If you can say yes to this interruption, listen to this surprising story of a goat lady, nine goats, and a pair of open-hearted moms.
Women walk and talk, simultaneously satisfying our needs for exercising and socializing. I have weekly walk/talk dates on my calendar; it’s my favorite way to connect one on one. My spirited friend, Maggie, often collects neighbors to join her, and always creates savory stories, on her hikes through Oak Park. Her curious mind and open heart are always rewarded with sweet surprises, deep connection in unexpected places. Here’s what happened this week.
“Do you have time for a detour?” her walking companion teased. Maggie, being adventurous, cheered “YES!” They followed their noses down alleys to find “the goat lady,” a woman shining her bright light on the dark streets of Austin. Their sense of smell does not lie - there are nine goats living in this lady’s garage. Of the 2,360 shootings in Chicago since 1/1/15, 205 of them have taken place in this zipcode. (http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/shootings/)
“Do you have 20 minutes?” Carolyn, aka “the goat lady” greets her unsuspecting visitors. “SURE!” our dynamic duo replies, and they are immediately handed the reigns to help Carolyn escort her nine goats to their grazing space a few blocks away. Along the way, they notice people taking pictures, and how cordially Carolyn greets everyone she meets, especially “Mister Mister,” a man in a wheelchair, who reminds her she forgot to grab the day old flowers from Whole Foods this morning, which he usually rescues for a retirement center close by. Carolyn rescues food that would be discarded for her goats every day from the grocery store. Best I can tell, she’s rescuing more than spoiled food and wilted flowers.
As they walk, the goat lady proudly explains that her neighborhood used to be known for its “drive by shootings.” Since the four-legged residents moved into her garage, there are new drive by shootings, she says, pointing to a person taking a photo of them. Perhaps this is why the state rep, who lives right next door, does not report her noxious neighbors. The streets have been lightened by this goat lady and her goats. Creating community continues to be an antidote to crime.
Stories of problems abound when we sit and stare at our screens. Turn on the news and you can see VW in trouble, Kim Davis making up crazy crapp, and a Wild West-like shooting spree. Relying on the media for reality, the world sure seems dark. Listening to stories of solutions, such as Maggie really showing up in her neighborhood, warms my soul and inspires me. A funny thing happens when we become our own reporters, take to the streets, and choose to make our own sense of reality. Solutions abound!
We hold the solutions to the world’s problems. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They are not hiding behind closed doors or on our devices — solutions walk on our streets, where we meet each other. We need only see, say YES!, and share solutions. We are our own best hope.
When Maggie shared this story in Circle this week, we all came alive, got curious, compassionate and committed to discovering our own stories of solutions. The world is changing with or without us. Are we part of the same old news of what’s not working OR are we co-creating new news? Before winter restricts our walking/talking, take to the streets. Do you have 20 minutes? Do you have time for a detour?
What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words...
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being.