Tag Archive for: inner strength

(trigger warning) We’ve been here before, right on the precipice of the very end of times with such global volatility. People and children are dying as we speak. Only 12 days ago, Ukrainian citizens were at home, warm with their families and now many have had to flee and thousands of lives lost. With our nuclear capability and valid threats from dangerous world powers, at any moment, all life as we know it on this planet could cease, conceivably, even by 5pm tonight. We are indeed at 100 seconds to midnight. The Indian Vedas call this the Kali Yuga, the era of destruction and grave loss of life. It is the culmination of longstanding acts of human greed, unkindness, conflict, abuse of the vulnerable, hatred, division and living out of balance with the earth’s natural resources. We all know very well, that we have arrived in this dark time in human civilization, but what can we do?


Since we may or may not have much time left, I’d like to reveal a secret or two. About three years ago I was working in state politics and even going to Washington D.C. and trying to be an activist as Trump had come into power, and many were living in constant fear and trauma. He was aligning with powerful, authoritarian dictators like Putin and North Korea, and this all seemed so dangerous. How can I take vows to be a help to our world and only escape into the opiation of my religion? I was disheartened that more of my friends didn’t get involved. I would go back and forth from meditation retreat to recharge and then back to the front line, hobnobbing with change-makers, activists and even some world leaders.

During that time, it was about a year before covid hit, I was here practicing in my meditation retreat house in southern Colorado. I was praying to the lineage of enlightened masters and Buddhas, our ancestral, collective wisdom. You could call it our collective unconscious, source, inner wisdom, insight, higher self, akashic, this body of wisdom has many names. Sometimes, I ask for advice, it’s not really praying to anyone theistically outside of me that exists like a god or spirits, it’s more of non-dual supplication to access inner wisdom and clear seeing. I was here for about a month meditating about 8 to 10 hours a day. We’re not really supposed to reveal anything happens on retreat but I will share this little snippet because it seems relevant.

I was asking the imagined lineage of enlightened masters (Guru Rinpoche) what I should do with my life to help our hurting world, and if I should continue to work as a political activist. I had applied to work for a progressive Senator in D.C., and had thoughts about running for office in Southern Colorado, etc. Then strangely enough, a whole entire piece of information came into my mind and I imagined that it was from this collective wisdom of the enlightened Buddhas. We had a conversation, if you will.

It was a bit foreboding, but I will share what they said- they said to me “Dawn we have something to tell you.” With a slight pause I listened to the information and more came. They said- in your lifetime you’re going to experience tremendous global upheaval and loss of life. They said- we want you to prepare now for these darker times. They said for me that I must stop being addicted to social media and wasting my life on “virtue signaling” and time wasting attention seeking, collecting endless “likes” on Facebook and Instagram and rather firmly CUT that addiction and recommit to my meditation practice.


They said- “We want you to practice for a full two hours in the morning two hours in the evening, and that will give you about four hours of practice a day. They said- if you meditate and implement the powerful practices that we’ve imparted to you, you will develop an inner fortitude to be able to withstand these darker times. I asked is there anything I can do, I would offer my entire life to help our world, I’ll go to Washington D.C., I’ll put myself in front of world powers as a peacemaker; I’ll do anything, what can we all do to stop the momentum of this darkness?” Right now, we are now helping with what we can, e.g. I’m giving money to Save The Children, Doctors without Borders, we are writing letters to our reps and encouraging big companies and banks to sanction Russia. What else?

The “inner wisdom” as I recall, replied: “Unfortunately the dark forces have been gleaning power globally for a very long time now and there’s not a whole lot that people can do to completely stop the momentum of this karmic unfolding.” They advised, you as a private citizen can do some small things to lessen the harm, but in general, we just have to let most of it run its course. However, what ‘we’ can offer to you, if you do these meditation practices as we have suggested, you can get through this time without any fear.”

