home to love…

June 14, 2013

my loves

 

…heading home to my loves after:

experiencing the gentle giants that are the redwoods, they were massive, so tall and had old souls,  yet fragile and so delicate to the touch

finding the courage, dare, and rush of crossing a snowy ridge while on a hike to a spectacular view of Crater Lake

being not quite the same after witnessing such beauty

crash and burning with someone I love

being cracked open in a way I never have before and unable to recover (imagine your inner 6 year old crying, crying, crying)

crying in at least 11 public places (including a white water rafting trip)

falling pretty much to the bottom after carrying too much for too long

releasing (in tears) what I have carried for myself and others for years

having a collective group of people help me

receiving more than I ever have before

finding such gentle truth and clarity at the bottom

still feeling so vulnerable and raw, but more hopeful by the second

having a strange calm and peace resting over me…

now heading home to love…a very messy, tender, and dear…

love.

(comments are closed but  you can reach me at patience@kindnessgirl.com if something is on your heart!)

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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…

photo (8)

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.

what gratitude can hold…

November 21, 2012

It’s starting….the gratitude lists, the thankfulness trees, the season of giving. The time when we take stock of all that we have. When we weigh and score it, and go back to recognizing that our most basic needs are met.

We remind ourselves that we have food (even if it’s ramen noodles), and shelter (even if we always pay the rent late) and are healthy (or mostly healthy, except for that annoying eczema) and it’s true, it’s all so very true and good and important…

…but why is it that this time of year also reminds you of everything you don’t have and shows the craters in your heart that need filling more than you want to know.  Your awkward conversations with your family drive you to liquor up for the 48 hours ahead… or that you shopped at the thrift store of food, the grocery salvage….or that it feels like everyone is in love around you and ridiculously happy…or you want to have your old family together and wish you didn’t have to travel between parents and be with your annoying stepmom…or you just wish that you had a baby to pass around or sit on your hip as you make the green bean supreme and 100 other side dishes.

It feels as though Gratitude asks us to stuff that shit or put it down completely, be GRATEFUL, damn it…and you do, you are, because we want to grateful. …but I wonder if Gratitude never asked us to choose in the first place.

I wonder if she can hold both, because she is that deep, she is that strong, because she knows all of our heart….

I wonder if she is strong enough to hold:

your sadness that your mom isn’t here to cook with you

your clarity of all that matters to you even if it’s sort of messed up

your confusion over why your family is so hard to be with or not together at all

that one prayer your dad still makes everyone pray that means so much to him

your anger for that really old thing that is still wounding you

your souffle triumph

your longing for something more, something whole, a love you haven’t experienced yet

your crazy aunt with all the cats

your frustration that the effin’ turkey is dry every year and no one wants to dress up to come to the table

your deep wish to be in another place in your heart all together

your small moment of happiness when everyone is full and happy after the meal

your kids that can’t sit still and want to bring the DS to the dinner table

your exhaustion from trying to make things special, and will maybe never been seen or acknowledged

your hope that maybe some day, you will be okay on a holiday

your grief, your messy love, your trying

~

I wonder if we let her hold it, it will make space for all the good things we do not see or think we are supposed to see and feel…and maybe just maybe, they can rise and sit together. Side by side, our everything hard and good…and  maybe that will be okay.

…because sometimes, just okay is okay.

maybe then, we can breathe…and let her hold us too.

the message tree…

December 10, 2011

“Do you think you can keep on going, I mean you made Thanksgiving dreams come true?” I asked him. We cooked the entire meal together, were up on butterball.com on various phones trying to figure out exactly what you do to the outside of the turkey, we high fived when everything was suprisingly and ridiculously perfect with the meal and family togetherness.

“Let’s go for it! Push the family magic odds…we are on a roll and everything…”

You know, there is always this sort of holiday valley after those peak Everest magical moments…or rather a holly jolly nose dive into everything real. This was the Christmas tree excursion:

1.  One of us, who shall remain nameless, was not exactly excited about the whole chopping-down-your-own-tree thing in the first place….but he/she went along with it.

2.The battery was dead when we got into the car to leave. Yet we weren’t thwarted, onward!

