This week I learned about thriving. Thriving despite feeling overwhelmed, helpless, angry, afraid, grieving — but yes, thriving.
Thanks for you patience, though. After finishing my conversation with Dr. Nancia Leath, dear friend and mentor, I feel more confident speaking about thriving during this week.
Because I did thrive. Man, did it hurt. Daily, I have been confronted with friends who are grieving, who are enraged, who are confused, who feel overwhelmed and helpless.
Hearing that my son can return to school one day a week for the remaining 3 weeks to participate in his outdoor program — a program that normally includes Cat skiing, rock climbing, wilderness first aid training, canoeing — but he will remain in his trailer most of the day, with only a few friends and the instructor, and is not allowed to leave the school campus — seemed like a small, slightly bitter, quietly impotent bit of news.
Compared to explaining to a son or daughter why they need to be home inside their house each evening for curfew. Why anyone who is given the job of “protect and serve” would do the opposite. Why the resulting action seemed chaotic. Why? Why? Why?
The world has reached a moment when, I have the utmost faith, things will change forever. For the better, eventually. But for now, we must sit in the face of some very deeply uncomfortable emotions. And process them.
I am committed to achieving compassion for those I hold in my heart at the moment as enemies. I have not yet been able to do that.
I am committed to taking right action to ensure that I am not silent. I am committed to using my voice with love to ensure that I do my part to call out racism and hatred and misuse of authority when I see it.
I am also committed to calling out each time I see a person acting in love, using the authority vested in them to step up and be the role model the community wants to see from them.
Join me. In your own way, on your own terms, in your own time. Let’s thrive together.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Dr. Maya Angelou
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help... Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.” — President Barak Obama
Think about that quote when you are thinking about gratitude. It can be read systemically as well as individually — in small systems like family as well as large systems such as countries.
A large part of thriving consists of accepting your feelings as they come and go but choosing your behavior. Choose the action you take. Try this journal prompt:
Note your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors over this week.
Note the effect your thoughts had on your emotions. Note the effect your emotions had on your behaviour. Continue: The effect your behaviour had on your thoughts, your behaviour on your emotions, etc.
When you change one, there is an effect on the other two. Note this.
Continue through the week, journaling your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours and then the resulting change that happens to the other two when you change one.
I want to remind you this week that gratitude and joy are important. More than ever. I understand if this week a quest of joy and gratitude seems impossible. I want to ask you to try if you are able. It’s important.
Simply take yourself on an Artist Date this week, with a focus on something that brings you joy. Simple joy. Digging in dirt. Walking barefoot. Eating ice cream. Visiting a friend. Painting.
Make a list of things that have brought you joy in the past. Things that are possible. Simple things.
Do one. Do one each day. Go. (But please give yourself permission to simply opt out, too.)
If you opt out, try writing a letter — a real, old fashioned letter — so someone you love. That can be you. Just write. Write what you love about them. Write why they matter to you. Write to them. You don’t have to send it.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
This seems simple but often it’s oddly difficult.
Try to share something with someone each day. Something that person needs. This will often require asking a person what they need…then asking yourself how comfortable you are sharing that with them…and then actually doing it.
It involves boundaries, self-worth, compassion, seeing the “other”. Try it. Try it as often as you can. See what happens.
6. POD Poem of the day (Shel Silverstein: Dirty Face)
Yes, it’s a children’s poem. It’s lovely. It’s uplifting. Felt like remembering that little child in you (me) who seemed to be dirty every chance possible. Felt like remembering how much joy there is in that.
7. Podcast (Sisternomics — Monique Caradine invited me to join a small podcast group made up of 4 women who encourage each other to thrive in our projects. Her project, Sisternomics, I cannot recommend more highly. Monique has a long background in broadcasting as well as an expertise in finance…put those two together and her podcast is a brilliant example of practical ways to thrive financially.)
8. Video (Kimberly Weeks — trauma coach, speaking on video on Facebook about her very real, eloquent, and raw feelings immediately after George Floyd was murdered. This video was extremely helpful for me to more fully understand the point of view of another, a mother of children who are black. I asked her permission to share.)
9. Hero: Leaders who show true leadership.
Why? In this moment, I cannot think of a more important thing that we need than for people in our communities to stand up as leaders. I will share two examples.
This: These men protected a police officer when he was vulnerable.
This is an image from the protests in Flint, Michigan. When protestors arrived at the police station, the officers came out and said, “We are upset and we don’t know what we can do.” (paraphrase) The protestors said, “Join us.” The police officers did just that.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts. Compassion episode Thursday. I am blessed to have a conversation with a mentor of mine, Dr. Nancia Leath.
If I could ask you a favor? If you are reading this on an Apple iPhone and want to support this project, head over to Wild and Precious Conversations and 1. Subscribe 2. Rate 3. Review. Thank you!
If you are on an Android phone, you can subscribe on Spotify — or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can also keep listening here — I’m trying to spread the word a bit about the podcast, though, and subscribing, rating and reviewing really help!
Love to all — practice kindness.