“We often talk about love of place, by which we mean our love for places, but seldom of how the places love us back, of what they give us. They give us continuity, something to return to, and offer a familiarity that allows some portion of our own lives to remain connected and coherent. They give us an expansive scale in which our troubles are set into context, in which the largeness of the world is a balm to loss, trouble, and ugliness. And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren’t so deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.
The bigness of the world is redemption. Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest. Being able to travel both ways matters, and sometimes the way back into the heart of the question begins by going outward and beyond. This is the expansiveness that sometimes comes literally in a landscape or that tugs you out of yourself in a story.” –Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby pp 30-31
I’ve been focusing lately on unhooking from trying. The endless trying, which is a distorted version of pure self effort, has a dark underbelly of expectation. As in, ” If I try hard, I deserve to (fill in the blank.)” To be truly happy, we need to get over feeling we deserve something because of our hard work, and embrace being willing to claim what we are deserving of simply because we are human beings, naturally worthy of grace. In her book, The Dance, Oriah Mountain Dreamer talks about this… I love what she’s got to say–
To dance is to move gracefully. To live our soul’s longing is to be willing to live grace-filled moments. Grace is the opportunity to be happy that we do not earn. That’s what makes it grace. But if we are old-time sink-or swimmers, if we believe that our basic nature is in need of fundamental renovation, the unearned gifts of grace make us nervous. They stir feelings of guilt and fears about potential envy; they heighten our sense of unworthiness and enmesh us in a sense of obligation to work harder at being the people we feel we should be. If we are not in some essential way a manifestation of the Divine that bestows grace, grace can feel like yet another burden.
To dance, to move gracefully, to receive the grace-filled moments every day, we have to know that we are worthy not because of our hard work or suffering or our eagerness to be other than we are; we are worthy by our very nature–the same nature that creates and sustains all that is. When we know this we are able to answer the question “Are you willing to be happy?” with a quiet but confident, “Yes”.
Happy New Year! I’ve been considering the play of darkness and light, noticing how the deepest velvety darkness forms the perfect backdrop to showcase the ignition of the light. I appreciate the light more against the darkness. Since this is the year of the Dragon. I’m thinking that there is lots of fire and transformation on it’s way for each of us. The deeper the darkness the more important it is to have the foundational support you need to cultivate light. As leaders, we must stand in witness to the darkness and hold a perspective that allows us to consciously lead ourselves and others through. We catch fire, and then carry the torch that lights the path. It’s not about fiercely chasing away the darkness with light, more a dance of initiation, honoring the light with appreciation as it ignites. May we savor the contrast and appreciate the true beauty and intensity of both.
This year I’m committed to catching fire, welcoming both darkness and light. I”m going to balance both with gentle, firm intention. What’s your year about? If you want to be crystal clear regarding the vision, growth and transformation you are welcoming, there are a few spots left in my annual beginning of the year private coaching program. See An Opening to register now.
Everywhere I look, there is major construction. Not just resurfacing or refinement, but major blasting apart and hauling away of the pieces. I’m witnessing the kind of construction that feels like it takes a good deal of time because what is being created is such a significant improvement. It has me realize that to evolve into what’s next we have to be willing to have things be really messy for a bit. We need to know what the vision is. We don’t have to do everything perfectly of course, but we do need a plan that can be adjusted as needed.
The kind of re-construction that I am championing takes maintaining access to deep wisdom on a sustained and on-going basis. It takes support, it takes refinement and, oh yes, it takes some mighty courage.
In our leadership and life, periods of re-construction are essential to our growth and professional development. How to do this when we have to keep all our balls in the air? Well, the only path I know is through curious inquiry, wise reflection with another and deep listening to the clues that are all around. Rule number one is…you can’t get there running around in your own head entertaining the voices who’s sole purpose are to keep you stuck.
“Renew, Refocus, Re-engage” is the theme of my annual mid-year private coaching sessions. Here are a few questions to guide you to your own precious Truth. How about you take them for a walk this week?
Renew:What is the nourishment that I crave right now? What will renew my spirit and bring me vibrant aliveness?
Refocus:What do I choose to let go of? What do I choose to embrace? What am I learning? What am I absolutely clear about? What is still unfolding?
Re-Engage:What are my inspired next steps? What is most resonant? What connections would be natural to make right now?
It’s miraculous, what becomes possible when like minded female leaders gather in conversation about things that really matter. Success is always accelerated by good company. I’m often asked, How do I choose amazing women to bring into my circle? Here are the selection criteria I use to gather 30 Amazing Women here in Seattle for my quarterly events:
-Does she have wisdom and compassion, a sense of humor, a great laugh, spirit and soul?
-Is she outraged at injustice and indifference?
-Does she want to make a difference and does her leadership have a profound impact?
-Does she have a sense of community, faith that it matters what we do?
-Does she care about the well-being of others beyond her own, for values that are being lost?
-Has she grown through her difficult times?
-Can you count on her?
-Will the circle be a sanctuary for her?
(Inspired by the writings of Jean Shinoda Bolen)
What would you add?
P.S. Are you a big YES to all of the above? Please know that you are warmly invited to attend my upcoming “30 Amazing Women in BLISS” Event in Seattle? Click here to register: 30 Amazing Women Event on March 7
P.S.S. Registration closes on February 28 and the seats are going fast.