Have you ever been told “You care too much!” or “Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve!” or “You’re too emotional!”? From an early age, I was warned that my overly emotive self would be a hindrance to the practice of law. Not having a smile on your face at the dinner table could result in being sent to bed with no dinner. For much of my life, I pursued the world of the mind, studying hard, thinking a lot but rarely feeling the depth of any emotion. My superpower—caring deeply—was sent into hibernation. When she occasionally awoke, she roared fiercely. My kids even asked me once if I could not love them so much!
One night in law school, while interning with a lawyer who litigated “bad baby” cases, I found myself worrying about the baby, the mother, the doctor. Thinking that my “caring too much” would interfere with my success as a lawyer, I quickly changed course—to a less heartfelt, more transactional practice. Without my heart in the game, however, it was a job not a calling and I soon lost interest. Years later, becoming a mother opened up a whole new world of undeniable emotions and still does even now as I send them off into the world.
These days, I frequently meet activists who share stories of being told to “dial it down” by (male) lawmakers and corporate leaders. And yet these times evoke huge emotions. I sit in Circle with women overwhelmed by our world in crisis, many of us just beginning to feel and give voice to emotions not easily held and often banished in childhood: hate, anger, outrage. I listen with compassion as my purpose guiding client unpacks trauma from her youth, learning how to feel what she was told so long ago not to. Ours is a crisis of care. If there is a silver lining to the chaos of the trauma we are living through, it is witnessing people act on what they care deeply for, people expressing their care in the streets, on signs, in donations and contributions of all kinds. The power of our CARING is what we need most.
A few Sundays ago, I was visiting my parents in Cincinnati. As we walked up the steps for Palm Sunday mass, Kim approached us with a warm smiling welcome and a copy of Streetvibes. “My poem is on page 13!” she shared excitedly. I opened to that page and invited her to read us her poem aloud. Here it is:
No One Asked
No one asked
How are you today?
No one asked
Because no one cared
Maybe because everyone is too busy
Someone went home today
Feeling sad and empty
No one asked
No one cared
Sometimes no one should have to ask
When was the last time you asked someone
could you help them?
It’s so sad when no one cares enough to ask!
Kim Green, Streetvibes Distributor & Contributing Writer, Cincinnati Ohio
What followed was a caring conversation between two strangers, interrupted by frequent hugs. We shared out hearts on our sleeves. I shared with Kim the synchronicity of what I had just written about the power of CARE that morning in my journal (you just read it). We agreed on the need for more CARE and expressed it to each other in that moment. She invited me to their brand new spoken word night at the library and to be a contributing writer.
We have been socially conditioned to think, but not to feel. Taught that our emotions are dangerous, we have overly developed our minds and forgotten the capacity of our hearts, where we hold compassion, fierce love, deep sadness, humor and gratitude. I have a strong sense that our capacity to CARE is precisely what we need more of now. When I look out into the world and see people making a difference, they are clearly driven by what they care most strongly about. I notice when I have the most energy and focus, it is doing work I care deeply about.
Who or what do you care for deeply? How would I be able to tell? Let’s be the beloved community who discovers together what we care about and risks expressing that care, wearing it openly and visibly on the sleeves with which we embrace each other. I think it all begins by asking each other how we are feeling and taking the time to listen to their answer.
“Simple conversations that originate deep in our caring give birth to powerful actions that change lives and restore hope in the future. There is no power equal to a community discovering what it cares about. When we are brave enough to risk a conversation, we have the change to rediscover what it means to be human. In conversation, we practice good human behaviors, We think, we laugh, we cry, we tell stories of our day. We become visible to one another. We gain insights and new understandings. And as we stay in conversation, we may discover that we want to be activists in our world. We get interested in what we can do to change things. Conversation wakes us up! Conversation helps us reclaim those very human capacities and experiences. Meaningful conversations can change the world! ”
— Margaret Wheatley in Turning to One Another
Ever wonder: “What’s the difference between me and an Olympic athlete?” Watching 17-year-old snowboarder, Red Gerard, win the first US gold-medal winner of the 2018 Games, I did. It’s actually quite simple: our dreams differ dramatically—and he has a whole lot of focus and drive energizing his dream. We all have dreams. Do you remember your first dream? What did you believe was possible when you were younger, not so tired and less corrupted by cultural expectations? In impossible times such as these, our dreams are even more critical.
