“That journey requires the practical skills needed to do the job, radical self-inquiry to understand what we’re really up to, and the sharing of the experiences to know we’re not alone.” -from REBOOT (see more about REBOOT below in Community Conversation.)
When in my early twenties my father paid for our family to take a trip to Jamaica. He rented a villa for us to stay in. After dinner, my father would go to bed, always an early to bed guy. (He got in his golf, meals and alcohol by then.) Once he was gone there would be a “dad bashing hour.” Here he was gifting us this incredible place but he, as always, was the bad guy, the fool, the cause to all our problems. A few years later my father was up for another trip to Jamaica. Particularly fond of the golf courses, the beautiful beaches and perhaps unknown even to him, enjoyed being surrounded by his entire family. But I didn’t feel this was right. To receive a gift in such a way. So, I spoke with everyone in the family individually to say I couldn’t go if we are going to bash him every night. Each conversation held its unique resonance or discord. I didn’t want to send out a letter to everyone expressing my angst. Something nudged me toward these more intimate one-to-one conversations. That something is part of who I am and how I am meant to show up in the world. I also went to my father and told him that I would not be going and why. Then my mother. Well, this was a game changer for my father apparently. There wasn’t another trip to Jamaica. (I am not implying here that some of their bashing didn’t have grounds in reality. It did.)
This story from the past came to me now because I’ve been concerned whether I am doing enough service, making a big enough difference. That question may have been a small motivation to take yoga teacher training I took recently. I found myself back in a beautiful community, this time of yogis, but the place, although claiming to be a safe and brave space was not that for me, nor do I believe fully for the other yogis. At my yoga teacher training a dark history and unspoken collective shadow surfaced. So, I spoke up. (More on this in part 2 of this 3 part series.) Through this experience I discovered (actually remembered) how I am doing service. How we all may be doing service one day, one conversation, one encounter at a time. Simply speaking our truth is a simple and profound service, especially when we are experiencing or witnessing an injustice or inequity. (No matter how small. No matter too if others do not agree with your view and understanding of the problem). Often we are alone, the only voice in the room that speaks to some discord, or unspoken agreement that binds us in unhealthy ways.
I am a bit of a whistle blower. I make good trouble by speaking up. That’s part of my work in the world.
So, my identified role of service is more about how I walk in the world, being truthful, with an inner ear always turned into my personal experience and inner wisdom. A willingness toward radical inquiry. My service comes in asking the questions that poke at me. In speaking up. (What questions are poking at you? Write about that!) My service comes into opening up to full conversations with others, and speaking my truth. And listening deeply to the other’s truth. I will add here that speaking up to others about what I love about them, or asking them how I might be of service is just as vulnerable and necessary as speaking up about injustices.
We don’t have to decide what we should do, or name that one purpose; all we have to do is walk our walk (as best we can); stay engaged and well, speak up. Listen to the other. Trust our experiences.
To acknowledge this way of being as service is a big deal to me right now. As I shared above, I was bothered that I wasn’t doing enough. That I was somehow not enough. I am enough. And where I come as I am and notice the poke, I am sure to get into or cause more good trouble.
This trusting our experiences (how we feel emotionally and physically and what we wonder, what we are questioning) is essential to living our truest life, a life of service.
We enter in
shifting, unknown, uncharted, yet to be determined ways.
Breath we have. Spark and salt, flesh and bone alive—and that is mostly triumph.
So, happens again and agains as we go,
the ground surrounding, by some turn, is laid bare of once familiar forms.
But there is no such thing as traversing alone,
as they say we come, or as they say we leave
(not so those either).
Still, you have to go through
your own disillusionment. I’m sorry for that. But that’s not the test--
it will be something more like:
once through, did you salvage
your child mind?
Can you respond once more with trust or hope,
with generosity or mercy, in your world since—revealed?
A trading of parts, being part, and taking part, is this life.
And you already embody the whole Holy within revelation.
This, and the stars in you, is all true.
For some thread of finest spark, Wisdom spun, and handed along,
bursts with torch brilliance when held
aloft. Lights the paths of many. Yours too,
who once received? Pass it. That’s all. And when you see
its brighter—yet spinning and higher—yet reaching in the hands of another and another
be joyful. Your burden was Light,
your work well done.
–Taken from The Clue of the Red Thread: Discovering Fearlessness & Compassion during difficult times, poem by Rebecca Cecchini
So now, this blog, COME AS YOU ARE. . .
Places that do not hold an invitation to come as you are, are not safe for the soul or body. When I taught a social work class at the UW for a few years I was told that we are no longer, as teachers, responsible for making space “safe." Instead these are meant to be “brave” spaces. A place where we can be vulnerable and courageous. This raises questions. How can a place invite courage that is not safe? And who is responsible for safe space? There is so much I want to share with you about brave and safe spaces! Which is one reason I have created a 3-part blog-series on How Change Happens. (So more on brave and safe spaces in the following 2 blogs). I want to explore ways to have our shared spaces while maintaining a good connection to that inner wisdom. Always listening to our inner knowing’s; to our felt experiences, and listening to others deeply so that we can speak our truth when that inner poke arrives. Always dependent upon taking responsibility for our experiences and engaging in radical self-inquiry.
To Come as you are can be an invitation into all our shared spaces. An invitation to be ourselves. Come as you are can be a sacred thread that weaves through our many places we lead and teach. Come as you are is a reminder to show up as yourself, with all your leanings and knowings.
To change the world we start where we are, we listen to and trust our felt experiences where we discover what to say or do, just at the right time.
For further explorations on the page:
Where are places you feel a strong invitation to be yourself? Write about that.
Where have you not trusted a felt experience? Write about that.
What places are not invitational to you or others? Write about that
What to you is safe or/and brave space? And who makes it so? Write about that.
Welcome to our COMMUNITY CONVERSATION
You are not alone, join the conversation!
YES!-A Better World Today magazine is a great resource for us change agents and good trouble makers. Here is an article that just came out this past week that resonates with the message I shared with you today: The Social Science Behind How Change Happens. (free or donations welcome)
JOIN me and others in my upcoming The Clue of the Red Thread Circle: Exploring Self through writing, radical inquiry and ceremony. A spiritual, communal and explorative journey toward an inner and outer Self that is the best expression of who you are now. An invitation to explore what's next for you; to engage in a transformative circle with others, to discover your truest self and calling now through radical inquiry. 2nd Tuesday evenings, starting on SEPTEMBER, 14th 2021. We meet in Mount Horeb for a year. (Zoom if weather prevents travel). For more information: The Clue of the Red Thread. Register: here
Did my mention of Jamaica peek an interest to travel there? Here is a resource: Volunteer in Jamaica. Discover the beauty of this island while doing service. This includes volunteer teaching projects.
REBOOT What a find! I discovered this company while addressing the recent encounter I had around an organization’s dark past and active shadow. (More on this in the next blog in this series) “Reboot is a coaching company. Our comprehensive offerings serve leadership development for individuals, teams, and entire organizations. We believe that in our work lies the possibility of the full realization of human potential. Work doesn’t have to destroy us. Work can be the way we achieve our fullest selves.” -Reboot’s home page. Through radical self-inquiry and shared experiences they encourage a path to enhanced leadership.
Please share what you are up to for future Community Conversations.