So grateful to have my friend Nicki Peasley once again carry this blog along. There are days when I want to say things, but I just can’t. …and every time this sort of happens too many days in a row, Nicki pops up, like somehow she knows…because we are in this together, because this blog belongs to her and her heart, the same way it does to all of us who love and want to follow kindness. Enjoy her tender wisdom today…

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photo and essay by Nicki Peasley

I have been living in a medley of metaphors this year. Reality seems an illusion.  Its noise hushed by some mysterious universal rhythm.   It is from this transcendent place, which in the past would have caused me great anxiety, I am beginning to discover the life that flows beneath life, the sweet poetry available to each and every one of us on our collective journey to wholeness.

I’ve been teaching and co-creating with children around the African philosophy of Ubuntu.  Which means, we are each of us brilliantly unique AND we are ONE.  And each time I experience the “story circle” that brings this idea to life, I can feel my bones and my heart and my spirit expanding to more fully hold the paradox of the individual and the collective, our difference and our sameness.   My brain, on the other hand, is working double time to keep up.  The challenging mental chatter… How can I be in my unique power AND surrender to the simplicity and comfort of oneness? 

I’ve always been more at home in the ethereal world than in my own body.   My energy worker (brilliant alchemist that she is) smiles when she tunes into my chakras. There’s very little going on below my heart, but at the heart and above is big and bold and untamed energy, a lot of it.   So my task (one of many on my healing path) is to harness that high vibration and embody it.  To redefine power as love and co-create from that human place.

Hmmm, what’s a girl living outside of her body to do, but take a whole-hearted leap into some purple (and floral) Doc Martens.  Bring some Heaven into my feet.  And dance though the hallway of life, not banging down any doors, barely even knocking, just being accessible to possibility.  Waiting for a door to open, an invitation to be extended, an opportunity to practice being in my power AND creating oneness with the world.

And guess what?  It’s working.  Somehow though this frivolous shoe metaphor, I am learning to embrace my humanity.  To love the messiness of being in a body.  To expand my definition of purity (that I always equated with divinity) to include the shame and fear necessary in the organic unfolding of human being.

“The house” has a big place in this discovering process, as well.  Bear with me as I mix metaphors.  We spend the first half of our lives (which, according to Richard Rohr, has nothing to do with age and everything to do with human development) building our identity and putting some thick walls around it to protect it.  We tuck shame away in the basement and show the world our pretty faces.  Then one day, through some crisis, the house falls down.  And we are living among our demons, and scared out of our pants.

So, we frantically start to rebuild our house, our identity. Until we find some courage to take a risk, to gently lean into the fear to finally uncover the bliss of true freedom, outside of those walls that we thought defined us and protected us.

As we move through the world in this raw and vulnerable way, we have no choice but to name and expose and finally love our personal shame.  To admit that evil may exist  AND, because we are All of it,  we have the capacity to be evil, just as we have the capacity to be pure.  And we learn to love each other, not despite our darkness, but because of it.

And somewhere on our individual hero’s journeys, we come upon a perpetual campground filled with other people whose houses have fallen down.  People who have also entered the second “half” of life, who are dancing the sacred dance TOGETHER.   People who have stopped trying to be special and have started to just be.  And we understand that we don’t have to build another house.  We are already home.

I’ve connected with some amazing people on this campground. And experienced the true spirit of oneness. Prayers for Ubuntu answered.

I met “Angel” about a year ago.  She sits on the rail and takes care of the cats.  She has no home (literally), yet she is always joyful and grateful and kind.   Our encounters have been serendipitous, filling each other with the necessary comforts of real time and the necessary wisdom of REAL time.

Last week, we went to an RV lot to explore the possibility of a home for Angel.  I went in a bit blind, without the important information I really needed to act as her advocate.  My husband’s caution ringing in my head, I ignored it, choosing to let Love lead.  And lead it did.