PyeongChang, "land of prosperity" in Korean, is located 50 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone—the longest militarized border in the world—that separates North and South Korea. Home to several Buddhist temples, PyeongChang is located in one of the least developed provinces in South Korea: Gangwon, in the Taebaek Mountains region. Honestly, I’d never heard of it before Friday night. Within minutes of tuning into the Opening Ceremony, my heart was in my throat with this introduction:
“Go back in time to an age of miracles.
No matter the country, city or town they came from,
remember this more than anything else:
the dreams all began the same way …
and the stories have all taken them to the same place….
to a country seemingly impossible to transform.
But for these two weeks—maybe, just maybe--
this is the perfect place to get you believing again.
Always start with the dream….
that’s how the best in the world get to be that way.
Everyone who wants to can dream.…
Welcome to 18 days and nights of dreams
that have become some of the best stories you’ll ever hear.…
Believe in what can happen when people
refuse to forget who they once wanted to be….
When people have faith in the idea of what can be.
When people come together for a little bit of hope,
some thrill and a whole lot of fun…
It’s what was written in your soul—so go live it… follow your dreams…
You don’t want to be at the finish line saying,
“I could have done more!” …. Welcome to what dreams look like.”
(excerpted from NBC’s intro to opening of PyeongChang 2018)
Those words, those stories, that call to action, awakened something very precious and pressing inside of me. I dream of a world where we are all our best selves, becoming the beloved community together. In a sense, there’s not much standing between me and the 2,952 athletes competing in the land of prosperity considered a war zone until it was reimagined and built into an Olympic Village.
Instead of sitting there just watching—projecting heroic feats on athletes—what would happen if right now, we each stepped into our own story and activated our own dream? While we cheer on our fellow earthlings, let’s join them. Would you? Revive the biggest wondering your child-self imagined…and begin fertilizing it with focus, desire and drive. Before soon, you’ll be living into the biggest story your soul can imagine. What if all 8,000,000,000 humans on the planet created Olympic-sized stories from their own dreams —what would the world be like then? Let’s find out together.
An image of a tsunami-sized wave has been appearing in my consciousness over the past year. Some days it feels like a drowning downturn of sadness and overwhelm eager to swallow me up. Yesterday it felt like a powerful uplifting swell as it embodied us to gather and march the streets of Chicago. Even more people, even more energy, even more of the Beloved Community was on display than in 2017. Last year the theme was Wake Up; this year it was Stay Woke. This morning I woke up, intentionally replaying the felt sense of yesterday’s movement so that I can hold onto and expand it for days to come.
You’ve seen pictures, heard stories or made your own if you marched. Because this experience is so extraordinary, I want to try to paint the picture of the tsunami-sized energy of the collective as we gathered. From my perspective, here’s what happens. For weeks before, we prepare—physically (gathering chapstick, hand warmers, water, snacks and mass transit cards) and also soulfully. It takes quite a bit of reflection to dig deep and choose the one issue that is most deserving of being presented for all the world to see. And the competition is fierce. The creativity on display is unlike anything I’ve witnessed before: Each handmade beautiful sign reflecting the unique, passionate perspective of her creator. What matters most in this moment? What one thing would change everything? Especially at a time when there are so many issues; “too many for one poster board” as some reflected. This year, I chose #metoo, quoting the end of Oprah’s recent Golden Globes’ speech: “Take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, “Me, too" again!” I imagine what a world would be like where men weren’t repeatedly wounding women.
The next step is to decide who to go with, as this is a collective, community-enriching event. It would be hard to just show up as an individual. I love to cast a wide open invitation and allow myself to be surprised by who says YES! I am lucky to live in a community of wonderful women whose YES comes with so much fabulous fun!! Physical needs, poster and peeps prepared, now it’s time to maneuver the masses to discover where to stand. I prefer a sunny spot on the edge of the crowd, where I can see and hear the speakers and also make an exit as needed. We each have our own preferences. Together we come to a consensus and choose our place. The numbers of really young and really old people who come out impress me!