Right now, I have the safety and privilege to meditate, but even that could change, and quickly. No nation, no one is safe from being touched by this. It will not help for me to only read the news and internet feed all day, and panic, being overcome by hopelessness and fear. We can’t practice if debilitated and destabilized, nor can we take any social action. Now is the time to develop inner strength and fearlessness in the face of the darkest days. This is the ultimate protection.


I often think of the quintessential heroic journey like Frodo from Lord of the Rings. He lived in such dark times, and his quest was to bravely retain his own goodness, heart, faith and inner light, even at the seeming end of times, even as he had to venture into the very molten front-lines of destruction. We truly don’t know how much time we have, ever. I have a good friend who used to live here in my mountain town, and just fell down with a seizure last week and is now on life support. He’s my age. Next week, another variant of Covid, may come into our population and restart the pandemic. If the global powers and Russian citizens and their military don’t put a stop to this bloodshed, midnight might be… tonite.

Stay strong, calm, clear, loving and grounded dear friends, now is the time to have accomplishment. Forgive yourself for all mistakes, all harm you did, all hearts you hurt, and completely forgive those that hurt you. I forgive everyone, including myself. The past two years were so hard for me and many of us: Trump, covid, such loss of life, economic challenges, constant fires even in my town and incessant natural disasters, an insurrection, my heart was utterly broken again and again by friends and family and sangha I loved and trusted. I lost the outer constuct of my religion because of dated theocracy, deluded spiritual codependency, and abuse to students and children. It’s been samsara on steroids. Welcome… we have indeed entered the Kaliyuga.

With that said, every moment is new, and in a instant, we can wipe all karma clear in our mind and heart, and be in the warmth of our love and human goodness. This is our nature, our birthright that can be cultivated and can never be taken from us, even with our last breath. The inner light always, always shines even in the darkest of times. Love to you all, always, no matter how many seconds we have left.


A candle for Ukraine, a candle for us all. May we find our inner light in times of such darkness.


Photo by Cup of Couple from Pexels
Photo by Oyster Haus from Pexels

BOULDER, CO – June 23: U.S. Representative Jared Polis gets scarves placed over his shoulders by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Eight Verses of the Mind event at the Coors Events Center June 23, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

I just wanted to share this little moment of inspiration that became one of my most treasured repositories of strength. I was working for a congressman who wanted to leave his congressional seat and run for governor. This was Jared Polis, I worked for him two times, once for his reelection campaign as an incumbent in 2016, and then when he wanted to become the governor of Colorado.

I got started volunteering actively for the Democratic Party because of him a number of years ago. The Dalai Lama was teaching in Denver and Jared was asked to introduce him. Jared offered him a white offering scarf called a khata and bowed beautifully. Jared talked so much about peace and social action, and said that to have the privilege of meeting the Dalai Lama and speaking was one of the most treasured of his career. There had been a recent gruesome school shooting the very night before and he was going to leave from the event to go to DC, to protest gun laws on the house floor to do some type of sit in. I was more moved by these words, and they stayed with me, even in light of hearing His Holiness, as I felt a burning, strong desire to fulfill our vows to help the world like Jared was doing. I was ready to follow him to DC and protest right along with him and it turned out, that at that moment, I began to do just that.

After a child massacre, as a mother of a young teenage daughter, the only child I have, you have a particular grief and desire to protect them from any harm. The love is so strong that, indeed hell hath no fury. I cried and I was so appreciative of his civic duty. Jared, a native Boulderite, a person that was inspired by our Buddhist tradition and yet completely utterly fearlessly engaged with our world. He was trying was to make social change to benefit our lives, in a world that was becoming darker, more violent and broken. Jared grew up with wealth and privilege and I always felt that his heart and motivation was in the right place, he had integrity and could be trusted.

Since I was 12, I had been involved with some type of activism. I went to a New England boarding school, and during summers, worked for Greenpeace and Ralph Nader’s PIRG. I worked on a couple of democratic campaigns and my mother worked for the United Nations in New York. She worked for UNICEF, and helped to bring awareness to the global exploitation of young girls who had no human rights: child brides, sexual and physical abuse, and often sold, trafficked and had no voice. Our family wasn’t wealthy or privileged, but I had some interesting exposure to some changemakers, ethics and progressive ideas. My family imparted to me, a lot of political and social awareness, mostly concerns about our environment and clean energy. As soon as I heard Jared say that he was going to go and do a sit-in help our children, at that moment I knew I wanted to work even harder as an activist in my civic duty and social engagement. He became one of my role models of compassion and efficacy, and I am inspired by him and forever grateful.

