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Archive for the ‘Work in the World’ Category

Blue Ridge Parkway

I read this poem on Barnstorming the other day and knew that I had to pass it along.  I adore the words of Robert Fulghum, but this seems particularly powerful for me lately as I have been thinking a lot about small town life and how powerful it can be to have a community that surrounds us and lifts us up regularly, often without even knowing it.

Without realizing it, we fill

important places in each others’ lives.
It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage,
the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers. Good people who are always “there,”
who can be relied upon in small,
important ways. People who teach us,
bless us, encourage us, support us,
uplift us in the dailiness of life.

We never tell them.
I don’t know why, but we don’t.

And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend on us,
watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know.

You may never have proof of your importance,
but you are more important than you think.
There are always those who couldn’t do without you.
The rub is that you don’t always know who.
~Robert Fulghum

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“Children’s book author Jarrett Krosoczka shares the origins of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, in which undercover school heroes serve lunch…and justice! His new project, School Lunch Hero Day, reveals how cafeteria lunch staff provide more than food, and illustrates how powerful a thank you can be.”

Precious

These precious little ones that I love headed to back to the classroom, and along with the classroom and friends they make there there will be lots more people who have an influence on their lives.

Having went to the same elementary school as they are my prayer is that as many people who cared about me will care about them.  I grew up knowing that the Principal knew my name, that I was welcomed to class with a huge hug, that the lunch ladies were always there to scoop up a smile in addition to the lunch fare.

This year I am committed to looking for the everyday heroes and making sure that I thank them, to remind them that their presence in my life matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are always themes that tend to emerge when I pay attention.

Right now it has been the significance of small kindnesses, the need, both physical and emotional of so many that is so evident at every turn,  AND the flipside, of the ability of all of us to meet those needs at various times and in various spaces and how so often when it is right it takes so little effort.  Also, this idea that I am called to meet those that I can, but also to trust that others will step in as well, and to learn to discern when, where and how to step in, to fix, to let things be, to release.

In paying attention I have been reminded of many things:

I have been reminded that not every problem is mine to solve,

I have been reminded that I have a lot more to give than I realize,

I have been reminded that kindness- no matter how large or small- can transform moments, individuals and lives,

I have been reminded of the power of presence,

I have been reminded of the gift of being present,

I have been reminded that I am much happier when I pay attention to where my joy, my love, my kindness overflows and giving from that space,

I have been reminded that I need to include myself in the grace and kindness I offer.

In this interview, Krista Tippett from On Being interviews Nadia Bolz-Weber: Seeing the Underside and Seeing God:  Tattoos, Tradition, and Grace .  Pastor Bolz-Weber talks about the idea that we are here to be a community to one another, that we are here to help carry the burdens for each other, and to offer grace.

“And so it’s like this thing like I don’t think faith is given in sufficient quantity to individuals necessarily. I think it’s given in sufficient quantity to communities. The same with that whole thing like God will not give you more than you can bear. I don’t think God will give you more than a community can bear. And we’ve individualized this thing of faith so much.”

And ever since hearing this interview I have had many things from it that I have been pondering and playing with.  One is how many times I have been taking on things that are not my own, letting the heaviness weigh me down and missing out on being present for those who are here in front of me who I am called to be there for.  I have been missing the grace that is present in so many ways.   And secondly, the freedom that is granted when we can rely on each other to help shoulder the burden.

Currently one of the families that I love and cherish is going through a difficult time, and seeing the community rally around them, seeing the love that is shared, the prayers that have been sent, the ways that they have been held has only reminded me that we are that community.  We are here to offer grace, to offer love, their burden is too much to carry alone, but together, together we will walk through it.

That word,

GRACE

has been showing up in my reading, my conversations, my thoughts and prayers a lot lately.

So I am paying attention.

Grace, the power of it, the spaciousness in it, the lightness of it.  It is something that has been fun to play with, to continue to ponder.

And so I ask you.  What have you been paying attention to lately?

 

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Welcome!