The atmosphere is unique at the Women’s March. People are festive and focused, elated and overwhelmed after a year of activism, individually expressing themselves and eager to chant in unison and move together. We begin to breathe together, to become co-conspirators in this world-changing work. Group mind takes over instantly as we become a WE. An amazing openhearted generosity is displayed through sharing of space, snacks and stories. People literally hand you oranges, wipes, and hugs. There are no strangers here. I imagine this is what it was like to witness the miracle of the loaves and the fishes—realizing that there is enough for everyone. There is no judgment here, no arguing, no debates, only openhearted curiosity and inclusion. We are hungry to capture the experience with photos and new friends. I always learn about another perspective in this space. I meet people who don’t look like me and together we stand under an enormously inclusive and wide-open umbrella of care and concern. WE become ONE.
There is no other place or time when I stop people I don’t know and ask to take pictures of them with their signs, capturing others’ unique perspectives, here equally as valuable as my own. Curious to learn why each other came, our views and values are diverse and deep, we connect. Together we uplift and celebrate all the flavors of being human, except hate and fear are not present here. Prayers and poems and songs and speeches shared, now we march. This, too, is an experience we do not do on an ordinary weekday: today, we flow into the streets, without knowing where we are going or who is leading us, not worrying about traffic or texting, unafraid of the unknown human being walking so close you can feel their breath. We chant, we cheer, raising signs and voices, connecting in an experience beyond the limits of labels, time, space or everyday concerns. And then out of nowhere, a loud, loving “WOO WAVE" suddenly washes over us and I can’t tell whether my feet are even touching the street below. I am carried by the crowd.
There is no shopping only sharing, no conflict only caring. There are people of all sizes, ages, shapes and experiences in this crowd of 300,000+ caring human beings dreaming into a better tomorrow. The helicopters and drones circling overhead see us to count us as individuals, but they have no idea about what we share that moves among us: a wave of heartful humanness I want to find a way to expand into every moment. I deeply desire that these moments become a movement of tsunami proportion so that LOVE trumps the HATE that risks deeply dividing us into isolated, lonely, fearful, self-concerned individuals who forget that THIS is what it is to be human. We are an integral part of a vast web intimately interconnected.
The TRUTH has been turned upside down since the hurricane hit our White House. The TRUTH is in the movement of the MARCH...when we come together to create the Beloved Community. WE are the people to make this dream a reality. WE can become this more often than these few moments. NOW is our time.
January 6 was the Epiphany (meaning “manifestation”), the feast of Three Wise Men, when gifts were brought to baby Jesus. Was it really just the wise men? Gold, frankincense and myrrh? Yeah, I love essential oils, sure, and also words…. look at that word “MAN” tucked right inside of Manifestation. Manifestation means an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, literally “to make public.” I can’t help but think of the challenge we as women often have, as most of our work in the world is not obvious, goes unmeasured, a lot of it, invisible. (Need proof? Add up all the hours you volunteered, cooked meals, chauffeured kids, cleaned, called politicians, shopped, house-made, supported loved ones, took care of elders and babysat kids, etc.... Most of this is women's work still and none of it is in the GDP. Imagine if we did none of it in 2018 unless it was measured or somehow valued?) This also brings to mind recent Circle discussions pondering whether women have more trouble manifesting their visions (making the unseen visible), while men seem to “just do it.” What do you think?
The other night, we had an interesting family discussion about “herstory" versus history—stories told from a female point of view. I remember when I first realized that nearly everything I had ever been taught was funneled through the lens and voice of white men. On the moving sidewalk of life, I swallowed that fact—no questions asked—for every 22 years of my education. I now know that reliably rich experiences in my life occur when my perspective is shifted. Honestly, the first time it happened, I was quite unsettled; at 52, I welcome the discomfort and even accept the attending embarrassment. I enjoy humorous flips such as this being posted on FB today:
What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men? They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts. NO DOUBT!
