Role Models, and Friends.



My thoughts have been wandering a lot lately. Perhaps it’s due to the busyness – planning Earth Day, juggling school and barn, etc – but maybe it’s just me. I’ve realized more than ever the importance of having people I look up to, and people I care about in my life. It seems really small, and really normal, but I’ve come in the past few days to really appreciate the people in my life, and those not in my life but who play a role none the less.

The picture above is of one of my favorite people in the world – Shakuntala Devi. I found out about Shakuntala Devi through her obituary, as ominous and slightly sad as that seems. It was one of the articles my dad pulled out of The New York Times one Sunday morning and put on my desk. The Human Calculator. Shakuntala. An incredible brain (she’s taking the 23rd root of a 201-digit number above – in her head), an incredible giver. One of my favorite people. Granted, not alive anymore, but I return to her magnificent accomplishments and wisdom because her stories never cease to amaze me.

I was looking up TED Talks for an activism project (more to come!) when I stumbled across Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk on the TED home page and stopped myself to see it. I was thinking about her yesterday, incidentally. After taking Nathan’s Zen and Activism workshop, , I was thinking about spirituality. And the first experience with personal spirituality I had was as an eleven-year-old girl reading Eat, Pray, LoveEPL was the first contact I had with spirituality that was even comprehensible to me, an eleven-year-old growing up without any real religion or spiritual feeling at home. My dad, part Buddhist, would meditate sometimes, but I’d unknowingly grown up as an Atheist, with little idea of anything else. As much as Gilbert may hate Eat, Pray, Love, the book changed my spiritual life, and probably for the better. My tattered copy is sitting on my bookshelf at the end of my bed as I write this.

I’m definitely thankful for my friends. The one who I spent an hour and a half talking with yesterday, both of us ranting, her crying, my listening. The friends I can turn to, upset, tired, angry, and they will be there. They will listen to me. I will listen to them. I’m thankful for these people, the ones who I didn’t know I would have, embarking on adventures.

Who do you turn to with philosophical questions? Because I went to that person last night too. I was leaning on one of my favorite people for temporary, ponderable answers to big philosophical questions (what’s the place of superiority in active love?). I realized that I can’t make to-do lists of big questions in the first place, and I was grateful for the quiet and the non-answers (since there are no answers at all).

I suppose this post came off as some weird ode to people I’m appreciative of right now, my teachers and friends and long-distance inspiration as some of them. As crazy as things are right now, I’ll write a little and try to sort things out.

Oh, and I milked a cow this morning, have already drunk two cups of tea, and need to read a 1500+ page climate change document. Things happen.



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