Uncomfortable. Different. Progress.

Right in sync, as often happens, Tom’s piece gives me insights I needed. Perfect followup up to my recent posts.

What Works

I turned down a client today. That’s kinda rare.

He had an interesting project. It would have been a good stream of work for several months. I’ve known the client for years and I know I’d enjoy working with him. But there was a problem.

He’s working for a new company (new to him) who desperately needs to make changes to their marketing. They know that what they have done for the past four years has not worked. “Something,” he told me when he first contacted me, “has to change.” When he ran the numbers by me, it was clear he was right. This is right up my alley – change, growth, all the stuff I love to do and am good at.

But the problem started this morning when we began mapping out strategy to begin. I’d make a suggestion and he’d say “We can’t do that. They don’t…

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Freedom’s Song: Welcome All

So fellow travelers, back home from our Thanksgiving road trip, snuggled on the couch with our dog as a curtain of lake effect rain falls from the steel grey sky.

“Lake  effect rain” is our local weather team’s reminder it would be snowing if the temperatures were colder.

As in :  keep those snow shovels handy and snow blowers at the ready.

Buddy, our front door greeter stands ready.

I’m using this quiet time to regroup mentally after several unsettling interactions over the weekend. Feeling close to an emotional tipping point is a flag I have learned to pay attention to.

Anger, fear and judgement are heavy burdens to bear and it’s hard to witness the toll they take on people. It’s not easy these days to have faith that Love will prevail. This deep weariness of spirit is a signal I need to reset priorities, redefine purpose and renew my committment to acting from kindness.

In trying to return to mindful compassion, I found myself recalling the recent blessing of birds. Within the memory I found some words which lingered on the edge of awareness. I hope anyone seeking safe passage on their journey through this life will feel welcome in my space.

Chinaberry Feast

Robins singing freedoms song

Migrants welcome here

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready .


Sanctuary Song

So fellow travelers, today we celebrate Thanksgiving a holiday dedicated to my two favorite things in life: family and food.

This morning I took our dog out for a good long walk before heading on the road to dinner at my brother’s house. He’s set an essential rule this year :  “Please leave all politics at the door.” It says something about the challenges of current times that he even felt a need to do so, yet I am grateful he did. We all need to relax and enjoy being together, to be in a space where the most divisive questions are  “red or white with dinner ?”  and  “apple or pumpkin for dessert?”

For the record the answer to the latter question is simply “Yes, please.”

Delilah and I walked down a neighborhood street where the two feet of lake effect snow which fell a few days ago has buried the election signs left standing either in victory or defiance.

 For once I am grateful for the early snowfall.

As that thought rattled around my weary brain cells, I caught the sound of distant bird calls. Rounding a corner we came across a row of trees filled with birds. As I stopped to take in the welcome chatter I recognized a song among the passing migrants I had not heard for several weeks.

Scanning the bare branches towering above us I realized the songs were coming from a small Chinaberry tree right in front of us where a small flock of robins had paused for breakfast.

Chinaberry buffet for migrant robins.

I stood silent, eyes closed, breathing in the clear cold air, letting the sweet, harmonious “cheeriup, cheeriup, cheerio” fill my soul with the hope of spring and joys of summer. I stood  a long time, embedding this sacred moment into the roots of my existence.
Tears ran down my face in a river of deep cleansing gratitude.

Gratitude for awareness

Gratitude for the healing powers of nature

Gratitude for family near and far, here and in Spirit

Gratitude for the gift of being alive.

“Fly fast and free feathered friends,” I whispered before moving on, “If it’s not too much a burden, please carry our prayers for hope, strength and solidarity to the Heart of God.”

One solidarity robin flew out from the tree, swooped overhead then circled back to settle again in the branches. I’ll take that as an affirmation for hope.

Blessings of gratitude go with you all, fellow travelers. Walk gently on the path and may adventure find you ready.

To hear or not to hear

So fellow travelers, fair warning, this is long and it is about the recent election here in America.

img_5829

Hope, like a late season water lily, waiting to bloom.

Politics is not something I have not written about, at least not directly. It has not been possible to post anything related to this election without becoming a target for anger and hate speech.

Anger, is a heavy burden to bear. It drains life energy and, over time, even righteous anger sucks all joy out of existence. I have stood on that precipice myself and seen this in the lives of too many people I hold dear to ignore its effect. To the best of my ability, anger is a cycle I choose to break  with compassion.

Thus in the spirit of striving for compassion and comprehension, I have been reading posts on various sources from voters who selected the President-elect.

