In any relationship, it’s important to check in once in awhile -
to reintroduce yourself and make sure both parties are on the same page and happy with where things are going.
I’m a mom, a partner, a memory-keeper, a schedule-designer, and so many things that could keep me quite busy on their own.
But I’m also deeply called to my world work. (I loosely define that as whatever it is that I do that helps someone. That definitely includes all of that stuff I just listed, but also goes way beyond that.)
Basically, my life looks like this (with thanks to Mary Oliver for the words):
PAY ATTENTION. BE ASTONISHED.
TELL ABOUT IT.
The “Tell about it” part is my world work.
I used to be squeamish about that work. I wondered why anyone would care about my privileged life, my humdrum routines, my stories.
What I came to realize, after countless people telling me that they resonated with what I was sharing, was that it wasn’t my story that I was pushing onto others. It was and is an important part of Our Story.
So I wasn’t just sharing an Instagram-filtered picture of the salad I had for lunch and calling it world work.
I was paying attention to that salad, the reason I chose it, the guilt over calories and how it relates to stupid body-issue gremlins and why does it matter if I have tummy rolls (but it SO bothers me, damn it, and the fact that it bothers me, bothers me),
the way I felt rushed to eat it because the restaurant was so noisy and it was giving me a headache and how the sounds of our environment affect how we are able to stay present with what we are experiencing,
the careless way the salad was plated with a bit of dressing spilled over the container as opposed to the gentle way the waitress sat the spoon down on the table and how it speaks to the attention we give to what we are doing, and how that attention influence others…
all this from a salad.
It's just a salad. And it's so much more than that.
I’d share the photo as a visual way to represent the story, then share whatever perspective of my experience with that salad felt appropriate to share in the moment.
I pay attention. I’m constantly astonished.
And this newsletter, (and the website, the Facebook page, the Instagram feed, the video and podcast channel)….is how I tell about it all.
I do this so that you can feel less alone in your own mundane experiences.
I do this so that you see that there may be other ways of experiencing such mundane things.
I do this to inspire you to look within and ask why you experience that mundane thing the way that you do,
...if you are content with that experience and, if not,...
to give you the permission, the courage, and even some tips on creatively engaging with that mundane thing so that
you can start creating the life that you want to be living.
Right now. With this salad. (or burger. Or coffee or beer or apple or kombucha or kale or steak. No judgment.)
Speaking of judgment….
Let’s not, ok? I mean, let’s stop judging everything and everyone.
That’s another aim, as I continue telling about it all: to do so without saying this is right, this is wrong, this is good, and this is bad - and to get you to start thinking, speaking, and acting in the same way.
I deeply believe that if we could think in terms of consequences instead of right and wrong, we’d be able to live more freely and expressively in our individual lives, to connect with others on a deeper level, to be able to have far more productive conversations, and to expand our range of possible solutions to so many individual and societal problems immensely.
Hey, I dream big.
We could talk about what sort of realities we want to be living (because, after all, we create those realities) - without getting endlessly stuck in my way is right and your way is wrong.
We could discuss what similarities we want to experience (freedom to be who we want to be, environments that help us to feel loved, - or is that just me??).
We could talk about the possible consequences of the actions we are taking, and discuss whether those actions are leading to those realities we want to create.
Such judgment-free living may not lead to world peace, but I'd guess it would get us closer than we are right now.
And can you imagine what your inner voice would sound like devoid of self-judgment?
I want to lead us all to Rumi’s field and play there for a bit (or a really, really long time),
just to see what happens.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
And while we are hanging out in that field, I plan to make sure we REALLY look around (and within).
There are so many little things to be noticed in this world. Like the smell of your skin after you’ve been out in the sun. Like the thought that precedes the decision to get up and move instead of stay in bed. Like the way the hawk’s wings move versus the raven’s wings when it flies. Like the ache that you carry that burns somewhere behind your belly button but fears being talked about. Like the way you slice an apple.
And these little things? They are big. So much bigger than we give them credit for.
They are the very things that make up the life that you are living. They are the very things that ripple out and create the life you will be living.
Every thought, every decision, every slice of an apple and glance at the hawk’s wings takes your life in an ever-so-slightly different direction.
If you connect the dots from one tiny life moment to the next, you can see how one decision tends to lead to another that is closest (related) to it, which leads to making another decision similar to that one.
(Once you have already stood up out of bed, you are more likely to take a step away from bed. On the other hand, once you have moved your hand towards the snooze button, you are more likely to stay in bed. Repeated mornings of this lead to different types of days, which lead to different types of years, which leads to a different type of life.)
The little things matter SO very much.
It’s my mission to help us all remember this.
With one little story at a time, I hope to redirect your attention to even a few of the thousands of thoughts you have in day, the sensory experiences that flood your being (even if they escape your conscious attention), the ways in which you hold your body (are you clenching your jaw and can you release your shoulders a bit right now? Uh-huh.), the way in which you shave a carrot (and why it matters to your overall happiness), and so much more.
“Enjoy the little things in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things”
- Kurt Vonnegut
You’ve made it this far - so I’m guessing all of this is meaning something to you.
Thank you for finding meaning in my stories. Thank you for recognizing that my stories are our stories
and that we can only understand them by sharing with one another and listening to one another and then by going home and listening deeply
Paying attention. Being astonished. Living outside of judgement. Practicing through the little things.
Sprinkle in hefty scoops of stories about creativity, sensuality, body acceptance and love, movement, environmental design, mindfulness, parenting, and piles of laundry,
And you now have a fairly complete picture of what I have to offer you through my world work.
What say you?
Ready to start (or continue) creating the life you want to be living …. One little thing at a time?
Let’s do this thing.
Thank you for helping me create our story together.
p.s. "Being Breath" isn't going anywhere for the time being. The metaphor - the inhale of awareness, the exhale of creativity, and the space of nonjudgmental being - is still important and means a great deal to me. I'm just exploring outside of the "metaphorical box" to see how it feels. Thanks for stepping outside with me.
p.p.s. If you like what you read, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter. It’s a great way to be reminded to check in with yourself, to make sure you are paying attention to the little things and creating a life you want to be living, all through a little pop-in in your inbox.