We were greeted by a woman at the shop who was busy preparing for the big RV show at the fairgrounds.   Her humanity took up the whole room. She introduced herself as Shelby and then apologized for her shoes (she was trying to break them in and evidently she didn’t think they went with her outfit).  I directed her attention to my purple floral boots, which certainly didn’t “go” with my outfit either—but did “go” with my personality.  She liked that.

Shelby shook Victoria’s hand, looked her in the eye, and said, “How can I help?”  Victoria handed her an ad from 2011 for a very reasonably priced used RV.  Shelby smiled and said how honored she was that Victoria had held on to the ad for so long.  Then to Angel’s obvious disappointment and embarrassment, Shelby said she no longer had RVs in that price range.

“But let me show you what we have. Let’s see what might suit you.”  For the next hour and a half, Shelby showed us every model on the lot.  She shared her story and listened deeply to ours. She stepped out of the RVs to give Angel privacy to “feel the space.”  “Lay down on that bed, Lady.  Can’t buy an RV that you’re not comfortable in.”

Back in the office, Shelby ran some numbers.  She completed a loan application. She called her personal banker to ask questions..  She held us with compassion and respect…and a deep and sacred sense of our shared humanity.

Ahhh, what is possible when we stand in our purple boots, in our unique power AND in our sameness, our oneness!

 

A parting metaphor as my mind still struggles to hold the paradox of power and surrender.

We are in a canoe, together.  I am in yours. You are in mine.  We are flowing through the river of innocence.  So in tune with the ALL of it, with the life beneath life.  We  know when to exert our will, when to row; and we know when to be still and let the river hold us.   We are in the flow of life.  Embraced by the mystery.  Living Ubuntu.  Living Love. Together.

nicki peasley love

 

Nicki Peasley is a student of life and a teacher of love.  In the past, she developed curricula and worked (played and learned and told stories) with elementary and middle school youth.  Now, she is living in the question of what’s next.  Perhaps just being human is more than enough.

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a love story…a life story

February 4, 2013

I am so honored to have my friend Nicki share the love story of our dear friend Jen…this is what living a life of deep love and kindness looks like, in the face of incredible mountains…love looks ahead, while we hope and pray.

A Love Story…A Life Story

by Nicki Peasley

Old friends remind us of who we were in our innocence.  And give us the space to grow in wisdom, to become who we are meant to be.  Old friends don’t see our wrinkles or our extra 5 pounds; we are forever 16 in their eyes.  Old friends love our kids unconditionally because they see us in their moodiness and drama.   Old friends hold us close and let us go.  They are our home.

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Jen and Maury Cave are my old friends.  And this is their story.

It all began in high school. They knew of each other, but their circles rarely overlapped, for obvious reasons.  Jen was the captain of the dance team, strutting her stuff every Friday night on the football field, while Maury was usually found smoking cigarettes under the bleachers with his tie-dyed tribe.

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It wasn’t until the end of high school that they really noticed each other.   It was on a warm summer night, at a pool after hours.  Maury was wearing a pair of girl’s floral shorts singing, “There are Stars in the Southern Sky,” and Jen was so smitten that she saved the wrapper from the gum he gave her that night.  She still has it.

Fast forward to the college years.  Jen and Maury had lost touch until one fateful evening when Jen set out with her friends to meet a “mountain man. “ And when Maury, with his shaggy hair, blue jeans, and boots, saddled up beside her at the bar, Jen knew he was exactly who she was looking for.

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Maury was a gentleman throughout their courtship.  When he’d spend the night at Jen’s apartment, he’d sleep on the couch with his boots on.  He was a man of few words, but his actions spoke loudly.  So it was no surprise to his tribe of friends (that included me) when he asked Jen to be his wife.

It was a perfect Southern spring wedding, a plethora of pink and plum and happily ever after. Jen and Maury danced their first dance to “It Had To Be You,” Maury crediting his moves to all his years in Cotillion, and Jen, a vision in white, flowing across the dance floor like an angel.