Congressman Jared Polis and Dawn Boiani at NoLabels Conference 2017

So this brings me to the small story. His gubernatorial bid was very very close. He was running against a very powerful, cheerful and progressive female candidate who was really loved, who won most delegates at our statewide caucuses and who was our previous Colorado State Treasurer. I had the privilege of speaking for Jared on his behalf at our caucus and county assembly and was elected to be a state delegate for him. However he was in the minority, and we were all so sad and disappointed that it didn’t seem like he’d have any chance. I, at that point was working as a legislative intern for the Colorado State Capitol for very progressive, green energy senator. The word around the capitol concurred that Jared had absolutely no chance of winning a purple state with a lot of gun advocates, conservative Christians and people would not approve of his sexual preference. Jared is very publicly gay, being married, in a long term relationship with a man and they have two children. Jared is the kindest of parents and he is devoted to his children and a listening, compassionate friend to everyone he meets. However, for those that were working in state politics, we were very worried about political backlash and losing the state to his republican opponent Walker Stapleton.

These amazing, benevolent people I’ve met in public service now in Colorado and DC, some of them are so fearless, they work to help our world tirelessly and there’s no sense of selfishness. I think politicians can go one way or the other, they can do it as some type of self-aggrandizement for money, power and control and then there are others that really truly work tirelessly and make personal sacrifices to benefit our world. Jared is undoubtedly, one of those people in the latter.

So, Jared was giving this talk in Boulder and there was a kind of quiet unspoken solemnness around the community of his supporters. We felt from the caucus results where he barely made the ballot, and other controversial things about his energy policy, that he didn’t really have that strong of a chance to win. Even with him being powerful, with name recognition and money, to try to go up against some who have closed minds in our state, to consider a gay gentleman in Colorado, seemed like an untenable task. So I remember one day, he’s at a fundraising event and standing up on a deck and he looks out to us and with great sincerity says:


“I’m going to try
I might fail but
I’m guaranteed to fail
if I don’t try.”
Jared Polis


Ever since he said that, this quote and aspiration completely struck my heart and has forever stayed with me. Sometimes, something might happen to you where all odds are against you, everyone dissuades you and all you have left is your own internal voice of strength and knowing the truth of what your heart is telling you to do. Sure, we can give up, feel powerless and take the easy path of escapism, putting our hands up and not believing in our ability to manifest something, it happens to us all the time.

But maybe once or twice in this life, if something pulls you so strongly that you can’t ignore your heart screaming out to what you would like to create. You have to go beyond your fear, beyond what you ever thought your limitations were and at least try. Sure we might fall, we might fail, we might get hurt, we might get crushed but we’re guaranteed to fail if we don’t listen to our heart and at least try. Thank you Jared for that moment of intense wisdom and strength and I live by it now.

May we all manifest fully, visualize a better world and potential in the future, and create the absolute best lives that we’re capable of. I think we must listen and follow our heart’s call no matter who says it’s impossible or who dissuades you, or how many seeming obstacles and naysayers. It would be amazing to find this voice of deep knowing and sometimes you’re the only one that really has your back and sees what you could be!

Jared did win our governorship and he’s done an amazing job in this difficult time and we’re so grateful to him. I know he had a good support system and powerful mom behind him that told him no matter his sexual preference he could burst through whatever social limitations that society and our time  and culture put upon him. He’s a groundbreaker; maybe if we all similarly follow the truth in our hearts, we can be that too. Thank you Jared for your faith in yourself, in me, the privilege to volunteer on campaigns for you, your leadership in our nation and state, and may your work and heart inspire us all.


Image: https://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/23/dalai-lama-boulder-visit/