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Archive for October, 2011

Mitch and Daniel (one of my favorite pictures)

So these past few weeks with getting the books, starting the disseminating and sharing all of them has been amazing, powerful, overwhelming and lots of FUN!

People are sharing their stories of their response when they first read the book, letting me know their thoughts, letting me know they are proud of me for realizing a dream, telling me who they are going to get the book for and my personal favorite- I have been getting lots of great hugs!

A few of my favorite moments so far:

* At my celebration dinner after my first book signing our waiter turned to me and said softly “Wow, you are an author, that is amazing.  Do you know how amazing that is?  Can I touch it?”  And when I laughed and said, “Of course”, he took my creation, my baby in his hands with such reverence.  Here was this young man who didn’t even know me, but who wanted to celebrate, who wanted to share in a magical moment.

* Getting phone calls of people who are so touched by the book that they simply cry instead of speak, both of us knowing sometimes that words are simply inadequate.

* Seeing people’s smiles as they come up to give me a hug.

* Not being able to finish a meeting at the Coffee Shop because everyone was stopping by to say congratulations.

* Being able to have something in common with so many that is positive.

For so long after Mitch died it seemed that there was this immense outpouring of love and compassion, but the empty space was still there and the love that was given simply echoed in the emptiness.  People were coming by to give hugs, love and support, yet there was an air of sadness and a heaviness that was so pervasive.  With this it is so different.  It is a celebration of a dream reached, there is a lightness, a sense of hope, there is an electricity that is contagious.

A warning to those of you who are stepping forward in bravery- chasing down and achieving dreams is addictive!  The way this book became a reality was by setting little goals that ultimately led to this goal of holding my book in my hands.  And since I am still riding high on completing that one I want to set another goal.  I know the best way to achieve a goal is by telling people about it, people that can hold you accountable, people that can help you achieve it.  So here it is, what I haven’t even allowed myself to voice out loud yet.

By August 7th of 2012 I want to have sold 10,000 books. 

2 reasons:

A large part of who I am is because I am a Minnesotan and as everyone knows Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  Thus 10,000 seems like a fitting number.

August 7th of 2007 is the day we lost Mitch, and I know to the depths of my toes that he would have been my biggest cheerleader in this effort.

One of his favorite songs was Imagine by John Lennon, and it seems fitting to set a lofty goal in his honor.  Mitchell was a dreamer, a large heart in a lanky body that loved hard and lived fast.  He would approve of me doing something that scared me, that stepped me out of my comfort zone.  He was constantly pushing the limits of life, in true boy fashion he was drawn to anything that had wheels and could go faster than your mother would approve of and he was forever encouraging me to stop caring so much what others thought.  “Erica- just live your life the way you want to.”  So this is what I want, and I am going to drive fast and stop asking questions that get in the way of achieving dreams.

Another lesson I have learned along the way, you don’t always have to know the how, you just have to have the desire.   I have found when it is right for me, when it is in service to the greater good, to my purpose here on earth it just unfolds.  As long as I continue to show up, work hard and listen to that little voice of love that I hold inside my heart things work out and the next step appears.

I also know that in living out the question I will get my answers.

So how will I get to 10,000?  I have a feeling that will be where the magic happens, where hard work on my part meets Divine inspiration and perfect placement.  Where by releasing my best work into the world it will find it’s own way on it’s merits and a little help from my friends. Already it has begun to do what I have hoped from the beginning… after people get it, they read it and realize, oh wow, this applies to my mom, my friend, my sister, my aunt… because the truth of the matter is that there are so many times we are in the In-Between… healing, learning, loving, hurting, falling, rising, and growing… and this speaks to that place.

So if you are willing to help out please share this post, this book, this blog, this Facebook page.

And if you want to find out more about the book go here.

 

And if you have read it, if you have shared it with  others I would love to hear your responses, your thoughts… by far that has been the best part of releasing this dream into the world… hearing how it has touched others.  Leave your comments down below, or on the Facebook page, or by e-mail- compassioninallthings at gmail.com

Thank you for filling me up with your love, my heart is full to overflowing.

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Leaves and Light

All too often when we are in the midst of deep pain we stop.

We stop breathing, we stop hoping, we stop wishing, wanting… the only thing it feels that won’t stop are the tears and the darkness that surrounds us.

And yet, there is a piece of us that always, even in the midst of the darkest night stretches out for that light, for that hope, for that deep breath. But at times that peace and certainty of a new tomorrow feels so far away.

When we are in the mist of chaos and pain our focus narrows, it becomes laser-like focusing only on the pain and darkness.  We feel like this moment is the only moment that exists… and when we are knee deep in blessings, full of laughter and surrounded by joy we want to swim in it, we don’t ever want it to end… and there are the other times… these moments when we stop.  We contract, we don’t allow anything in or out and the pain stretches out beyond what we can see.