Sunset over Ocracoke Island, NC

Welcome to those who have found their way to my blog via my post in the Kind Kindred series at Kind Over Matter!  I am so glad you stopped by to visit.  There is so much wisdom and kindness in the sharing of the beautiful stories that Amanda has so lovingly collected and curated I am sure you will be touched by the space she has created in her little corner of the internet world.

Here is the link to my story about Kindness in the Smallest of Things.

If this is your first time visiting I thought I might help you find what you are looking for… 

If you are looking for an invitation to stay in touch please sign up on the right hand side to receive updates when I create new blog posts or new e-courses.

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Join me for a free 40 Day eCourse to help invite more silence into your life and to help create a “habit of silence”.

Silence as a spiritual practice is much more than being able to sit still without talking for thirty minutes or longer. Instead, silence is a quality of presence. The silence we search for is an overall state of being. It is not something we achieve with great effort, either, but something we uncover that is inside us. Somewhere at our core there is a reservoir of silence. . . . To return regularly to this depth, whether in cloistered silence or in line at the grocery, is called “a habit of silence.” It is not duration that is important, but the returning time after time to the source within us that, in time, shapes who we are.

Marv Hiles, in “The Way Through,” No. 37, Spring 2011
Friends of Silence Newsletter

If you are interested in learning more about life coaching and wondering what that might look like visit my Radiant Life Coaching link here.

Find out more about my book- the In-Between.

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Tonight I completed another thing on my life list. Getting my picture taken with one of my favorite authors!!

Brene Brown and I

I was blessed this evening to have a few moments with Brene Brown.  Long enough to dare greatly, stumble over my words about how powerful her work has been for me and for my adult self to try to remain cool, calm and collected while my inner 8th grader danced around and wanted to show her how cool I thought she was, how much I knew we could be BFF’s – if only she knew me :).

I gave her my book… and not for the reasons that people would probably assume.  I gave her my book because 2 years ago when I saw her speak I gave her a letter about how important her work was and how it truly changed my life and the way I looked at myself, at others, and most importantly it gave me language for who I wanted to be.  It was my very first “Brave Letter” and it was one of the first times that I did something where I was that brave and honestly didn’t care what the response was- because for me it was the act of stretching, it was the act of knowing that she knew was bravery was and she would receive it with love and compassion.  What she did with it was nothing personal, it was the act of me stretching that was the teaching for me.

And now two years later, thanks to employing my own vulnerability, to as Brene says- “calling deep on my courage” I have something to show for it.  And I gave her the book one because it was way outside my comfort zone, but it was also a part of me saying “look, you have placed your heart and soul in these books that you have shared with us, you have risked, you have been vulnerable, the least I can do is offer you a little piece of my heart as well.”  It was the quickest way to show her that YES your bravery has elicited a response… YES your bravery has started a domino effect… YES your work matters and your willingness to be in the arena, your willingness to show up inspired me to do the same.

It happened to correspond with Alana’s release of the Transformation Talk that she and I did a few weeks back.  And I wasn’t sure when it was going to go live so I had honestly forgotten about it.  And so here I am… in an interview where I am “in action” and don’t have a chance to think about it, to delete, only show my “best self”… but yet, when I watched it I watched it with kind eyes, with excitement and curiosity.

I am so excited to be a part of what amazing work Alana is offering to the world.  Her writing is simply beautiful, her willingness to be present, to share deeply and her authenticity shine through both in her words and through her interviews and in her work.  Powerful things happening in her little corner world!

So today I am going to live into Brene’s words from the Gifts of Imperfection:

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

And trust that I did just that today in a variety of ways.

