All or Something


After writing every day for Advent, I dropped off the face of the earth for awhile. I'm not one of those bloggers that spends time apologizing for that, and I've been very absorbed in my bricks-and-mortar life. But I do have a confession to make. I'm an all-or-nothing person, and there have been lots of things I've wanted to say here, but their possible imperfection or not having photos or feeling overwhelmed has kept me. My recipe index is broken (sorry!) and it will take hours to redo. (Hint: use the "search" feature.") I barely write about food anymore. I forget to take photos. I need to put in a widget for email subscription. So I tend to avoid the whole thing altogether. Helen Palmer says my Enneagram Type (a ONE) falls victim to a "Scorched Earth Policy"--if it's not perfect, burn it down! (For more on the Enneagram, come to my workshop in Bellingham on March 25! Shameless plug for a tool that's changed my life.)

So here I am, on a Friday morning, avoiding doing my taxes, finally sitting down to say something. I've just come through possibly the busiest 8 weeks of my life, still in my year of single parenting and enjoying the fact the everyone and their brother has asked me to coach them or consult to their organization or help them write a paper. It's been thrilling and fulfilling, I've felt plugged into Spirit, and every day has brought in what's needed. I'm also exhausted, miss being outside, and miss my friends. And have worried that I'll lose some of them during this time.

But despite my busyness and my "all-or-nothing" illness, what continues to inspire me is the everyday diligence of those around me. I was with a group of grocery store employees yesterday, and I had asked them to be collecting stories of interactions with customers that were meaningful. COME ON! They had me crying 30 seconds in. One woman is a checker at a grocery store in military town. For her early morning shift, she knew she'd see a stream of young men coming in to buy flowers. She stocked her checkstand with boxes and tissue paper and determined that she'd take the price stickers off every sheet of cellophane that came through her line, no matter how long it took her. By the end of the day she was covered with stickers and bits of leaves, but she said, "I knew I was making a difference." I'm crying again writing about it.

One store manager recounted a story of a customer carrying her bakery cake out of the store. She tripped and fell, her cake was wrecked, and she got a bloody lip. He went to sit by her while she was waiting for her cake to be redone, and cracked some jokes that made her laugh despite her embarrassment and frustration. He said his goal for the day had been to "make a friend." And that's just what happened.

I've also been thinking about the Women's March, both drafting off the energy there and feeling a little lost about next steps. It occurs to me that I'm a writer and facilitator, and now's the time to be doing my thing, perfectly or not. To that end, here's another poem.

And wherever you are today--taking your kids to basketball practice, drafting a proposal, transporting sick patients to the hospital, wiring a house, cooking a meal, cleaning your inbox--may you notice YOURSELF in all your little moments of diligence, and may you feel loved.

Postcard from the Protest

We make signs, my children and I,
about love and Girl Power,
and find there's 10,000 others in our town
who've made them, too.
Considering what we're protesting,
we should be laughing less
and it should be raining.
But there is sun, and lightness,
and babies and singing,
and we belt out a few rounds of
This Land is Your Land,
and if you look around,
there are some tears, including mine,
and I'm remembering those on this gray morning,
and thinking of all you marchers
making coffee, going to work,
keeping the song alive
from California to the New York Islands,
this song of hope and sadness,
of loving and living in reality.