Today I honor the memory of Doris Adams, a beloved member of the Global Chant community who died less than two weeks ago. This seems like a fitting time to commemorate the passing of this extraordinary woman because today is also Gandhi Jayanti, the celebration of the birth and life of Mohandes K. Gandhi.
Like Gandhi, Doris had an indomitable spirit. For nearly a decade, she was a mainstay at our chant circles, beaming with joy while playing her favorite tambourine. Some weeks, she would attend two or three chant circles, always driving herself until health issues forced her to sell off her car. After that, she somehow managed to find a ride most weeks. People would happily pick up Doris because our gatherings never felt quite complete without her there.
We met Doris in Sacramento while touring in support of my first book, The Chanter’s Guide. I had been invited to give a guest sermon at the local Unity church. In that sermon, I mentioned that I was from Tucson. After the service, Doris approached us and said that she too was from Tucson and happened to be in Sacramento caring for her ailing aunt. She had never been to this church before, but on that particular morning, she woke up with a strong intuition that she needed to be there. After jumping in the shower, she raced to the church and made it just in time for my sermon.
Upon her return to Tucson, Doris became a regular at our weekly circles. Like Gandhi, Doris was tiny yet potent. Her joyous smile rarely left her face. Every week, she would thank me for having started Global Chant and tell me how much the group meant to her. When I would go to greet and hug her, I almost always felt like I was in the presence of a great soul—a true Mahatma.
The picture you see here was taken at a full-moon chant circle that took place on August 18, 2016—the last time I saw Doris at one of our events. Because of failing health, she had moved into a nursing facility. That evening, we went and got her. Another elder in our community--our dear friend Roy—came as well. Neither one had been in attendance for months. So, we all knew what a special night it was. You can see the genuine delight on my face as I stood directly behind Doris. And I was far from alone.
Doris lived through much more adversity than most people will ever face. Yet, you would never know by being in her presence. Her love and joy were infectious. I rarely heard her complain about anything, and her strong will allowed her to overcome virtually every challenge. Like Gandhi, Doris was compassionate, devoted to serving others, and fiercely independent. I consider myself extremely blessed to have had her in my life.
Here is a link to a video of one of her favorite chants: “Sing ‘til the Spirit of the Lord Come Down.” In the video, Doris is seated third from the left in the back row. Per her request, this chant will be performed at her memorial service this Saturday, October 6, Johrei Center (3919 River Road, Tucson), 2 pm. Hope to see you there!
I want to hear from you! Please share your questions and comments. And sign up for my newsletter, where I will pass along the insights, ideas, and inspiration that come my way.