I am participating in Quest2015, brainchild of Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder, a space where a wild bunch of glorious people are setting off to envision 2015 amidst visionary entrepreneurs, scientists, thought leaders, artists, writers, teachers and adventurers. This post is my response to the first (and a bit of the second) prompt. Yes, you may still join the adventure. Follow the links and be filled with wonder, awe and more grandness than you know right now.
I read Jen Louden’s prompt for Quest2015 just after I was hunkered down into a couple distinctly unsettling realities. I was in one of those distinctively anxious, “What on earth is the way out of this?” moments where I paced around my kitchen, my purple room, up and down my hall.
It got worse. Fresh out of the shower I marched to my 1939 sliding closet door to pick out something to wear to attend to my son’s IEP - an annual meeting for students receiving special education services which is in and of itself stress inducing - and the door refused to budge.
I tried a couple tricks and then ended up banging on the door, in tears, still stark naked.
“This is just like my life!” I shouted at the empty silence in my house.
“Grit without compassion is just grind. What would be most fun to create this year?
How can self-compassionate grit support you in that creating?"
I laughed some more, not as heartily, and found clothes to wear. Underwear, a dress in a perfectly lovely shade of blue, and remembered in five years what will I remember from this day?
My bet is I will remember standing in front of the closet door, laughing.
It might be hazy why I was laughing, but I’ll remember the laughing.
It is truly a “laughing with” rather than a “laughing at” the laughter Anne Lamott has described as “carbonated holiness.” Part of that “compassionate grit” is laughter like that. Grit being a sandpaper like presence, softly and gently and sometimes with more elbow grease and an element of forcefulness sloughing away that which isn't meant to be, I know I’ll create my way.
And then, step into....
The Next Day: I am feverishly preparing to go to Philadelphia tomorrow with Emma. I just got back from a family vacation in Morro Bay for Thanksgiving and somehow this East Coast trip seemed a long ways away when we made the plan rather than less than a week apart.
Now I am feeling the pressure yet trying to stay clean within the grace, especially given my self-created assignment from my #Quest2015 of Show up. Look up. Translate.
I was doing great until I misplaced my phone.
We all know phones are not just phones anymore, they are conduits to the entirety of our lives, they are simply labeled “phones” rather than life connecting devices. I remembered putting my life connecting device/phone in a “nook” as I rushed out the back door because in California in older homes, laundry rooms are oftentimes outside in the detached garage.
Well, when I came back and wanted to check on something “oh so important” on my phone, I realized it was gone.
I used breathing techniques.
I retraced my steps.
I looked in the obvious “nooks”.
I felt like I was about to lose my mind as well as my phone/life connecting device.
I cried out into the emptiness of my house again, for the second time in two days saying,
“Why do I lose things?”
There was no laughter this time.
What flashed in my mind was Naomi Shahib Nye’s poem, “Kindness” where she wrote:
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
And then that voice, the still one, the loving mother within responded, “You lose things so that you may find them.”
I looked up and there was my phone, on the edge of the dresser in the back bedroom, a sort of “nook like” place, I suppose.
There is more to say to this first prompt about fun and creating, but I feel compelled to honor this place where self-compassionate grit actually took form right in my house, which I have described as “empty” that is truly so rich and full.
I am not laughing today, I am crying. It is a self-compassionate crying, not a sorrowful woe-is-me crying. The tears are a reminder that all is well. That process is positive, even if it makes your heart bubble up in a less than comforting way momentarily.
And that’s just right.
I love how this is intertwining with Day 2 of our Questing Adventure (read about my ongoing discovery today over at a different post on this blog.) Once again, I am doing things sort of backwards or perhaps just different than the norm and that is entirely fine. Just right, even.
PLUS, loving ones, this is part of the fun I look forward to creating in 2015.
All the field trips and workshops and experiences I plan to shepherd are the richest when people can take what they discern, what they develop, what they fall in love with and utilize it in the context of their homes. Even and especially the ones that seem empty or missing something. These are the places that are, when we look up, filled with the rich presence of both our heartbeat and the heartbeat of the collective life force.
I’m grateful you are listening.
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming Fall and Winter, 2014 and beyond.
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