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.
Hopefully, in about a month, The Animal Issue will come flying at you off the top rope, complete with a new entry from me called, "My Panda Problem." In the meantime, you can read a story from The Detroit News on why those pansies at the World Wrestling Federation changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment by clicking HERE. Also, if you think the image above would look really cool on a t-shirt, you're in luck. The Ann Arbor Tee Shirt Company agrees. Get the shirt HERE, and follow Ann Arbor tees on Twitter @annarbortees, and on Facebook.
The Animal Issue will most likely arrive just in time for the Holidays. In the meantime, I thought it wise to keep the channels open by adding a blog page to Prodigal's Chair. Without any predictable frequency you will see entries relating to the current or upcoming issue of PC arrive here. It may be a small entry just barely bigger than a tweet. Or, it could be something a little more substantial that requires you find a place to sit and something to sip. There may be links, sounds, graphics. Or there may be videos like this one:
For obvious reasons, I wanted to work this song into The Love Issue. In many ways, this whole project is about letting go and sending love out into the world. I found Stars back in 2004, just as it was becoming clear to me that my first marriage was beyond saving. Stars sang what I was feeling, then: "when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire." I took those words and worked at becoming a phoenix. I'm not sure that I succeeded; but now, ten years later, their new record reminds me that No One Is Lost. You can find out more about Stars and their music at youarestars.com. Follow them on Twitter @youarestars.