Women absolutely see the world and respond to it much differently than men do. And a new view I can’t not see is this: Women do it in spite of carrying deep wounds. Consider what the #metoo movement has revealed. There are so few of us (NOT A SINGLE ONE of my friends!) who have not been sexually assaulted or outright violently abused. We are a planet riddled with PTSD, wounded women and more. I wonder: What we would be up to without experiencing all this damn wounding? In spite of horrific hurt, women are creating and caring and collaborating and carrying on… It's truly awesome if you think about it. What’s more, I am increasingly curious about the connection between a woman’s woundedness and her giftedness. So often I see the two intertwined, co-created around the same incident. That’s incredible!
Living in an era of constant crisis, terrible trauma and unlimited possibility, I believe that women’s giftedness is precisely what is needed NOW. Not only is #IT’SONUS, but also, It’s Up to US! and we are UP to IT! In Circles of women, I have witnessed the magic that transpires when we slow down to truly care for ourselves and each other, when we step up to our wisdom and wonder and inspire and uplift those around us, when we put what matters most to us at the center of our lives and circle together in brave spaces: We become more of who we came to be and together, we are better for it.
Let 2018 be the year that you join a massive movement of women waking up to their fullest potential to shine more of your light on our dark world. I am calling new Circles, both in person and online in a virtual space called ZOOM. And later this year, I will be training people to hold this sacred space. Grab a friend and dive on in. Here’s the scoop:
NEW WOMEN'S CIRCLES: Do you have an inner knowing that there must be MORE to life than your to do list? Ever wonder “How can I make more of an impact?” Do you feel like you need a break from your routine to focus on “What matters most?” We live in incredible times full of amazing possibilities and yet, given our hurried pace, we must be intentional about setting aside time to reflect and connect in order to become more of who we came to be. There is a revolution afoot! Women are gathering together! BE on the cutting edge of creating positive change and building community. Activate your passion, purpose, and potential! A brand new Circle is sprouting this JANUARY, right here in River Forest AND also online in a virtual ZOOM space (for all my peeps further than a road trip away). Join other amazing women willing to search inside themselves to live more authentically! Be inspired to become your best self! Widen your circle by reserving a seat in this unique Circle today! (This Circle will meet biweekly from January through May.) Contact me if you are ready to CIRCLE UP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 708-955-7366.
By 4:30 PM today in Chicago, it is pitch black. I grab another sweater, make some sage tea and light a candle to handle the cold darkness that permeates. With the Solstice, winter sets in. Upcoming nights will be filled with holiday gatherings, which are for some of us, forced gaiety. For a time, we dial up socializing and dial down working. We eat, sleep and spend more at this time of year and rush around, read news and run errands less. As is now my tradition, I will carve out time during the last week of this year and the first of next, to reflect on what’s happened and what I hope will happen next, what’s working and what’s not, who I am becoming and which parts of me I am ready to let go.
As the three adorable elders said as they closed their coffee caucus at the table next to mine this morning, “It’s been an interesting year.” My 2017 began with two powerfully transformative happenings—I saw Hamilton and I participated in the Women’s March! Turning back the pages of my ical, I notice that I spent more time than ever before: crying, calling politicians, caring for my parents’ well-being, communing with Nature, companioning clients on purpose-discovery paths, and collaborating with incredible cohorts crafting a variety of social movements. This has been an absolutely historic year for me personally and us nationally and globally—demanding that we come together to cope. Locally, I have witnessed awesome women step into inspiring leadership roles, some for the first time ever. For more than a year now, there is a meeting of some sort every single night in my town of 50,000: people gathering to collaborate how to contribute positively to the transformation our society needs. It is truly awe-some to belong to an activated community! We are absolutely better, together—more creative, more energized, more compassionate, more impactful. Much has been written about the massive uprising of women across the globe speaking out and standing up with #metoo, the marches, many movements. The more clarity I discern about my personal purpose in the world, the more I am convinced that WE spaces (what I call “Circles”) are required to manifest more of ME, you or any one of us.
As of this year, I have had the privilege to facilitate 550 Circles. I am nowhere near an expert at holding this brave space that demands courageous vulnerability and a willingness to stretch into uncertain, unknown edges, but I am cultivating skills and gaining experience along my path, intent to master this social art form. (If 10,000 hours is the mark of mastery, I have only 4,450 circles to go!) Gathering in Circle remains the most dynamic, generative, inspiring, restorative, informative, supportive, energizing, and enjoyable place that I experience. This year, I created virtual circles with leaders in the Global Purpose Movement and in 2018, I hope to hold space for a murmuration of Mysterial Women. One of my intended projects is to create a workshop to share all that I’ve learned to encourage others to change the conversation, deepen the dialogue, connect more soulfully.
