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Sotomayer: Value of Dreams to Aspire, Measure of Success What We Do Today

September 30, 2015


In her book My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayer says that,

“Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of the their becoming true.

Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire.

That will, wherever it finally leads, does at least move you forward. And after a time you may recognize that the proper measure of success is not how much you’ve closed the distance to some far-off goal but the quality of what you’ve done today.”


Today my students and I will take to the field again — this time, to Ventura’s Color Garden located near City Hall on Poli Street near Chestnut and Fir, then we will walk up behind City Hall to the Botanical Garden.

In both places, they will learn about dreams, old and recent, and they will discuss dreams: dreams of a world without naturimages-1e deficit disorder, of Nowtopias full of community gardens and bicycle kitchens —

and you are invited.

Invited also are guest speakers and local luminaries in these areas of dreaming big and achieving dreams.

At about 215pm and again at about 515pm at the former site of Shepherd’s Gardens, now Color Garden, we will hear the story of Theodosia Burr Shepherd, “the Flower Wizard of California ” from her daughter Myrtle Shepherd  Francis.  A suffragette credited with starting the seed business in California among other accolades, Theodosia Burr Shepherd was seen as a woman far ahead of her times.


And during our hike up the hill, we will talk about our own dreams — what problems we want to solve through our own actions, how we can compare and contrast to understand the world better.

It is my intent that on these field trips,  by seeing these dreams in our community coming to life, to stir the will to aspire. Not just in my students today… but on into the future rippling out and having an impact far beyond what we might think possible. But it starts with today and the quality of what we do each day.

Detail of silk thangka above by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo one of the only westerners trained in this rare Buddhist art His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessings to Leslie’s work and encouraged her to make images that speak to the spiritual aspirations of people across religions and cultures. Her fascinating story is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film, Creating Buddhas: the Making and Meaning of Fabric Thangkas. Leslie mentors a select group of students around the world through her Stitching Buddhas Virtual Apprentice Program, and her Weekly Wake-ups provide a thread of inspiration. 

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