3. It was almost 3pm, the farm was an hour away, children still hadn’t even had lunch…yes, bad idea and parenting all around. So we stopped to grab food and crossed our fingers we could still make it before it got dark.

4. Kids were delirious upon arrival, the trees were sweet- although Charlie Brown-ish in nature, but still, this was just fine with us.

5. Jack and Josiah played tag until Jack’s shoe flew off and he stepped on a sharp twig or old tree stump- crying ensued.

6. Lucy begged/pleaded/whined for a tree nobody wanted.

7. We finally found one everyone liked except Josiah. Josiah also reminded us how often he has to suck it up- which is totally true so we decided he should get to pick the tree.

8. He picked a lovely, lovely tree…except when Jorge (the nameless) went to chop it down, he found a giant pile of dog poop.

9. Everybody laughed…because poop is funny.

10. We missed the memo that a kind tree farm friend would help carry the tree back, so Jorge carried it (along with 3 helpers that made it much harder) all the way back.

11. Got the tree measured and went to pay- tried not to faint when she told me the price- didn’t realize the fir trees were twice the cost of the rest of the trees. I smiled and gulped and told myself it was small business Saturday. Jorge whispered, “Merry Christmas!!” in my ear.

12. Kids got cider but there wasn’t enough and it burned Jack’s tongue. Everyone was now hungry for dinner even though we had just had lunch and on we went. Jorge said he would buy dinner to cheer me up.

13. I sighed/groaned like Marge Simpson and somehow soaked in the beauty of the pink sky on the way home…and managed to capture it from the moving family grouch mobile.

When we got home, I climbed in bed, ignored children, watched Hulu and slept. When I woke up very early, I found the tree in the corner with lots of tiny papers all rolled up and stuck in the netting. I opened each one and found little bits of art.

It was Lucy art- little post-its of sweet Christmas scenes, apparently her Christmas and tree experience was very much intact, still magical mountain stuff or maybe she had just moved on to the next moment. So I drew some pictures and messages and stuck them in the make shift tree mail box. We passed them back and forth for the next few days.

Part of me wished we could just leave it all that way and never open the tree up…but we did…and it was magical and messy and magical.

kindness changes everything…

November 10, 2011

Feeling so fragile these days…that usually happens when something is changing in me, or I see something I haven’t really noticed before…about myself, about the world.

So now, more than ever I see…

how much I still struggle wanting to be something I am not…

how all this is so much more than a project or missions…(even though those things are really, really good)

how I have a hard time defining or explaining any of it, because it is so deep…I usually just start to cry.

how at every turn I realize how deeply kindness has me which can be equally parts torturing and amazing…

some times I wish it was just something small, something simple, made for mass appeal, but it’s just not, I am not…

how this call is everything…

how i know on every level that kindness changes everything, but I didn’t realize all along, kindness is changing me.

 

…and all of that is really good, but feels a little hard today

your kind thoughts would be appreciated…

Kindnessgirl makes the October issue of O, The Oprah Magazine! I know, holy heck!!

About a year ago almost right at this time, I was a giant puddle on the floor. I was struggling so deeply with my kindness work, well, not my kindness work, just myself. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get out of my own way. I knew this work and way of life was meant to be shared and become a community in a new way but I was stuck. So many fears, mostly of being seen, being afraid of the power of it all and my long list of inadequacies, petrified of putting my heart and self completely out there, trying to figure out a way to do it safely. The big truth was, there was no safety, and deep down I knew it and then I sort of melted.

Sometime after that, I just started to find little bits of courage, to peel back the layers and be this sort of beautiful mess that I am in my head and heart. Slowly but surely, I could see I was always meant to believe and stand in this work fully, and just be the girl I am. Over and over again, like a broken record, I told myself that was all I had to do…live my life, follow each idea, call and say the words I know and am learning about kindness…and let kindness lead the way.

So, and I can’t even tell you how…but here I am. All I know is that I feel whole when I am in each moment of kindness, even the broken kind. A million of these moments, all added up and pieced together are the joy of my life. …and maybe my some kind of Wonderful. So I guess it was my breakdown that brought my breakthrough…and now to be seen and get to share my work and life in the O Magazine* is humbling, incredibly humbling…that despite myself, kindness finds me again.

