April 3, 2014
Because I don’t want to forget his words when he is old, old like a man, because he might forget in a moment of doubt, and I know I will- probably in 2 more seconds, my faith is shakier than his. It seems this conversation might be the kind we are building our lives on without even knowing it exactly. We are slowly figuring out we don’t have to do it alone, we were never meant to. It’s the kind of knowledge you need to be whole and together…and to do something really great (or maybe just survive), for and with each other.
Jack overheard me on the phone lamenting to my sister about a film project I am working on. The weight of everything I don’t know is swirling, the feelings of just how ludicrous it is to even take it on are BIG, the revelation of how much growth is required… and wanting it so bad and knowing it is meant for me, all at the same time. I hung up the phone unaware he was listening.
Jack: Mom, you are gonna do that big film.
Me: I dunno, it just feels so much bigger than me some times,
I just have to keep being brave, you know?
Jack: Do that for me mom…
You do it for me
and I’ll do it for you
you keep doing it for me
and I’ll do it for you…
Me: Yeah, I can do that.
Jack: Yeah, me too.
Me: Like for our whole lives, huh?
Jack: Yup, that sounds good.
It never occurred to me that we could share bravery until he suggested it. I don’t know why but Jack’s request and belief in me instantly makes me feel more brave and hopeful. Maybe it’s because he’s 11 or that I feel 11 again, but the idea that we could be brave for each other, taking turns, giving what we have and taking what we need feels profound.
All along bravery seemed like this point to buck up, dig deep, show up- still requiring me to drum something up on my own and that feels so out of reach at times. It seems to me that holding that ground and space for each other is the only chance for us to sustain any work we believe in with all of our hearts.
So…look for a film (way later) and a Bravery Exchange BE (sooner) dreamed up with some new and dear sharing partners.
Feel free to tell us in the comments today what you need some bravery for and also feel free to share some of your own bravery if you feel called to a story. Even a simple, “I will do that for you ________.” works just fine.
February 24, 2014
The conversations about vulnerability and courage have been on the rise the last few years. Every where you turn, there is a new book, a TED talk, and e-courses giving us permission to drop our various veils and masks.
We have been getting brave, finding our voices and starting to talk about the things we think but have been afraid to say.
Folks are sharing stories, pushing past those giant lumps in our throats to a new kind of freedom. …and the craziest part is how hungry everyone is for more.
We are looking at each other, right in the eyes, and letting out a huge sigh and saying, “Me too.” Just so happy to be seen, to know we are not alone.
While the “Me too” seems like the big event, I am starting to realize, it is actually the opening act, a very important one…but the show coming? The show is amazing, for it is the place where humanity finds their way together. It is where we trade in “me” for “we”.
Because if we stay too long in the “me too” place we begin to enable each other and lose the hope that drew us to each other in the first place. We start to believe that is all there is, security blankets and no footing for true community and the change we long for. It’s more than “me too”, if our vulnerability does not lead us to togetherness & serving each other, then we’ve missed the whole point.
It isn’t about doing more, being more or improving, it’s quite the opposite actually. It is in our deepest, most human moments that the expression of our true connection can start to unfold.
The service and care isn’t because we are good people, but rather a place of knowing…
because you know what it feels like to be up at 2am with a crying baby,
because you know what it was like to have your lover walk out the door,
because you know the joy of the day that baby was christened and all of her people that loved her and you into being stood around that room,
because you know how cold the tile is on the bathroom floor at 3am after one too many drinks,
because you know exactly where you were when you got the phone call that he died,
because you know how many hours you spent glued to the television feeling helpless that someone’s home and life just blew away,
because you know what it’s like to wish we didn’t have to play the game of pleasantries while we move our power around or someone steps on ours,
because you know what it meant to you when your girlfriend showed up with a People magazine and Ben and Jerry’s,
because you know what it means to be the family fuck up,
because you know how much you long to be truly content and wish the words “it’s fine” never came out of your mouth ever again,
because you know that buying a cup of coffee for someone else gives you a joy and fulfillment you can’t quite explain,
because you know that every step on the sidewalk towards work feels like you lose a little more of your soul,
because you know that you will forever believe in the underdog,
because you know how worried you felt when you had to tell the kids you were separating,
because you know how you lie in bed at night wishing you hadn’t yelled so much, wishing you didn’t feel so annoyed half the time,
because you know everything and nothing at the same time,
because you know how hopeful it feels to be part of something, anything that is bigger than yourself.
