It’s been quite the summer. In truth, I’ve re-written that first sentence about ten times.Because, really, what else can you call a summer that’s been rich with ice cream and travel and joyous moments AND rife with pain and suffering and suicides and murders and righteous rebellions evenifitsnothappeningtomeoranyoneinmyimmediatelife?
Quite the summer.
You know how when someone dies, we first grapple with the “right words” to say, feel like we fall flat, and follow up with an impulse to share a casserole? I feel like that here. Like, I’m not entirely sure what the “right words” are, so I’ll serve you a sandwich.
A well-made sandwich is an act of devotion, so here’s my sandwich for you, for me, for us.
The bread of joy (or, where I’ve been)
I am celebrating a wonderful road trip with my family to the East Coast. Three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-three kilometers later, and we’re still talking. Lobsters, tides, old friends, new friends, wild blueberries, seals, porpoises, whales, walking the ocean floor, clam digging, thunderstorms, oysters, campfire chats, beaches, music, reverie and unforgettable colours.
I am also celebrating having had some of the most delightful conversations ever in my years of doing this blessed work:
- Anna Guest-Jelley is a force of pure love and light, and in my mind, she is leading the body acceptance movement. Hallelujah! I adored my time with her talking about my childhood relationship with my body, and my current relationship with success and where the Impostor Complex loves to show up.
- Jessica Kupferman and I spoke about learning to love the Impostor Complex for what it teaches us. This was a full-hearted chat with a wise and hilarious woman who’s creating an empire. (I may have ended up coaching her…it happens). She’s one to watch, and this is one to listen.
- Lovely launch coachsultant Melissa Anzman and I talked about how results are a direct reflection of our approach, all the fears that show up right before any launch…and how to overcome them. Fabulous questions, big heart.
- Katie McCarthy of Give Good gave GREAT interview. I loved talking favourite books, regimens, even some of the hardest times. ('Cause they won't break you. Promise.)
I’m also celebrating that fact that the clinical psychologist who co-coined the term "Impostor Complex" back in 1978, Pauline Clance, has recommended me (ME!) for an interview about the IC that she isn't able to do. Dream come true, really. I’m pushing past the lies of the Impostor Complex that have oh so much to say about why I’m not the right person for the job. Because I AM the right person for the job.
The meat of suffering (or, what I’ve been avoiding)
I so deeply want to end the post right there. With my joys and celebrations in the hopes that they lift you up. That they continue to lift me up.
Yes, yes. I want this post to be resplendent with waning summer softness and ease. As the cicadas serenade the setting sun, and the crisp mornings herald the dawn of autumn, this is a gorgeous time of réveil …an awakening from the somnolence of summer.
But with our Twitter streams filled with distress, suicide, murder, pain, suffering and inequity we don’t know where to put our own grief. Contributing to the conversation feels….opportunistic. Not our story. Not our challenge. Not our cross to bear.
When we don’t have the “right words”, we say nothing. Or precious little. We are afraid that if we don’t fully, completely, wholly understand something, then we oughtn’t say a thing, because if we do say something, even from a place of compassion and desire for understanding and peace, we will be called out.
I haven’t had the “right words” to speak of losing Robin Williams. Not here, not on social media, not with my daughter who held my hand as I became unhinged with sadness as we watched Night at the Museum 2, having forgotten that Williams played Teddy Roosevelt. Particularly when he uttered the phrase: The key to happiness is doing what you love.
I haven’t had the “right words” to speak of Ferguson. (But this is starting to guide my way). I haven’t had the “right words” for what I’ve been feeling into so deeply. But it’s time to risk impeccability and elegance and crash the woods with my humanness (as my soul sister Julie says) and declare:
That it is time to reconnect our bodies, hearts and minds with our world and speak out against the suffering around us.
That it is time we choose, on a daily basis, how we want to be together, towards each other, towards ourselves, towards our earth.
That it is time that we stop pressing the snooze button of the ‘way it is’ and wake up. And stay awake.
That it is time to say what needs to be said. That we think and feel and express and share and ask and give and receive from a place of love, kindness and compassion.
Your pain is my pain. Your joy is my joy. I may not hold it with grace the way I want to hold it, but I will hold it. I promise you that. Can you try to do the same?
The bread of joy (or, where I’m going next)
I’ve known for some time that I was about to write a book. I’ve had it on the back burner behind the other pots that have been boiling over. But then, this happened, as I shared on Facebook:
On the long and scenic drive towards home, we listened to music and didn't say much. All lost in our own thoughts. My mind kept playing out what's next in my business, chewing over options and vetting my excitement level.
Imagine my surprise when the border guard in Vermont glanced up from my passport, looked me straight in the eye and asked me when my book would be out.
Okay Angels, I'm on it.
I am excited. In fact, I am elated. I cannot contain the joy that I feel in the knowledge that the 40,000 unpolished words that currently sit in a Scrivener file will some day in the not too distant future come together in harmony and form THE book.
How can I feel such profound joy in the midst of the sorrow that is also true?
I believe that our natural setpoint IS wholeness. That we cannot successfully bifurcate our joy from our pains, any more than we can bifurcate our heads from our hearts (though we try, oh, how we try).
So yes. I believe in angels. I believe in border guards. I believe in the capacity of humans to do incredible things. I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe we can turn this thing around.
"Wouldn't it be incredible if everyone could find the joy that comes with committing to our own goodness? Perhaps we would stop dividing ourselves into malignancies of various forms."
– Eve Ensler, In the Body of the World: A Memoir of Cancer and Connection