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Just two weeks after the wedding, Jen and Maury’s happily ever after was abruptly disrupted. Jen was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called FSGS, a condition which would ultimately destroy her kidneys. For the next 6 years, she and Maury endured all the challenges that came with Jen’s illness.  These were very difficult times for both of them, but they navigated the rough waters with patience and compassion and love.

When Jen’s kidneys failed, her family and friends were tested as potential donors.  And Maury was the best match. Not only were they a match made in heaven, but so were their kidneys.

The night before the surgery, Maury and Jen shared a hospital room.  Maury slept, but Jen lie awake for most of the night, watching her husband and giving thanks to her angels for the love she’d found with him.

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The surgery was a success and Jen’s health improved slowly.  She and Maury were enjoying their professional lives and they had a great group of friends, but what they want more than anything was a family. The couple knew that Jen’s body wasn’t strong enough to endure a pregnancy so they decided to adopt.

On August 20, 2005, Maria Cristina was born in Mazatenango, Guatemala.  She lived with a lovely foster family for the first 7 months of her life.  During that time, Jen and Maury received pictures and video clips of their daughter.  They couldn’t wait to hold her in their arms.

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Finally, the day came for Jen and Maury to travel to Guatemala to meet their little angel.  As the foster mother placed Maria Cristina in Jen’s arms, the beautiful little soul became Gabriella Cristina Fontaine Cave.

That first night on Forest Hill Avenue, Maury stayed awake to watch Gabi sleep. Standing in the doorway of the nursery, Jen remembered the night she’d stayed awake watching Maury sleep, the night before he saved her life.  Now, it seemed, they were all saving each other.

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Over the next 7 years, Gabi and parents grow together in love, but Jen’s health issues continued to be a central theme in this family’s story.

Many people think that kidney transplant is a cure for all kidney disease.  Not so.  In Jen’s case, she still has FSGS (a condition that continues to weaken her kidneys).  The transplant, which on average is viable for 10 years, only prolongs her life.

Learn more about FSGS here.

Another little known fact is that in order to avoid kidney rejection, all kidney transplant patients must take an incredible amount of medications for immuno-suppression, blood pressure, cholesterol, ulcers, anti-anemia. And these medications have harsh side effects like swelling, bone weakness, and exhaustion, interfering with any kind of “normal” living.

Furthermore, any time Jen gets sick with a common cold or virus, she usually ends up in the hospital, as fever and dehydration can cause kidney rejection.  Over the past 10 years, Jen has been in the hospital 13 times for observation or surgeries related to post-transplant complications.

While the physical challenges Jen endures are extremely difficult, it is the emotional piece that causes her the most pain. She is a mother.  And she wants nothing more than to play hide and seek with her daughter and to teach her how to ride a bike.  But more often than not, she doesn’t have the energy.  Gabi is deeply connected to her mother, often suffering from separation anxiety.   While she doesn’t understand Jen’s condition, there is never a time when she doesn’t feel safe and loved in her mom’s arms.  And, from my perspective as Jen’s friend and Gabi’s godmother, that’s more than enough.

Now we turn the page of this love story to present time.  While Jen and Maury have known that the transplanted kidney might only last 10 years, they hoped to beat the odds.  But last month, Jen learned that she needs a second transplant.  Her name will be put on “the list” this month, the anniversary of Maury’s beautiful gift to his wife 10 years ago.

Jen’s outlook is positive and realistic.  Her family and friends will be tested and she is encouraged by the recent kidney transplant trend of paired donation  (www.paireddonation.org), in which donors and kidney patients are placed on a national registry to be matched.  So, while a friend or family member may not be a match for Jen, he may be a match for someone across the country whose friend or family member, another willing donor, is a match for Jen.  Henrico Doctors actually performed an 11-way paired donation.  Check out this inspiring story out of Iowa here.

This is truly the clearest illustration of our deep and sacred connection to each other.  Ubuntu.  I am because we are.

