November 7, 2012
She was unkind this week…in a way I have never seen her be…but her walk to making amends was so sweet- showing me all she holds inside.
Part of me was embarrassed and perplexed by her meanness and other parts of me knew the vulnerable place you stand when you make a decision you know is just not good. Not good for you or the other person…but sometimes you just do it anyway.
I was hard on her, she was tender and contrite…and then I took this picture of her and saw her little soul…no, her giant, too big for her body soul…and then I felt tender and contrite.
And we just aren’t that different from each other, kids, parents, families…we are all doing our best to care for each other while we make our own way in the world. Nobody knows what they are doing most of the time, but there are moments when you do, your intuition is bright and wide…and you grab the hand of the person behind you and you lead the way.
Sometimes it’s your kids, sometimes it’s your partner leading, sometimes it’s a bum on the street or the checkout girl.
I want to be a soulful parent- one that isn’t afraid to make mistakes and try to sort them out with my kids, one that can come in and save the day the way only I can, one that leans into family love, one that freaks out when no one is picking up their clothes off the floor, one that makes space and trusts others to lead the way, one that says sorry, one that is confused but cares, one that holds tight to her partner (even when we are on each other’s nerves), one that holds hope, one that makes space for everyone to be themselves, one that gathers, loves and believes.
So, I created Soul Parenting … it’s a page on Facebook for folks to share stories and pictures about the messy love that each family holds. …because I believe we were never meant to do it alone.
It’s a place to tell us about your shitty day or parenting survival, the ways you find your kid’s heart, the things that surprised you, the parts where you have failed and totally triumphed…the real deal of everyday life while holding the intention to carry each other as we seek to be soulful parents and families…together.
I am trusting it to unfold as it is meant to. I will only post when I have something to share or a question to pose…I hope you will do the same. …because lord knows everyone’s soul could use it.
October 18, 2012
I met Kelly on the first day of a new school, a new direction, a new start for my family. We had just made a huge decision to pull our kids from a really stable, established, old elementary school to a brand new charter school. It was the first of its kind in the entire state. Josiah was nervous, things are always tricky with new…and then there was Kelly, his teacher, she was a force of light…and happy.
The year ended up being hard because trailblazing is, there were SO many problems/challenges in the school but Josiah was thriving like I had never seen. I knew this teacher was some kind of magic. Her positivity, her grit, her joy was contagious. The year ended and she moved on to her next act of goodness. She started Happy Camper Productions.
Happy Camper Productions exists to spread good cheer, unite the community, and help those who need it most. We work with local causes and organizations to host events, drives and collections. We host our own functions as well as energize existing programs by involving the Happy Camper Nation – our loyal members and overall do-gooders who look to make a difference, but don’t necessarily know how.
At a new beginning again, the Kelly Elias and HCP force is moving, spreading their joy and goodness from the start. The very first Happy Camper Fest is on for THIS Saturday from 12-6pm at The Canal Turning Basin. It will be an annual event held by Happy Camper Productions to celebrate everything wonderful in the Richmond area. The primary recipients of donations made through the fest this year will go to The Richmond SPCA has and Communities in Schools of Richmond .
Don’t miss the Canal Run & Walk, Dog trick and costume contests, local artists/farmers, local bands, local businesses, local food /beverages, and much more.
I am really excited because Kindnessgirl will be there with very rad kids from The James River High Guerrilla Goodness club. 2 really lovely students came to me this spring wanting to start the group after some amazing kindness stuff happened there last year…turns out 90 kids showed up at the first meeting last week.
We’ve never done anything like this before but our tent will invite folks to think about happiness and kindness together and there will be a kindness mission for everyone to take away. Also excited to be handing out Kindness Changes Everything stickers (with love from Suzanne and I) AND Tag, You’re It RVA kindness game cards!
Hope to see you all there!
October 16, 2012
I have a thing for hands…what they hold, what they do, how wrinkled and rough they are, the stories they tell.
It is with our hands that we make lunches, rub or scratch a back, move furniture, write a letter, create something beautiful, build something new…hold the people we love close. Hands hold and make the change.
So when Hands On Greater Richmond asked if I would be part of their Hands On Day here in RVA, I quickly said yes. HandsOn Greater Richmond provides a link for folks to join together and engage in meaningful volunteer opportunities within RVA.
Once a year 1,000 people get together for one giant day of volunteering…it’s amazing and lovely. As part of the celebration after the event, I will be part of a kindness experience (along with Hands On and Art on Wheels) that will hopefully inspire you to take your giving back to the streets and neighborhoods of Richmond.
