In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who has attained enlightenment but continues on the Earth to help the rest of us. The Dalai Lama is considered a bodhisattva.
Bodexpress – the trending racehorse who shucked off his jockey, John A. Velazquez, Saturday in the Preakness Stakes, then ran the race riderless and more before finally being corralled – offered his own brand of enlightenment. For viewers who didn’t know a pasture from a paddock, Bode became a social media sensation, a symbol of liberation for all the oppressed or just plain disenchanted. Here are some of the lessons we gleaned from Bode’s run:
- Let it go and let go. How many times have you heard someone say, “Why don’t you get off my back?” Or “So-and-so comes with too much baggage.” Sometimes, we have to cut the dead weight to move on with our lives. It may be as simple as getting rid of clothing that no longer fits or as profound as ending a career or relationship. It may be wrenching. (Fortunately, Velazquez wasn’t hurt, which is what made Bode’s run so enjoyable.) But when we make the decision to let go, we’re suddenly free.
- Run your own race. Bodexpress ran with the pack but not in it. Had he chosen to mix it up with the other horses with no jockey aboard, that might’ve been a disaster. But he stayed clear of the field while running alongside it. One of the toughest things to learn in life is how to be an individual and yet remain part of a group and when one takes precedence over the other. Like horses, we’re social animals. And our ability to herd, as when we join together for a volunteer project, is vital. But sometimes, we have to step back, as when we’re writing this, and work alone at our own pace.
- Stay in the game. Bodexpress kept running even when the race was over, until he was finally caught by an outrider. You can’t rest on your laurels. Yes, everyone needs time to reflect and savor, to recharge for future endeavors. But life and victory belong to those who are all in for the long haul. “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart,” or so a wise fortune cookie once said. There will be moments of disappointment and heartache. Bode was slapped with a DNF, a “did not finish,” because he didn’t have a jockey aboard. But he proved the importance of staying in the race.
– Georgette Gouveia