It has been a sobering and eye opening experience.

I will say the prevailing reasoning I have been reading actually is not directly racist or xenophobic and while many reflect conservative Christian beliefs,  most posts are not specifically intolerant of LGBT or Muslims. (I am not saying those attitudes don’t exist, they do and most clearly and dangerously frame the platform of the President-elect’s current council.) I saw a Charlie Rose  interview with Jon Stewart  in which he said the same about the people he knows who supported the President-elect.

What has come through most clearly is a prevailing belief that the current direction of social and economic norms left these voters feeling discounted and forgotten. These were votes cast for change, made from a need to be heard. The feeling of having struggles discounted, of not being heard, of seeking leadership to make a difference is common to the majority of voters regardless of where they stand on any given issue. It’s my observation most Americans want socio-economic stability yet very few are willing to sacrifice to ensure that opportunity is equally accessible for every citizen.

Time will tell if the choice of these voters will bring the kind of socio-economic stability they seek while staving off the change and diversity they fear. Meanwhile we all have to find ways to live with the consequences.

In his interview with Charlie Rose, Jon made a statement I found remarkably comforting, He said, “I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago. The same country with all its grace and flaws and volatility and insecurity and strength and resilience exists today as existed two weeks ago. ”  This was both reassuring and a wake up call for me.

The same country which came close to electing our first woman President also held in it’s ranks a force of repressed anger and fear which has found a voice. Having gained power, this force can no longer be denied.  It is not enough to verbally denounce the principles of discrimination and acts of violence against our fellow citizens, or denounce myopic economics over ecology.  If we wish to make a stand against intolerance and ignorance, we must act in ways which show our committment.

We need to understand those who also reject violence and do not discriminate, yet saw  the President-elect as the only solution. And we also need to find ways to reach the vast numbers of registered voters who felt so little connection to the options, they chose not to vote, because more people chose not to vote at all than voted for the President-elect.

We must go beyond labeling, dig deeper than judgement and in hearing their concerns, listen for the common ground we may have. For there is common ground and no matter how slight or obscured, it must not be discounted.  To seek it is to find a starting point. From there it becomes a focus of taking one step, one opportunity at a time, to move beyond division.

Walk gently on the path my friends. This adventure call us to be ready.

Living with Volcanoes

So fellow travelers,  many of us feel we are living on shaky ground these days.  It’s unnerving because even if we have not yet been directly affected,  I expect the majority of my readers know someone who already has been.

For the past five days I have been working my way through waves of confusion, sadness, fear and anger.  I have pushed myself not to react from those frames of reference, even as I go through the important phases of processing those feelings. Denial only ensures our  feelings weigh us down  and now more than ever we need to travel Light as we navigate the tricky path ahead of us.

As is my way, I have sought the quiet wisdom of my favorite walking trails.  My dog Delilah has been thrilled at the additional opportunites to roust little critters from the leaf beds lining our paths. No worries,please, she is properly leashed and supervised so no woodland nymphs are injured in the course of our wanderings.


This morning I found this excellent piece by artist and writer Rachel Barlow. Her insight has pulled together some important pieces for me. (More on that in future posts) I hope my readers will find seeds for the future in her post as well.

http://rachelbarlow.com/2016/11/12/absence-of-fear/

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready

 

 

 

… on ‘we’, the people

I’m with Dingle.

just ponderin'

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Our flag.

More than once in my life, ‘my’ candidate has lost.

And more than once, I was ‘in’ – big time – for my candidate… was certain the country and world was at risk if he or she (well, however they self-identified) lost.

I have been in the boat of being crushed, and in disbelief, and using the phrase “But this time it REALLY matters!” and watching states threaten to secede and and and… seriously. Been there. Done that.

But it has never occurred to me to dismiss the fact that those on the other side felt just as strongly as I did.

Not once, have I felt the pull toward violence against a side that won, want to beat someone up who voted the way I did not.

And it has never occurred to me to rub a victory in an opposing voter’s face, physically hurt or intimidate…

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Aftermath

So fellow travelers, now is when we must reach out, stay strong and hold fast to all we value and believe.

I am heart broken but I will not be silent.

We are better than this outcome. We are stronger than anger, we are smarter than ignorance. We will not give in to darkness. We must commit ourselves to making the changes needed to move forward regardless of the flaws in leadership.

I will stand for acceptance and equality for all people.  I will share the voices of those who have a story  to tell. I will make inclusion and kindness my mission.

Come, walk this long road with me and shine your lights for others to find their way.


Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.