SOoooo come volunteer for a morning, then party at Hardywood, then go home with a kindness mission! Can’t wait to see you there!
When: This Saturday, October 20th from 9am-1pm THEN celebrate from 1-3:30pm
Why: because your hands can do something good
You can find out more and invite friends on the Facebook event page here.
One Day. One Thousand Volunteers. Limitless Change.
August 14, 2012
Hello Loveful Human Beings. I’m Nicki and I have the beautiful honor of calling Patience my friend. When she asked if I would do a monthly post on her soul shaking site (while she is creating magic in hardback), before my voice said yes, my heart sang, “oh yeah!” So this is me. Raw. I’m lucky that I get to be raw as part of my job at The Bounce Collective, a leadership development and coaching company. I do the youth development stuff there and have been known to call myself a “love teacher.” (not on paper, just in the moment). Because that’s what it all comes down to. Love.
Ubuntu. I am because we are.
Everyday, I embody this African philosophy a little more fully. Because of the village in which I live—the North Side of Richmond.
Last spring, I was sitting in a circle of women at a North Side coffee shop. These girls have been meeting for coffee and conversation every Friday for years. And I have never been a regular attendee. Most of the time I miss because life gets in the way. And sometimes I miss because I just don’t make it a priority.
On this particular morning, sitting at this round table in the window, the sun shining in to create beacons of light over the heads these vibrant women, I was overcome with emotion. A truth emerged. I was missing my WE.
I navigate life through a me, we, world lens of relationship. And at the end of each day, I do a soul check, of sorts. The big question, “How did I show up today in my relationships with self, other, and community, at large?”
My ME check (just a taste… I dig pretty deep here): How aligned were my body, mind, heart, and spirit today? What did I learn about myself today? What was asking to be seen in the shadows today? How was I better today? How can I be better tomorrow?
And then, generally, I move right into…
My World check: What was calling for my voice today? How did I rise to create impact today? What did I produce today? What ideas are asking to be born in me tomorrow?
And usually (not surprisingly) by this point, my soul needs some rest. And my WE check gets a glimpse, at best.
Who did I reach out to today? What did I contribute to their world? What did they offer me? What was between us?
On that morning in the coffee shop, I sobbed. In the safety of my tribe’s bosom, a painful revelation was born. I had not been reaching out; I was not actively contributing to these relationships; I was not open to receiving the bounty surrounding me; and I was desperately missing the loveful abundance that, despite my neglect, would always exist between us.
My obsessive focus on ME and World was eclipsing my connection to the individual members of my tribe, a tribe that extended beyond this round table to include a whole village of amazing human beings.
And my beautiful friend, Amanda, an aura of white light embracing her, looked deeply into my eyes and said, “You are here. We see you. “
And, in that perfect moment, I realized that the work of ME and World begins with WE. It is in the faces of individual people that we find our mirrors… and our purpose.
Ubuntu. I am because we are.
Fast forward to last week, 2 days before my 40th birthday. I am standing in my kitchen, a deluge of family activity around me. And, as if it were coming from the Heavens, I hear my favorite song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
“Where is that coming from?” I ask in dismay.
And then I glance out my window to see Amy and Suzy (of the coolest girl band in town, “Dirty Blonde”) leading a parade of 50 angels– men, women, children, dogs…singing out their light-filled hearts, strolling down my street with flowers and tears and birthday love…for me.
I sat on my front porch in a puddle of tears, drinking in each divine face. If my heart could have spoken the depth of emotion in that moment, it would have said, “You are here. I see you. Each of you, in your unique brilliance. I am. Because we are. ”
“Nicki done made me cry… I’m gonna let it shine…” was the last verse I heard and it made a permanent imprint on my soul. For it is in the reflection of our tribe’s tears that we can truly see ourselves. That we can heal. That we can know love.
Huge gratitude to my friend Amanda, who birthed this tribute. I have no doubt that its ripple will forever impact ME, WE, and our little North Side World.
Nicki Peasley- I am the CEO of my home, managing a team consisting of a 40 year old, an 11 year old, an 8 year old, and a 6 year old. In my spare time, I am the YOUth development director for Bounce, writing curriculums and working (playing and learning) with elementary and middle school youth.
June 22, 2012
I am starting to wonder if it isn’t the most simple ways of connection that hold the greatest hope for change and good.
One man knowing deep in his soul and body that growing something green can bring us together and care for our most basic need that every human deserves
One woman believing sharing salad can heal us and bring life
One family calling in the rhythm of an ancient goodness with drums
…and for one sweaty Richmond night, none of it feels so complicated…it’s just a gathering of people in a community garden, eating salad, while kids give wagon rides and take turns watering the plants…and someone gets an impromptu photography lesson and another financial advice…while others that had no plans at all find their way out of their houses to listen to the drums.