Jen never leaves her house without a smile on her face.  Because of her heroic effort to maintain normalcy, few know the extent of her physical challenges. And even fewer are aware of the emotional and psychological impact her condition creates in the life of her family. Beyond this day to day stress, Jen is also wise to the difficult road to recovery post transplant.

Behind her beautiful smile is the anxiety of a mother and wife, a daughter and a friend.  A dancer at heart, Jen is choreographing the routine of her life, a sacred flow between fear and hope.  Jen is fighter and she knows no greater weapon than Love.   And as her old friend, I can attest that she’s got plenty of that… within her and all around her.

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Note:  Jen asked me to share her story for 3 reasons: 1) to help her friends and family understand her condition on multiple levels 2) to educate the public about kidney disease and transplant, and 3) to give voice to her pain, so that the energy of the “kindness community” can help her and her family heal.

Jen was very critical of the words I chose to tell her story, as she did not want this to read as a plea for a donor.  More than anyone I know, she recognizes the fragility of life and the commitment we make to our children when we bring them into the world… or, in Jen’s case, into our family.  My old friend is a realist with an enormous heart… and she wants nothing from you but your prayers.

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To share some love with Jen as she continues on her healing journey, contact her at jen_cave@yahoo.com.

PastedGraphic-11 …. Me and Gabi doing yoga on the beach.  I love my goddaughter and her mom and dad.

Nicki Peasley is a student of life and a teacher of love.  In the past, she developed curricula and worked (played and learned and told stories) with elementary and middle school youth.  Now, she is living in the question of what’s next.  Perhaps just being human is more than enough.

listening to the trees…

November 18, 2012

My dear friend Nicki Peasley guest posts for me today…I often lean forward when she speaks, just waiting for her wisdom and goodness. She holds space in a really tender way, you can read more of her soul magic here and here.

Listening to the Trees

 I have been hugging lots of trees lately.  In gratitude for their unconditional love for us crazy humans.  No matter how careless we are, the trees continue to offer us their beauty, inspiration (literally), solace from the rest of the world… their lives.

Trees have no ego.  While I sense their acceptance of human appreciation, they don’t expect it.  They don’t need it. They are here to watch over us.  Still and all powerful.  Yet so very vulnerable.

Before Hurricane Sandy came through, my kids and I went around our neighborhood hugging the trees, infusing them with our compassion and wishing them strength through the storm. And once again, even on the brink of what could have been their destruction, they offered us their compassion, their strength.  No fear, only this amazing sense of calm and acceptance for what is, what will be.

There are conversations among the trees.  And if we listen with open hearts, we can even hear them speaking softly to us.   This is what they tell me.

“Slow down. Take a moment to stop. Plant your feet in the earth.  Intermingle your roots with ours.  Extend your branches and feel yourself filling with the sun pouring in through your crown. Allow any leaves that are no longer serving you to fall to the ground. And hold loosely the leaves that still adorn your being.  For they too will fall in time.  Trust… and surrender. “

I carry the tree’s wisdom with me throughout my days.  I watch the world through the eyes of our wooded friends to see the endless human race and all of its dynamics.

The champion, leading the pack with easeful and brilliant stride; those determined to be the champion, passion in their eyes; the walkers, who just keep moving, unattached to any outcome; the cheering crowd, dancing and merrymaking on the sidewalks; the injured, defeated and hopeless… and those tender souls who care for them.

We have all played each of these roles at some time in our lives, perhaps even several at a time.    But unless we take time to stop (even the champion can stop for a moment) to honor the raw vulnerability of every human experience, we are missing out on the message of the trees.

I’ve had a cramp (to extend the metaphor) the last few months. And while it has loosened its grip on me, I am still not quite ready to start running again.  Often, I veer off the course entirely, finding myself in the woods… with the trees.

And then I return to the streets, to the activity of living.  The people run by me, toward their next achievement, their next accolade, the crowd cheering for them. And I notice the volume of my ego increasing.  “Get moving, girl.  You’ve got stuff to do. You’re wasting time.  Make your vision a reality.  This just being isn’t enough. Go. Go. Go.”