 

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Brandi Carlile- Minnesota State Fair 2010
In 2010 I was lucky enough to get to see Brandi Carlile in concert at the State Fair and this was my picture from that evening with the blog post that it sparked:
You know like you do when you take a great picture, see great art, or hear a beautiful song. Every fiber of your being resonates with recognition and anticipation. You feel it all the way to your core leaving no room for doubt. When you come to the silent still places there is no objection, there is nothing but a resounding YES! from every fiber of your being.
Great art is like this, great writing, great friendships…
and great love should be too.
And last night I was blessed yet again to be able to see her live, this time at the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater.  When I had gotten home I was still savoring the electric energy from the concert and looked up a few videos to prolong the experience.  It was so much fun seeing everyone at the concert singing along with gusto, watching people dance and jump up and down when their favorite song comes on.   The intimacy that is created when people share their hearts is simply beautiful, when they share their gifts and the crowd is willing to receive the music- it electrifies everything and everyone.
One of the most amazing moments of the evening was Brandi sharing her experience of being a young and budding artist and the influence that Lillith Fair had on her and how important it is to nurture young talent, to give back.  She had asked for someone in the audience who was a huge fan, under the age of 20, and someone who played guitar.  I was assuming that she was going to offer the experience of being able to play with her and instead when the nervous young girl stood there on stage next to her she smiled and said, “It’s yours.” And this young 19 year old woman stood in stunned silence as Brandi placed her guitar around her neck.  The entire amphitheater stopped breathing for a moment to witness this act of generosity, of belief, and then exploded into clapping and whistling as it hit everyone that she was absolutely serious.
It reminded me we have a responsibility, an opportunity to offer what we have to one another, it may not be from a big stage, or something  of that magnitude, but we still can share that sense of belief, that joy, passing along the opportunity to develop.  This young woman’s life is now changed… perhaps she will be an artist, perhaps not, but without a doubt this will be a milestone in her life and she has an even better story to tell.  And isn’t that what we do, collect stories, collect moments and share them long beyond the experience.
These are the words that I shared with a friend last night after watching this video of her song Hard Way Home.
That has to be the best feeling, when you get done doing a song and you look around and that moment where everyone’s eyes meet and you know that that was the track that you are going to put on the album, that was the song played the way it was supposed to be played, that was the moment when there was this incredible alchemy and the energy of the room wove itself around and through the music, the instruments, the vocals and the hearts… 
 
That is why people play music… and that is why people go to see it… for that moment…
 
Sigh… 
 
That is why I love live music.  Seeing that moment in person… feeling the energy rise, seeing them lose themselves in time and space, watching the smiles leap from deep within… pretty amazing.

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I remember sitting in tears talking to a friend about something another had done wanting to know how they could be so hurtful, so cold, so insensitive, and she simply said softly: “Hurting people hurt.”

In some ways it reminds me of this poster:

Because no matter where you put the comma, the pause it is true… hurting people hurt… themselves, others and it can be really messy, and hard, and complicated.  And yet… taking responsibility for our hurts, for our places of pain can be one of the most courageous things we ever do.

What had started this whole thought was reading this beautiful quote from a wonderful book This I Know: Thoughts On Unravelling The Heart by Susannah Conway,  While I had read this quote recently and was touched by it in the reading, it showed up for me again in this interview by Brene Brown, and when things begin to show up time and time again I know that it means someone in my life (often me) needs to hear these words, to be reminded of this truth.  So as a part of my commitment to healing myself and the world I offer my thoughts, my musings, my questions, and the answers that as Rilke says “Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  Perhaps together we can live into this beautiful work of healing our hurts, living with integrity, holding one another gently when we fall from grace and to come to love ourselves and one another through it all.

“I believe that by being the best and most healed version of ourselves we can truly make a difference in the world. I’m not an activist or politician, and I’m not able to have any direct impact on the areas of the world where help is needed. But what I can do is make a difference in the small pocket of the world I call home.

I can live with integrity and be honest about my feelings, even when they hurt. I can put my whole heart into my work and pay forward the generosity that was shown to me when my world fell apart. I can look after myself, knowing that by healing my own hurts I won’t be passing them on to anyone else. In a society like ours, filled with so many emotionally wounded people acting out their pain, this is possibly the most important work we could ever do—heal our hurts so we don’t pass them on.”

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