It is those times we need to be reminded:

This isn’t the end of the story.

Often this is a new beginning, but it is important to honor the ending.

This pain won’t be this intense forever.

This hurt won’t last.

We will keep breathing, our hearts will keep beating.

It takes a skillful hand and heart to allow us to feel deeply the hurt, the pain, but yet hold this awareness.  In those times we are desperate to hear those words- “it will get better,” “it won’t always be like this,” “just give it time”- … but not at the expense of belittling where we are… it is a delicate balance… this place of accepting where you are, and knowing you won’t be there forever.  This balance of honoring the pain, the past, and stepping into a new future.

Nature does this so skillfully reminding us that we are constantly changing, unfolding, becoming, expanding and contracting.

This why I wrote the In-Between.

To be that voice, to help navigate the delicate balance between accepting where you are and knowing that this isn’t the end of your story.

Because this isn’t the end of your story.

 

 

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I was saddened to hear of the passing of Steve Jobs today… but I have also been moved as Facebook has lit up with people sharing quotes, pictures and memories.  And it just solidifies what I already knew, but needed to be reminded of.  People respond to passion, they respond to integrity, to quality, to leadership, to intellect, to kindness, to hope, to love.

People who have found their passion and live it out on a day to day basis shine- and his light shines brightly, even now in the midst of a dark night.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

~ Steve Jobs

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~ Steve Jobs

Mr. Jobs- Thank you for changing the world.

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I Dare You

The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign is a collaborative effort of hundreds of bloggers coming together to write about The Girl Effect on October 4th, 2011.

“The Girl Effect is a movement. It’s social change in action.  It’s about the unique and indisputable potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.”

I chose to be one of the bloggers because I believe that we can help girls change the world.

I choose to support the Girl Effect because of these words “for themselves”… all to often when we want to “do good” in the world we swoop in, and try to fix things before asking the people what the problem is.

I remember hearing about a well-meaning effort of lots of wonderful people who had collected thousands of dollars for malaria nets, and they diligently held bake sales, provided car washes and collected for months to purchase these nets.  When the aid workers got the nets they handed them out, and a young volunteer, fresh out of college, out to save the world, went to the small village to see how their group had ended malaria and bring back her stories to help motivate the community to invest in more nets.  Instead she found that they were using the nets to fish because the people of the village were dying from hunger and the malnutrition put them at even higher risk for dying of malaria.

Good intentions, but they hadn’t stopped to get the wisdom of the villagers before they had jumped in to solve the problem.

But now, with this new knowledge, this community is providing training for everyone- for the local village person to work with the volunteer who works with the people back in her community- to help create lasting, meaningful change.

Now they are working to help end poverty, end malaria and to provide hope.

Having spent 15 years as a Social Worker I know better than to think one movement, one focus, one effort will save the world.  But I also believe that people want to do good things, I believe that most people want to effect change in the world, I believe in the goodness of people, in the purity of their intention.

I believe that there is still hope.

I believe that our good acts, our faith, our kindness, our hope strings together a safety net that keeps people from drowning in fear, in isolation, in poverty, in desperation.

I believe that little actions make a difference.

I believe in the power of people coming together.

It struck me in the video that “When an educated girl earns an income she invests 90% of it into her family, compared to 35% for a boy.  Yet 99.4% of international aid money is not directed to her.”  This is why I believe in microfinance, allowing people that historically haven’t been given the chance to mold their own future.  I have witnessed with my own eyes what happens when you give people opportunity, when you invest in someone’s dream, when you say “you matter, I see you, you mean something to me- even if I don’t know you, I believe in you.”

My friends and I have been getting together for the past few years once every few weeks to have brunch, to catch up on each others lives, support one another and share in all of the ups and downs of our lives.  For the past year we have been talking about how we could do something more meaningful than sit around with our mimosa and bemoan the woes of the world, we wanted to do something.  So we decided that every time we get together we will all chip in an extra $5 that we will then turn around and invest it in another woman who needs our support.  And thus the Ladies Who Brunch was born.

Recently we invested in Raquel on Kiva.org (and if you aren’t familiar with Kiva go check it out!)

Our loan of $25 isn’t going to change the world, but it did just change Raquel’s world, and when she repays it it will change another, and in the meantime we will find another person to invest in and the ripple effect continues… much like the Girl Effect.

Invest in girls and the whole world changes.

When I feel overwhelmed by an issue, wondering where to even begin I always think of one of my favorite quotes from Mr. Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

If anyone wants to join the Girl Effect blogging campaign, or to read other people’s posts click here to be amazed, inspired and touched by all of the helpers, and bear witness to the good that is happening in the world.

Spread the word. 

Change a life.

I dare you.

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