I was so excited to get to San Francisco that I ran two marathons in two days. An added bonus was that I was able to actually run as my knee hasn’t been hurting! I had to detour unfortunately (cops kicked me off a bridge) through Napa. Even though that added 7 miles to my run, it didn’t damper my spirits, and I used the somewhat more circuitous to stop by a local Starbucks. 🙂 Once there, I met Maj and Miriam. Maj was a kind man from Tunisia who’s thoughts on peace, compassion, and aiding those in need were saintly. Not only did he believe and speak, I saw him act out his beliefs. It is the most magical experience to not only be beholden to anothers kindness, but to get to watch it played out before you. Miriam who manages the Starbucks, loaded me up with bars, nuts, and a free hot coffee cup for my travels. The two of them could not have been more kind. Serendipity as always that the course I was given was the one that put me in touch with the kindest of people. Love is really everywhere.

Coming into SF it was rather surreal. I was hit with the enormity of the task that I have already accomplished. 1,200 miles in 2.5 months. And even though I (by the grace of the universe) have put my foot to the road, it seemed a little overwhelming. What I didn’t anticipate however was how easily I teetered upon old mindsets. Although I have lived for the last 4 months as the Peace Artist, I have lived 38 years as someone who was selfish, un-peaceful, and self centered. The environment was so familiar, I slipped a couple of times into old mindsets, reactions, and responses.

But, it is different now. Even though I slipped back into “justified anger” for a moment, I realized I am only responsible for my own actions. Regardless of my “expectations” I deserve and can command nothing. How I react is solely on my shoulders and I choose peace, I choose love, and I choose compassion. So often we get bent out of shape with “righteous indignation” because we have a predetermined mindset of what we deserve. However encountering all things and events as merely a moment or an impetus to love others is so much more rewarding.

The Dalai Lama talked once of meeting with some Buddhist monks that were imprisoned, tortured, and severely treated in Chinese prisons for 19 years. What impressed him the most in his conversation with them was their compassion throughout the ordeal. The monks said, “We almost lost compassion for our captors, we didn’t but we almost did. Although they mistreated, tortured and killed some of our number, we never lost compassion for them.” Who am I to do less?