Interesting times come with the potential to spark new interests, new relationships, new possibilities! The Solstice is an excellent opportunity for amplifying your spark. Dark nights are best for seeing stars. Times of collapse are ideal for collaborating, creating and connecting with our calling! Are you ready to say, “YES!” to bringing more of your light into the world? I hope so! Step into MORE engagement with life to become MORE of who you came to be. Join a new Circle and stir around life’s big, bold questions, beginning with: Who are you? What difference are you here to make?
Your light is needed!
“I am blessed and highly favored.” Mustafa Santiago Ali of the Hip Hop Caucus, keynote speaker at the Chicago Community Climate Forum on 12/3/18
Atop my GRATITUDE LIST this year is YOU—my peeps, WE the PEOPLE, the almost 8 billion human souls sharing Planet Earth. You are a blessing and my favorite thing about being alive now, especially at this challenging time. Without my peeps, I can’t imagine how I would have managed. Can you?
Most recently, I discovered a whole cohort of amazing “purpose peeps” out there on the edge in San Francisco, California at the first-ever Purpose Summit. Together we dared to dream great big, un-seeable visions of a world of souls living on purpose. Safe in our WE-ness, we asked BIG questions and proposed even bigger resolutions. I felt so hopeful, happy and soulfully connected. Collaboration trumped competition; Nature and ritual overrode technology; mind, body and soul harmonized in synchrony. For nearly a week, I was joined in the “anything and everything is possible” space of potentiality, imagining a world where everyone’s needs are met and everyone is called to give their gifts. Loving each other like we did, life felt so good! One of the side effects of all that loving creativity is this: a group of Global Purpose Leaders co-created a SOUL CARE PACKAGE for worldwide delivery. Our goal is to engage a million souls or more to enjoy this massage for the soul and then activate more passion and purpose worldwide. Please savor it, and then pass it on to five friends. Get and give yours here: http://worldsoulcare.org. This is how change happens: giving, receiving, then paying it forward. Join us and 3,700 souls so far, having some soulful fun!
Closer to home, I am privileged to practice the social art form Circle with incredibly talented women in my community, who are willing to courageously become vulnerable in order to become even MORE fabulous than they already are! Have you noticed that women all over the globe are waking up and showing up in bigger ways? We are turning crisis into an opportunity to activate our potentials, individually and collectively. In a recent Circle, we were sharing our own big ideas and then gathered to celebrate one of our own who was called to deliver her passionate purpose on the TEDx Women stage. Learn about Ana’s BIG idea, bridging ecology and equity, here. I feel truly blessed and highly favored to hold the sacred space of Circle, the most transformational space I have ever experienced. If you feel called to create your own Circle, learn how to do so online, here. In 2018, I plan to hold my first-ever in-person training so you can create more soulful conversations in your circle of the world! Let me know if you are interested.
Given my deep love of being in community, it is fitting that my first published piece is another collaboration. The top voices in the purpose movement are gathered in this terrific anthology called Purpose Rising. I hope these stories will inspire you to make 2018 your year to RISE UP with your PURPOSE. This is one movement you don’t want to miss.
You are blessed and highly favored. NOW is your time. Happy Holidays!
Happy Giving Tuesday! I have a unique GIFT for you to receive and then, please pass it on...
One of the brightest lights in these dark times is storyteller Michael Meade. Here are his wise words about gift-giving:
“The idea of giving gifts derives from the ancient understanding that each soul comes to life bearing inner gifts. Genius was a primary word used for naming the inner brilliance of each soul born into the world. Rituals of gift-giving once carried the intention of encouraging people to find their genius and give the inner gifts of the soul. Offering a gift served to highlight the giftedness of both the one giving and the one receiving. Even in the midst of the highly commercialized exchange of presents, people can enact a remembrance of the unique giftedness of each life which can become a light shining in the darkness.”
