check it off my Bucket List. 

On the day the Dalai Lama made his visit to Boulder, Co, I drove up early to take a walk by the river to put some space between my chaotic day and this experience. I parked about a mile away to force myself to breathe and move before and after his talk. I knew it was up to me to make this experience peaceful, memorable and meaningful. We create our own reality, it’s up to me to make the most of times like this. 

Here is what I absorbed from my experience…

His talk was rooted in community, education, kindness, and compassion. A compassionate mind means you can have peace. Humanity should have a goal to be more compassionate, for others and for yourself. We don't want to duplicate the same miserable century again. Fear is born from hate and anger and no real sense of compassion, so we need to change the way we educate the next generation so that we can raise more compassion hearts. He believes education is the key to a more compassionate world. And we don’t just need a little bit of kindness and compassion, we need a lot of it. We need years and years of a changed perspective achieved through a shift in our education system. He strongly believes that an educated, scientific mind mixed with common sense and loving kindness will lead to more compassionate people. 

It’s true that our current education system is not producing a happy community. The Dalai Lama believes that our best hope is major change. Current education is failing to do it. Inner peace means teaching our children true loving kindness. How do you raise kids with compassion while practicing the Buddhist theory of unattachment? You study the contradiction. You teach the next generation that common interests between all people are more important than individual needs, but at the same time, self love is vital. You have to care about yourself AND others, your interests and theirs. We have to learn to change our perception of “we” and “they” on a community level, but education systems have some responsibility for this change as well. In our current educational environment, technology is inhibiting our ability for deeper compassion. It’s our responsibility to help our children understand and shape their world to be better than the one we live in today. We have to guide them, talk to them, share what we’ve learned and gently suggest ways to make positive change. Gently, with compassion and good intention, showing them what we mean is the way to make positive change. 

One of the greatest obstacles to living a peaceful life is fear.

The Dalai Lama teaches us that there are two kinds of fear: “Mad dog fear” where you should take some precaution of the difficulty you’ve come upon because it truly exists in reality and right in front of you. If a force of nature is staring you down and there is danger, fear is our instinct and can serve you well. The other kind is the “fear of death” which is going to happen anyway. We fear the things we cannot control and it effects our thoughts and lives. Lots of the fear we experience is not based in reality and it would be better for us to let it go and not try to control the outcome. We are the creators of our own fear, so we can’t ask anyone but ourselves about fear. We have to learn how to solve it, but first we have to know what kind of fear we are dealing with. Educate the next generation about this distinction and you are arming them with a valuable tool to live a more peaceful life. 

“Your compassion is your best advisor, protector and friend, and that advisor is inside yourself. You are your own master. Now take what I said and do something useful. You all must create a happier world for me to come back to in my next life.” - Dalai Lama Boulder Colorado June, 2016

My lesson I take from this experience is that being happy is important. “Just in this life, be more happy” he told us. When asked if he has achieved ultimate happiness by a young audience member, his answer was “My way of thinking makes my happy face. You can also have a happy face and then share it with others”. 

The goal of all humans should be a compassionate world. How can we look into the eyes of the next generation and hope for anything less? The Dalai Lama lives on The Brightest Side, and so should we all.