Friday, January 30, 2009

Do you feel the earthquake?

Seems like the earth is rumbling under my feet. We have definitely come to a huge tipping point, I hope, and who knows what kinds of things might happen.

A new president and many new possibilities. Yes, we have lots to do to recover from this huge mess we've dug ourselves into. And one man can't make it all better. Well, I don't know about you, but I have more hope now for eventual rebuilding then I did some months back. I'm ready to do more, doing my part. Yes, we can!

And what a different world we present to children. You really can grow up to be and to do anything you set your heart on. I know, it also takes a good dose of luck and connections and being at the right place at the right time, but hope and belief go along way in preparing the road ahead.

I'm thinking a lot these days about what we can do and I think these times definitely require action. How can we give our kids hope? We can talk with them about their dreams. We can show them through our example that we live in this world community together and must all help out. We can be more conscious and aware of what's going on around us. We can smile lots more. We can turn the TVs and computers off and go outside - rain or shine. We can take kids to neighborhood clean-up events. We can turn on the music and dance... or get out the drums and make some joyful noise!

The earth is moving under my feet... I gotta get moving. Are you coming?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Community Building - Change is comin'!!

Hey, times are tough, but change is coming. This morning in church many eyes were tearful with anticipation as we all held hands and sang, "We shall Overcome." This won't be easy times. But, when we all work together, we can rebuild this hurting country, and reach out to the world. I'm so excited and full of hope. My hope is that Barack Obama will create a presidency that feels very different from what we have experienced in recent years.

Diversity is encouraged. New ideas will be flowing. We will all be called to serve our country in some way, through volunteering and reaching out to others.

In recent years, too many have adopted a feeling of entitlement. The American Dream isn't about a free ride. The dream is fulfilled when we all work together. In America we can speak our mind. We have freedom and choices, but not if our choices are going to hurt others.

I will be watching lots of TV in the next few days, joining others in our national celebration. A big part of my joy is for today AND for future generations. What a message this gives to children. You can become whatever you want to be. And we are all behind you lending our support. Yes we can.... build "a more perfect union." Yes, we can!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tough Times - Part 5 Community Building

During tough times and all times, we can't do this alone... this being life. We aren't meant to be isolated, and in fact, when we become isolated, times get tougher. And yet when I am feeling crummy, one of the first things I do is shut myself off from others. There's a difference between seeking quiet, meditative time to ponder our next steps, and closing the doors to companionship and support.

In these times we're in now, and in the near future, community is going to become even more important. I believe many people today are starved for connection. And yet, isolation and loneliness make it more difficult for us to reach out. Children can be natural connectors for us. When one of my sons was three, he would smile and enthusiastically greet strangers when we were out and about, "Hi, my name's Wade. What's your name?" And they need us to encourage their comfort with friends and competence in social settings.

So, we must be proactive. What can we do to build community? Here are a few simple "small steps" that I am going to take:
* I'm going to connect more with my neighbors.
* When I'm feeling stressed, I'm going to make more of an effort to call someone.
* I'm going to continue to make walking "dates" with friends.
* I'm going to smile more and greet people when I am at the store or doing errands.

More than ever, there are many changes that must be made to create a sustainable future. Building strong communities must be right at the heart of this effort.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tough Times - Part 4 - Small steps - Do Something

Times are tough and it is easy to get overwhelmed and stuck. I offer this reflection from Chris Trout at -

This week's reflection is about you. How is it going? Are you moving toward what you want? "A-a-ck" you say! "Be careful where you tread. I'm feeling a little vulnerable these days."

Why is this so often the way it feels? For we...
  • Want to take action in our lives.
  • Intend to ask for and advocate for what we want.
  • Are committed to taking the first steps.
  • Are determined not to let another day pass.
But it (another day) does pass. And we don't (act). And we regret. And we lose steam. Then time goes by, we have an insight or revelation that will make it all different this time, and we start the whole process over again (albeit having peeled back yet another layer of our ever-so-complicated psyches).

Sound familiar? Here's the good news: You are so not alone. Here's the bad news: You aren't nearly as uniquely complicated as you had hoped. ("Yes I am! Leave me alone!")

So what to do?

Anything. That's right. Do any tiny, miniscule, pathetic, insignificant little thing even remotely related to what you want. It needn't be the right thing or the most productive or what anyone else thinks you should do. Just do any one thing - right now, today. Then tonight (and this is the important part), look yourself in the mirror - I mean it, literally look at yourself in the mirror - and thank yourself. Say, "________, I appreciate your action on __________. Way to go. See you back here tomorrow night." Do it again tomorrow.

This is how success works. Not very complicated. Not so dramatic. Step 1: Do any simple act to move forward. (Yes, skipping just one chip from the bag counts. Saying "hi" to one person on the elevator counts. Getting the address of the masters program counts. Noticing one tree on the way home counts. Step 2: Express gratitude to yourself and the universe that supports you. Now repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Do these two simple, insignificant, not-so-dramatic steps every day and soon your brain will get the idea. The actions will get bigger, a little more 'significant' - all on their own. Some actions will create their own next steps. New ideas will come to you at the oddest times. An
d before you know it, you will look at where you are and say "Now how did I get here?"

When you say that, promise me this: that you will stop and smile, say "Thank you" to yourself, and relish the feeling, for you are now one of those people you used to envy, people who seem to know the secret.

Do anything... thank yourself.
Do... thank.
Do... thank.

One thing... anything... today.