Imagine a world where more of us were giving the unique inner gifts of our SOUL, more of us shining our lights more brightly into this darkness? Recently, I did just that, in California at the first-ever Purpose Summit.
In a world where only 13% of us feel like we are living purposeful lives, where most of us don’t even know what our inner genius is, where gift-giving has been reduced to shipping material stuff with the click of a key on our smartphones… I sense a deep need for us to discover and then give our true gifts. One of the many generative possibilities we created together at the Purpose Summit is this Soul Care Package! Our deep desire as a global community of Purpose Guides is to help spark, inspire and activate one million souls to live more soulfully. Yes, ours is a BIG idea and we think that WE as a species are up to it at this dark, critical, opportune moment in time!
Help us light up more SOUL! Join us in receiving and enjoying, and then giving away, the first-ever Soul Care Package. There is no catch, no cost, no fine print. Just savor and share. Enjoy a massage for your soul and then pass it on to five friends you think might enjoy a boost of soul!
Last week, I received yet another emergency call. Since November 8th, it feels like “911” is a new state of normalcy we are being forced to navigate. From “shots fired, shelter in place” texts from my daughter’s college campus to news of someone being shot in Chicago every other hour (http://interactive.wbez.org/everyotherhour/), I find myself amping up my meditation practice as an antidote to all these crises.
As I sit and breathe and try to slow my racing heart, I ponder what’s emerging through us throughout these emergencies. I sense increasing capacities including a massive heart expansion — especially among the collective. This is what I see every time an emergency occurs: people come together to cry, comfort, chant, call, collaborate, and create solutions. Coming together in community is the very best response to all this chaos: it’s the upside of the downside.
In 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi predicted that 1% of a population practicing Transcendental Meditation would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population. This phenomenon was first noticed in 1974 when 1% of a community practiced Transcendental Meditation and the crime rate fell by 16% on average. The phenomenon named “the Maharishi Effect” describes the influence of positivity in an environment generated by a coherence of consciousness. Last week, I experienced firsthand what I am now calling “the Madeleine Effect.”
Madeline Connelly, 23, was lost with her rescue dog Mogi in Glacier Park for 6 nights and 7 days — and rescued by an amazing team of people on the ground and in the collective consciousness. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ct-missing-hiker-found-montana-20170510-story.html) Over the course of that frightening week for her family, dozens and then hundreds and eventually thousands of people all over the planet prayed for her safe return. In addition to incredible rescue teams in Montana, many meditated and focused positive energy to uplift Madeline so she could be found. Without food, water or shelter, she miraculously survived a week in the wild.
Her story remains to be told. But I was part of a massive mission unknown to her as we gathered hundreds of psychics, healers, intuitives, meditators, remote locators and mothers around the globe. Everyone I contacted willingly focused hours and hours of attention on reviving her, illuminating her presence so she could be found. Famous finders, unknown mystics, friends of friends of friends, created a chain weaved text to text, state to state and eventually continent to continent, creating an energetic web of support uplifting Madeline and Mogi. Magically, on May 10, the spotlight revealed our dynamic duo, still alive, without a scratch of harm. This is what community looks like. People were eager to support one wondering in the woods — LOST — so she could be found. What could have been the worst Mother’s Day became the best.
Madeline will certainly feel “lost” again in the future — in the wilderness or most likely in “civilization” — but she, and WE, have found an amazing power in each other that cannot soon be forgotten. Even though she didn’t know that our focus of attention was on her, she and her family felt the light of the loving community that surrounded her at their darkest hour. No matter how lost, I hope they all remember forever how loved they are. No matter how stressed, I hope we all remember how powerful our capacity to love can be.
All eyes were on Glacier’s Bear Country as we held our breath and connected our hearts to hold one of our children so she would come home after her long walk in the woods. We all know that there’s nothing like the ferocity of a mother bear, especially one whose cub is in trouble. The media tried to freak us out. But this time, faith-filled Mama Bears responded in the face of unfathomable fear by holding hearts and hope in our virtual home, our collective consciousness. Our massively courageous and compassionate response to this 911 brought one of our cubs home and awakened us all to the power of community coming together. What a wonderful realization that WE possess such positive power in the WE space between us. One girl was lost and a whole web of US found her, together.