If there is something hiding around in the back of your mind or heart, now is the time my friend. Everyone is just waiting for the goodness you are holding, it’s bigger than you anyway…it’s time. Anything, anything is possible…

and from the home front:


The lovely thing about children is that they have no idea or really care that you are in O Magazine, Lyra thought the mag would make a good hat. …or the lovely elderly woman we asked to take our picture with the magazine at Barnes & Noble was more concerned that I know my husband was very handsome and I should be nice to him…and she said she was too old to take any pictures. We ended up talking about her life for quite a bit…it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Lucy was obsessed with putting this bouquet together from the backyard garden flowers for the host of the football party we were late for. …and then I came home to this, I had been ding-dong-ditched by my good buddy Nora- with a picture of all the people on our street. And all the excitement over O and everything simple and true just sort of mixed together, and that felt so right. So very right.

So I have some things for folks to do to get their kindness going very soon, but until then, if you would like to know more, the guerrilla goodness page is a nice place to start, and here are a few stories about us finding our way…

Kindness is Magic

Sitting in Kindness

Of Mice and Lice

The Cycles of Great Kindness

If you think we should be Facebook friends or Twitter geeks together, please friend or follow, it would make my day!

And now about you…please tell me what has melted you this year in the comments, I’d love to hear.

*very special thanks to Joan Tupponce for writing the article and to Judi Crenshaw for sharing my story. ..and to my dear friend Meghan McSweeney for taking my picture in the article!  SO much gratitude to you all!

lyra grace

Her eyes alone can tell you she is almost three, ready to take on the world with the waffle headband and cherry boots she’s been rocking all summer. I have looked at this picture about 1,000 times this morning, mostly because she is making me crazy and I need a little reminder that I am actually in awe of her. She’s demanding and passionate, insisting that everything be done just so and now. She’s completely irrational.

For months I’ve had my eye on getting some big kindness work done, calling into being the ideas and dreams I’ve held close for quite some time. Something so exciting coming just this week (stay tuned) became a sort of deadline, the spark needed to set the roaring fire going. I’ve known for months, feeling the weight of the time approaching and still I procrastinated. It’s like almost impossible for me to work any other way, not to mention my kindness ADD where I am constantly distracted by the never ending opportunities surrounding me every where I go.

As I was gearing up my inner three year old this weekend, to call in all the help I need to pull something grand off, the flu descended upon my house. Well,  upon Jorge actually.

The flu, THE FLU. We went from pulling all nighters, throwin’ back the redbulls and high fivin’ in the morning over the amazing work done to please, please oh God, please don’t let it spread, massive amounts of Emergen-C, Lysol is now your best friend, hazmat quarantine, I can’t believe he is more than man-sick and HOW AM I EVER GOING TO GET IT DONE? …and I was mad, so mad because I thought it was going to be my time,  mad that I procrastinated, mad my children were needier than ever, mad that my poor husband had the flu.

How can you be mad at someone who is deathly ill with the flu?! Hello irrational thoughts…

The weekend went by, I gave impeccable care to Jorge with almost no bedside manner, barked at children and was generally grouchy and miserable. So this morning I woke up, threw on a waffle headband and some running shoes, prayed that Pandora would hold out and not stutter and freeze on my crappy phone and ran.  And for some strange reason, the Girl Talk channel spoke to me, the Universe conspired and played the exact right song after song until I reached the park where I promptly sat down and cried. …and I felt better.

On the way home a wise friend told me I may want to make friends with those irrational thoughts, sit in the humanity for a bit…so I could let them go (and not resent my dear family or treat them badly).  …and she was right because even when you are 3 or 34, you really just want someone to hear your rant, hold you and tell you all will be fine…whether you can’t have ice cream for breakfast or your spankin’ new kindness website won’t get done in time.

It’s really all okay… because the ice cream and website will be super sweet when the time is right. and you will get it…because you have your power headband on…and your cherry boots.