But I am quick to catch myself in this destructive pattern. And I am learning to find great contentment in being the tree. Appreciating each season of release, stillness, rebirth, and awakening.  Watching and acting with intention, without attachment to ego, and manifesting simple gestures born of Spirit.

At the beginning of the month, I started a Grow Gratitude movement at my youngest child’s school.  I experience gratitude as the purest and most profound way to connect to self and other.  To focus on what’s right in our lives and in our world, instead of what’s wrong. To appreciate others not for a gift but for being the gift.  To open ourselves up to all the little miracles of every moment.

And to see this understanding unfold at an elementary school is nothing short of magic.

Ms. Campbell’s Class, getting primed for a whole school Gratitude Gathering in which they use their voices and sign language to express the community’s collective appreciation.

On the playground making gratitude chains (to wrap around the cafeteria) and gratitude bracelets. What is making your heart sing in this moment?

A lucky ladybug joining the Lovefest.

“Fox Rocks,” hidden around the school.  When you find one, express your gratitude to another and pass it on… (these rocks had been soaking up the wisdom of the trees forever… and agreed to leave the woods to spread some love among the humans)

For faculty and staff, a message attached to a love stone. (Suzanne Vinson’s amazing art work)

Love leads us to beautiful places when we allow it to.  And on that journey, we are wise to stop every now and then to hug a tree and listen to the message it has for us.  Then, when we are ready to start running again in that crazy human race, it will be with joy and ease and Heaven in our feet.

A meditation to do with your children on Thanksgiving Day…which is really any and every day.

*

Close your eyes or look down.  You may place your hands on your heart or rest them on your legs.  Take a slow deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth so that a very soft sound is made.  Picture yourself surrounded by beautiful light.  As you breathe in, inhale the light and feel your body filling with it.   And as you breathe out, exhale all the yucky stuff that has taken up space in you—any pain, any anger, any worries.. let them all go in your breath. So that you feel completely at peace in your body, in your mind, in your heart, and in your spirit.

Now imagine yourself in a safe and happy place.  Maybe you are on beach, in the forest, in a cozy room, on a mountaintop.  Sit comfortably in your special place and feel the peace it offers you.  Now, as if you are watching a movie that is your life…

See all the places that bring you joy (your home, your school, the swimming pool, the beach…) What places make you smile?

Now see the things that bring you joy (pizza, your bike, your computer, your favorite stuffed animal…)  What things make you smile?

Now see all the experiences that you have enjoyed in your life (vacations, soccer games, birthday parties, holidays…) What experiences make you smile?

Now, most importantly see all the people you are grateful for (your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends, your teacher, your coach…) Who makes you smile?

Allow that smile to show on your face and feel the gratitude that is bursting out of your heart.  Offer the sign for thank you.  Give yourself a hug.  And slowly, open your eyes.  May you hold this feeling of peace and gratitude in your hearts always.

*

Nicki Peasley is a student of life and a teacher of love.  In the past, she developed curricula and worked (played and learned and told stories) with elementary and middle school youth.  Now, she is living in the question of what’s next.  Perhaps just being human is more than enough.

She’s back…oh, how we need her bravery and kindness. My dear friend Nicki Peasley guests posts for me today as I recover from a crazy run of kindness stuff, just trying to follow her lead in love. You can read more of her goodness here.

Love is my favorite 4- letter word (although my children would tell you I have a fondness for many others).   If I had to claim the skill set of which I am most proud, at the top of the list would be kindness, compassion, and gratitude (and the ability to share these gifts authentically and creatively with others).   Yep, my whole life, I’ve been pursuing the art of being human, well on my way to becoming a master “love teacher.” (Yes, I’ve really introduced myself that way).

But as it turns out, my love train was missing a critical source of fuel. While loving others kept my engine going for a long time, I had forgotten the most important ingredient in navigating the journey through life…loving myself.