This knowing is the solid ground on which we stand. The next step is the look of empathy we give to the mother in the store with 3 little children, it is closing the bar with your buddy after his girlfriend broke up with him, it is the $5 we slip the homeless dude because at one point you only had $2.35 in your checking account 3 days before payday. It is the small moments, the subtle exchanges, it is in the compassion offered that every human needs and deserves.
Because of this, the world is not waiting for you to have more money, more time, more resources. It is not asking you to be ready or for you to like your mother-in-law.
It is asking you to be yourself the whole way, and let someone else be themselves just the same…and then offer whatever it is you have in that moment and letting the other person do the same for you, no matter how small, with the heart of knowing, with the heart of a grace you wish yourself, taking the first step outside of “me too” and ourselves towards each other.
Every step outside of ourselves and towards each other reveals more mess, more togetherness, more power, more trials, more beauty, more hope.
…and the world we are all secretly dreaming of, a step beyond “me too”, a world in which we are finally together…the whole way.
February 16, 2014
February 13, 2014
It’ s almost Valentine’s Day guys! There are no neutral feelings about this day, people either love or hate it THE WHOLE WAY. I think this is because the day serves as some measure or barometer of how we love or are loved. Chances are, romantic or not, we could all use a little more. We long to be included in a party of love, one we are ALL invited to.
In the world of love expression, small acts are magic to me. I don’t feel too sheepish to receive them and they still hold a genuine weight in my heart. When done by a stranger, I am sure the whole world is conspiring to be connected- this brings me ridiculous joy and hope.
On Monday, I met with some lovely folks in RVA looking to do something BIG and KIND, then after lots of dreaming and talking, we came to a starting point of small and wide- which I love so, so much. I believe almost everything beautiful starts small and usually with just one person (which turns into a billion).
SO, I give you #RVACOFFEELOVE (a party of kindness, one we are all invited to):
On Friday- Valentine’s Day- the Richmond community is encouraging everyone to share love by buying a stranger a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop.
If you want to participate but are super broke ( been there and still visit often!), we will have a few kindness kits at the LOHK wall complete with coffee gift cards and certificates (look for small boxes in ziplocs behind the window grates).
Inside each box there will be a gift card with enough $ for one cup of coffee for you and one to share, a small tip for the barista, stickers and a bit of chocolate because ALL kindness missions are better with chocolate!
Look for kits starting late this afternoon (2/13)- hopefully some with still be left by morning! I will post pics on my Instagram when they are up.
I hope you feel so loved tomorrow, and if you don’t, I hope creating some will bring you joy and hope.
This is RVA, we have kindness here. *
*If you are not in RVA, you can still play! Do the mission and hashtag all pics #coffeelove or post them on the LOHK Facebook page.
February 7, 2014
February 6, 2014
It’s the nature of things to be vulnerable, the disorder is imagining that we are not. -Nora Gallagher
There are people in the world that when they speak, you lean in, just a little further. I have found over the years they tend to be a little quieter by nature, good listeners and very wise. Nora Gallagher’s writing feels like this to me, there is a weight of knowing, a wisdom from hearing and a depth from serving…all wrapped in a vulnerable honesty that sits true in your bones.
You can see it all here:
She knows the in-between, the mystery of a future unknown and the struggle of finding your way through the unexpected. She lives the beautiful balance of the tenderness of vulnerability and the power of resilience. It made such perfect sense to me to honor her gifts and work through serving fellow women who are trying to navigate their own moments of transition just the same.
Here’s the mission:
WomanKind shared an opportunity to support Hilliard House—a local nonprofit that provides transitional housing to homeless mothers and their children. Upon moving in to Hilliard House, each family gets a private bedroom and bathroom. The room is supplied with basic necessities like sheets and towels that the family keeps when they move on to permanent housing. Don’t you love pretty towels and sheets, doesn’t it make such a difference when you crawl into a beautiful bed at night?!
WomanKind has set a goal of supplying 15 rooms at Hilliard House with basic necessities.
1. We get to shop. I know. Head on over to this Target Registry or go to the store.
If you go to the store: Visit the registry kiosk, click on “Target Lists” and search for the organization name “Womankind.” Print your list, shop, and be sure to show your checkout attendant your list so he/she can mark off your purchases on the master list.