…and the space is held unknowingly and yet with so much intention.
…because growth, food and community are the most simple ways to love.
If you live in RVA, you can join us for the garden and salad magic at RVA Salad Fest #2 this Sunday at 7pm at the McDonough Community Garden in Woodland Heights! Thanks to Duron and Maat for including me!
*these 2 sweet souls had never met but I caught this sweet hug at the end of the night.
May 13, 2012
It was my child that has been the hardest for me lately that has been the most intent on nurturing Mother’s Day this year. There were hours of creating a giant flower card and a trip to the park to pick mulberries and wrap them in leaves decorated with flowers.
It is a sweet moment where the artist’s persistence of creating is for me, the same intense love in which she pours all of herself into is manifested to celebrate my love for her. The exchange was important, for both of us.
She woke me up yesterday, unable to wait to give me her card.
“Oh Luce! I see so much love in this card…thank you! I really need your love.” I said.
“I need your love too mom. ” she replied.
…because there are years when the fullness of your heart tells you all you need to know about your place and role as a mom and then there are other years where you really, really need to know from the people you love that what you do matters, that you are seen, that someone cares and forgives you even if you haven’t been the greatest mom, that it’s okay that you are finding your way, that you rock this shit day in and day out, that the intent of your heart trumps everything. That they know just how deeply you love them.
So years were spent hoping they could see all that and mirror it back to me on this one day…the expectations held were enormous some years and others light as a feather. It wasn’t until I owned my need that there was real space for them to love me. It turned almost comical… “Guys! This has been a terrible mothering year for me, I NEED TO KNOW YOU GUYS LOVE ME! Okay?”
Some children shocked at such honesty, “Mom! That’s not true! You are a GREAT mom!”
While some other 3 year old nodded in the corner, she knew things actually had been pretty rough…but somehow love rises in our authentic need. I said where I wanted to go, or what I wanted and left just a little space for surprise. These were the best Mother’s Days…and some years there was no energy for even that and those are the years when we have to take care of each other.
This is when the circle widens and mothers celebrate mothers. This is when you Ding Dong Ditch flowers to mothers you love my friend. When you text the words you know she needs to hear. When you call her and whisk her away to chalk kind messages of love on other mothers’ sidewalks, or just escape for coffee to listen. This is when you receive what you need by offering it to someone else.
Whatever Mother’s Day you are having, there is space to need love and to receive it. Someone is holding it for you today and tightly, whoever it is, they are. You are loved.
Feel free to leave words of love to other mothers in the comments today…they will be for all of us.
March 23, 2012
It started with one friend I happened to meet in front of my house one day…over the years he brought some more friends but in the last few weeks every day someone brings someone new. I looked out in my back yard and before I knew it, there were about 20 kids, yep, 20.
And everyday I try to remember their names and we talk about school, and their families and every once in a while kindness. These kids play with my kids, and swing on the tree swing, ask me if they can have another clementine and tell me it’s okay my house is a mess when I apologize…and some days they just come to say hello and other days they stay…they are polite and kind, funny and some times a handful…and I am working my way through meeting their families, still so many to meet….and I love how our unintentional community rec center sort of unfolded together and the light they offer to me and my family.
It wasn’t long before I asked them if they wanted to go Ding Dong Ditchin’. They were totally in and yet still a little cautious. I thought back to the first time we went, and what a dark place I was in (even though you would never know in that old post). I was desperate to know kindness could change things for me, even if my world was falling apart…it was if I knew, somewhere deep, I had kindness… it would hold my hope for me when I was doubting and scared…or maybe it was just so dang fun, I just forgot all about my troubles.
Over the years as things got better, it just represented sheer joy and a thrill…and it turned into our signature act of kindness, which I so love. Even today, I’ll hear my friends talking or say, “Oh yeah, I got ding dong ditched….!!” and it always makes me smile, knowing how far kindness has traveled, and how we turned a prank into verbage of goodness.
…and I love how nervous I get just thinking about it, how my heart pounds, how hard we laugh, how we check to see if they got it…and how the rows of houses, apartments and places goes on and on…there will always be a need for anonymous kindness…
how it checks our perceptions and preconceived ideas about the world and each other, how it invites us to believe kindness is alive and stirs part of us to pass it on. I never, ever would have guessed what would come from one day of desperation and flowers and being with a gaggle of kids…but I am so, so grateful. It feels like I always return to the message my niece Madeleine wrote on the first card we ding dong ditched…Hope is never too far away.