About 6 months ago, I began to spiral into a dark hole of depression and anxiety.  Despite my obvious unraveling, I kept practicing Love with a vengeance, (there’s an oxymoron)—desperately seeking to defeat the spiral with kindness, compassion, and gratitude—for others.  If I could just do a little more for the world, I would be ok.  I would be enough.  I refused to listen to the voice within that was crying out,  “Stop.  Rest.  Eat a bag of Cheetos. Watch a Desperate Housewives re-run!”

Until Self refused to be ignored any longer.  And she went on a sleeping strike.  Now, when you mix a case of insomnia with a biochemical imbalance (that I’ve managed since my early 20’s), a type A personality (I can always get one more errand, one more e-mail, one more chore in before car pool), extreme tendencies toward perfectionism (Damn, I forgot a comma in that blog), an excessive need for approval (ask nicki—she can’t say no) and my own soul story (which includes a martyr, an empath, and a warrior)— you’ve got recipe for big batch of breakdown brownies.

I should share, too, that 9 months ago, I gave up my 18- year affair with anti-depressants.  I thought that at 40 years old, certainly, I had all the experience and wisdom and skills and tools I needed to keep myself thriving.   And, of course, Love conquers all, right?  Wrong.

Back on meds, my mind is beginning to settle.  I am seeing some light again—within me and all around me.   And there are still times when I feel as if my body has electric currents running through it.  While I once resisted this feeling with every cell of my being, I am now able to greet it with softness, curiosity and acceptance.  Knowing that it will pass, just like all emotions do.

I read a passage by Pema Chodron (a brilliant teacher of loving kindness) in which she described her experience with anxiety.  When she went to her teacher for solace, he told her that what she was feeling was actually a form of spiritual bliss! And its intensity, albeit painful, was nothing to be feared.  And as she learned to lean into the pain, she discovered the bliss.

Amazing how a shift in perspective can allow one to hold the human condition (whatever it is) is a whole new light. Could it be that anxiety is really Love in disguise?  A painfully deep and beautiful connection to self and other, to the earth, to Spirit, to the light and dark of it all?  That, perhaps, there is great power in raw vulnerabilty?  Hmm…I’m open to the possibility.

Like all challenges, this episode in my life has come with a huge gift.  The gift of learning to love myself.  To practice kindness and compassion and gratitude—for myself.  To bathe in the healing energy of the sun, listening deeply to my true voice, whispering sweet nothings (that are really everythings), “May I be safe.  May I be strong. May I be healthy. May I be happy.  May I accept what is.  May I be free of suffering.  May I be at peace.“

And it is from this place of being peace that I can easily set aside my infatuation with goals and to do lists and high self-expectations.   And realize that it is my imperfections that make me beautiful.  That my presence is enough.  That my worth is not defined by my achievements.  It is defined by Love.

Love that is made manifest in the contemplation of a leaf; in the mindful eating of an apple; in a roadside conversation with a homeless woman; in a meal prepared for a neighbor; in some early morning snuggling with a beloved child; in coffee and tears shared with a friend; in the embracing of a tree; in offering a simple smile to a stranger.

And it is from my meditation for self- healing that I send on the wind loving kindness for the world. “May all creatures be safe, strong, healthy, happy, free of suffering, at peace…”

I am a work in progress. There are many times when I find myself shifting back into old and destructive thought patterns… and I have to begin again.  To hold my heart with gentle hands.  To breathe.  And watch a mindless tv show with a bag of Cheetos.

During this season of stillness, I am learning to live in my body in a graceful and

loveful way. To trust and surrender. To hold fear and shame and anger with as much

tenderness as I hold joy and sadness.  For to be an authentic love teacher,

I must cultivate the courage to hold it all.  And to love myself unconditionally—in

darkness and in light.

*

Nicki Peasley is a student of life and a teacher of love.  In the past, she developed curricula and worked (played and learned and told stories) with elementary and middle school youth.  Now, she is living in the question of what’s next.  Perhaps just being human is more than enough.

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 MEWE, and our little North Side World.

Ubuntu. 

 

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.