If you shop online: when checking out you can choose to have the item(s) shipped to you and bring it to St. James’s, or you can select ‘Ship to Cristi’ to have the item sent directly to Cristi Head, the volunteer coordinator for this WomanKind kindness mission.
In addition to Target registry items, donations of blankets in like-new condition are also welcome. Donations will be accepted in the St. James Narthex on Friday and Saturday (8/9th).
2. Make a Valentine or card. A simple note of love and encouragement will join these sheets/towels/blankets of sisterhood kindness. If you are not attending WomanKind and want your note of love shared, you can leave it in the comments or send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be a table at WomenKind to make a card or write a note.
There is something about sharing with each other really tangible human needs, a warm bed, a towel to dry your body, a kind word. So glad we get offer this to each other in honor of Nora and the truth that kindness changes everything.
February 3, 2014
I took a pregnancy test at a Harris Teeter grocery store once. It was one of those moments where my namesake was of no help at all. There was NO patience, not even a little bit, I had to know.
I remember looking at the two pink lines in shock but somehow I shoved the truth telling stick in my bag, washed my hands and finished my grocery shopping, of course. While standing in front of the 1,000 choices of yogurt, I glanced over at an older woman standing next to me. It instantly felt so very surreal- I was holding this information that would drastically change my life, information so big, and she was standing next to me with absolutely no idea what just happened- we were just both deciding whether to pick cherry orchard or key lime pie yoplait.
Part of me wanted to blurt out- “I’m pregnant!! THIS IS SO WEIRD and I’m kinda terrified and excited, and CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?!!”…but that seemed super creepy, but now I wish I had. Because then there was another time when a dear friend was dying, way before her time, a girl with more life and fire in her than anyone I had ever met- and this time I found myself in front of that same row of yogurt, now with a baby on my hip, wanting to burst into tears. It felt surreal in a different way, the whole world was going on, buying yogurt and bagels, and she was still fighting…and losing…and that felt so wrong. In that moment, it was all too much for any of us to hold alone.
So we walk through life, standing right next to each other with no idea and yet with all the humanity required.
In a bit of divinity and magic, we sometimes find the words and crawl towards each other, or we hear of gatherings in the bread aisle where people find each other in the most ordinary of places and exchange offerings of bravery and kindness- Momastery is such a place.
This Saturday, I will be speaking at WomanKind, a wonderful conference created by women who yearned for creating a community and lasting togetherness. In the spirit of this goodness, we are inviting our fellow sisters to join us in 3 kindness missions this week- one mission each to honor the work of 3 main speakers and the communities they serve.
So here goes:
There is a woman waiting for her latte who is getting a call about her chemo results later this afternoon…
There is a kid who just stepped off the bus that changed her clothes 10 times this morning because she is wondering if she will ever feel beautiful…
There is a mom who is reading every weather report know to man and panicking because she is just not sure she can handle another snow day…
There is a woman that is cleaning someone else’s toilets and feels completely defeated when she looks at the state of her own house, there is just no time in 3 jobs world…
There is a woman walking into the business meeting of her life, the kind where she has to gather her deep bravery to stand in all her power…
There is a woman who has to tell her children that their dad just died of a drug overdose, he had been sober for 23 years before last year, bless his very tender heart…
and all these women will be walking to a bus stop, or waiting at a Starbucks, or opening a locker, or pushing the elevator button or stopping by the grocery store.
Here’s your mission:
1.Find a post-it and write down a note of hope or encouragement*, maybe even something you need to hear yourself and leave it in a public place for someone to find.
Because the truth is, even if we never speak to each other, or we have no idea…we can be together. It just doesn’t work any other way.
2. Take a picture of you, or your note or where you left it and post it to the WomanKind Facebook page . Be sure to tag it #WomanKINDness on Instagram , Facebook or Twitter.
3. ALSO, if YOU need a message today, let me know at Patience@kindnessgirl.com and we’ll send you a post-it pic of hope privately or on the LOHK page.
Hope to see your kind faces on Friday night or Saturday, if you still need tickets, you can get them here .
*p.s. simple messages work just fine- you are loved, you matter, we are with you, you survived, you are beautiful…just the right person will find it.