As I always hold aside ONE seat per event for a special guest, I assured her this would be fine.
Upon their arrival, I quickly found Eileen to be a delightful little lady with playful eyes.
As the evening progressed and attendees began to answer my various questions digging into happy pasts, we discovered that Eileen had lived in Hawaii and actually surfed Waimea Bay in her younger years!
Later she lived in Hollywood, working among celebrities and enjoying the California sunshine.
She smiled as she shared this.
After I asked her if she still had friends there, she said yes, and that it had been too long since her last visit.
I suggested she call her favorite friend the next day, and ask that person to take a picture of the front of her house and send to to Eileen, so that she’d be able to practice her BIG BIG smile for when she arrived.
Eileen smiled her BIG BIG smile as she continued.
“Matter of fact, that friend is an Oscar winner!”
We all began smiling BIG BIG smiles.
This particular friend, according to Eileen, was so low-key about her success that she did not install spotlights, candles and glass cases to showcase her well-earned Oscar statue.
It sat among the shrubs and flowers of her garden.
While some Hollywood stars flaunt and over-celebrate themselves, this person chose to place her Oscar in the back yard among her peaceful flowers.
Eileen then burst into a great laugh.
“I can remember my last visit there. I was floating lazily in the pool and all of a sudden my friend’s dog trotted over to the Oscar statue, lifted his leg and peed all over it!”
As our jaws hit the floor, we gasped over this most egregious act of sacrilege, a canine conspiracy!
As it turned out, this was not an earth-shattering debacle. Eileen’s friend nonchalantly explained that this was part of daily life for Oscar.
You see, it was just a statue.
The ‘real’ treasure was the love she had for her work, the friendships she had forged, and great moments in her heart’s memory (especially the one just created).
As she finished her story, we all realized Eileen had just taught us all an important lesson.
Receiving awards doesn’t make you any extra special or important. Living a well-enjoyed life, filled with love and laughter shared with family and friends (and the world) is where it’s at.
At that point in the event, we began assembly of our Vision Boards.
After sharing her story with us, Eileen sprang to the stack of magazines, pulling brightly colored pictures from the pages for her board.
Several days later my friend called to give me an excited update.
Eileen, she said, had chatted happily all the way home that night, in sharp contrast to their earlier to the event, which had been more subdued.
She then provided some back-story for me: Eileen is in her early 60s, has battled cancer three times, and only days earlier had endured the passing of one of her best friends.
She had also lost her ability to dream, and was feeling lost and uninspired in the world.
I was speechless. I am humbled.
Eileen, thank YOU for the lessons, love and excitement you brought to our lives that evening. I may have been leading the seminar discussion, but you were right up there with me teaching…and you will be with me every time I take the stage, forever.
Much love, happiness and well-wishes to you for your health.
I cannot wait until we meet again so that I can once again feel the sunshine of your BIG BIG smile.
Namaste, my friend!!