This is my story, that of the spiritual search team, but I’d also like to recognize the boots on the ground, the prayers in the pews, her fantabulous family who never lost the faith, and Two Bear Air, all who played a part in the miraculous result brought about by the Madeline Effect. I wonder what miracle the next 911 will make possible.
P.S. If you were one of the many Mama Bears I called upon, thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart. Happiest of Mothers Days to you!
There is a ONEderful (Earth) Film Fest in town — catch her before she’s gone! (http://www.oneearthfilmfest.org/films-by-date/)
Six years ago, there were six people at my very first screening. This year, film after film is sold out! Yesterday, 266 people packed in — it was “standing room only” to see A Small Good Thing at St. Giles; the night before, 150 packed into the Good Earth Greenhouse to see Minimalism. The juicy discussions and rich resource fairs that followed were actually large, wonderful things.
Crowds are pouring into church halls, greenhouses and libraries all over Chicago this week, eager to become part of this vibrant community conversation learning to minimize, downsize and transform our bad habits and mindless attitudes into something more sustainable — to discover that small, good thing we can each do to enjoy more meaning and create closer communities. We occupy this One Earth after all, so why not do it better together?
Thousands of hours donated by dozens of volunteers make this week-long event possible. Thanks to the good people of Green Community Connections there are 47 screenings in 39 venues all over Chicagoland this week. I look forward to this event all yearlong — and this year feels very different. This time, the message feels more urgent. This time, attendees are ready to lean in. This time, listeners seem more eager to respond with action steps the film fest hopes to inspire. “We are lucky,” we say, “To live in a community of activism” — glad to find our peeps amidst the chaos, noise and despair that November’s election wrought.
There’s nothing new at OEFF 2017; the same messages are being delivered with the same urgency as in past years. And yet, the venues are packed with standing-room only crowds at a time we absolutely need to take a stand for our One Earth, the home we inhabit together. That is good news!
Go see some films. Join us as we conspire to use less, love more, live more simply, and walk lighter on our home planet. This is our time. It is up to us!
In the last three months, I have survived three of the most stressful weeks of my 51 years, thanks to small everyday moments. Collectively, we have weathered scary and scarier 911 calls, managed mountains of heart-breaking stories, and sat in dozens of circles, bearing witness to trauma and triumph. I cherish:
Extra seconds added to heartfelt hugs
Moments spent savoring breath-taking sunsets
Surprisingly sweet cards/texts from loved ones
They take my breath away and enable me to take the next breath. Moments of caring kindness have been my saving grace amidst this tsunami of tragedy:
A barista’s artistic care making my latte
The comfort of returning to daily chores
A hospital social worker taking time to tell me “all will be well”
Life is terrible and terrific, all in the same situation. As a result, I am convinced that we are here to care for each other in small ways, every day. Without the wake-up call of crisis, we risk staying asleep, missing out on opportunities to reflect our care.
Because crisis occurs, I can cherish:
A letter from my sister to my son, protesting unconditional love and support
An acquaintance taking time to listen and grant courage to my next step
A heartfelt apology, thoughtfully delivered, healing an implosion of emotion
These are the moments I will most remember from these momentous times. While the hurricane of this political, economic and cultural shitstorm swirls its devastating winds, I find myself nourished in the eye of the storm by sips of calm, quiet care, the compassionate company of others, and a community waking up to act on what they care about most. What other way is there to ride these seas of change we’ve never before experienced and are neither trained nor equipped to sail?
In my darkest moments, I pray for my heart, for our collective heart of humanity, to expand its capacity for even more compassion, courage and caring and — I experience the magic of grace to loosen and lighten dark, stuck places. I am rewarded with:
Second chances New beginnings Alternate possibilities
If we survive this unprecedented tsunami of change, I am convinced it will be because of our weaving together small sips of kindness, circling together to joyfully wake up to paradise amidst this hellishness, and connecting mighty moments as humanity comes together realizing its potential.
I am counting on it.
Although most of the work I am privileged to do in the world is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to put some words to my experience, and this is the landing place. Chime in on the conversation. Your voice is needed.