You never know who you're going to hit when you skip stones across the waters of the universe.
Today I was fastidiously working on getting the next issue of PC ready for launch, when Deb Jarrett sent me this picture. As you can see, it shows His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama holding a calendar. But it's not just any random calendar. It is a Dharamsala Animal Rescue calendar.
Deb is the founder of DAR - an animal (and, by extension, human) welfare organization based in northern India - whose work will be featured in PC's upcoming Animal Issue. For $20, you can get your own copy of the calendar the Dalai Lama is holding, and mark your days knowing that you helped contribute to a worthy cause (if you don't believe me, just click here, and see what happens).
I've never met the Dalai Lama, or Deb, or Katie Lin - the multimedia journalist who contributed the piece on DAR for The Animal Issue, or Diantha Gowens - another Animal Issue contributor. My wife, Cecily put me in touch with Diantha, who put me in contact with Deb, who in turn put me in contact with Katie, and while we've never seen each other face to face, I feel strongly connected to each of them.
We've all heard of the idea of "six degrees of separation," that the distance between any two people in the world can be traversed by a maximum of six relationships that somehow exist between them. We've used Kevin Bacon's career to put this theory to the test at a thousand parties.
I don't think "separation" is the right word, though.
Sure, it's alliterative, but, as I've stated, I don't feel separated from the Dalai Lama - especially after having received this picture at the moment I received it. If we think of traveling through life as the act of treading water - of trudging knee deep in sand and surf, "like we ruled the waves," to quote Roddy Frame - then every act; each step, produces a ripple.
These ripples grow and bloom into a Venn diagram of overlapping movements; Deb Jarrett starts an NGO in Dharamsala. Katie Lin, who is visiting from Canada, is lured by the charm and good work DAR is doing. She takes out a camera and starts recording. Her videos find their way to me, arcing all the way from northern India to the North Shore of Massachusetts. And, just as I'm working these videos into the pages of an online magazine I edit, comes a picture of the Dalai Lama, holding a calendar in support of DAR.