TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I was apparently schooled by the Worm Moon. I don’t know if that is actually true — I do know that I felt unhinged over the weekend, culminating in a deep sadness last night. As soon as a friend reminded me that there was a full moon — Worm Moon, no less — the unhinged feeling dissipated and I began to laugh.
Which, honestly, could have been due to the moon.
I prefer to blame my friend. Which, as it happens, is what I have been contemplating all week. The need for friendship, the need for strong, healthy relationships. An advertisement for BetterHelp said just that, about why someone may want to purchase their services: We can all benefit from healthy human relationships. (paraphrasing what I remember…)
“In other words, human beings thrive when we believe someone cares about us. It isn’t much more complicated than that.”
— Jacqueline Novogratz, Manifesto for Moral Leadership
“I believe you become the story you choose to tell.” — Jacqueline Novogratz, Manifesto for Moral Leadership
So…who do you care about?
I am listening to Thict Nact Hahn’s The Art of Communicating at the moment. A few days ago, walking along a busy street, I heard “Love is showing up” (paraphrased…)
I searched online for the quote I may have actually heard, and found this:
“You cannot love properly and deeply without mindfulness.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Art of Communicating
It’s a great book, by the way.
But I digress — Sometimes, when I am sad, I begin to list people who don’t care about me. Sometimes, I end up in despair, realizing that no one cares about me.
And then (sometimes, when I am lucky) I remember to flip that script.
Who do I know who needs caring? My mom taught me this. When I would be sad, she would tell me to forget about myself and find someone to take care of.
Now, patriarchy aside :) — there is wisdom in this. Be careful with yourself. The key to “forgetting about yourself” is to care for yourself well enough that it’s a bit of an after thought. Obviously you’re taken care of (right?). You know how to look after yourself. You know you are loved. By you. (And, I would say, by God :) <= can’t not say it.)
After you have let yourself know that you love and care for yourself :) from that space, find someone who needs care, and care for them. How do you do that?
The same way you care for yourself, silly :)
You show up for them.
I wanted to ask you to list how you care for yourself, how you care for others in the prompt. Then I realized that this week’s “prompt” is more literally that…a little nudge. No need to write anything.
Now — if you have someone in mind who needs care, go for it.
I named this week “unrefined” because I realized that my favourite friendships are just that — unrefined. Messy, a little unhinged at times, deep, real, authentic, imprecise, a little vulgar :)
Coming from a place of centered self care, go out this week and show up for someone. Volunteer at the food bank. Smile at the cashier. Call someone and tell them what you think of them <= Vulnerable and delicious.
Leave flowers for someone. There are as many ways to show up as there are ways to be human.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
Showing up is really, really hard.
We want to do something. We want to be seen. We want to be heard. We want to fix. We want to receive gold stars.
It can be excruciating to show up for someone silently, especially when you feel you are unseen and unheard. (This is where that self care piece comes in — if you are feeling low and uncared for, take steps to look after yourself first, then go forth and show up for others)
Try showing up for others this week, when you are ready.
“With those you aim to serve or lead, your job is to be interested, to help make another person shine, not demonstrate how smart or good or capable you yourself are.
— Jacqueline Novogratz, Manifesto for Moral Leadership
“When your loved one is suffering, your impulse may be to want to do something to fix it, but you don’t need to do much. You just need to be there for him or her. That is true love. True love is made of mindfulness.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Communicating
9. Hero: Teresa Njoroge — Lawyer
Why? A beacon of hope not only to the people she serves, but to all of us. Sometimes life hands us something that feels like oppression…what we do with it makes all the difference.
“Teresa Njoroge is the cofounder and CEO of Clean Start Kenya. She was pursuing her childhood dream, a career in banking, when she was falsely accused of a fraudulent transaction. Sentenced to imprisonment in the High Security Langata Women’s Maximum Prison, Njoroge was forced to bring her three-month-old baby with her.
What began as a loss of career and social standing led to her purpose in life, advocating for Kenyan women, youth and men trapped in a cycle of poverty, survival, petty crimes and life behind bars and equipping them with entrepreneurial skills, jobs and formal education. Later cleared of any wrongdoing, Njoroge is now a beacon of hope and second chances to thousands, with her mission to build up the bottom-of-the-pyramid economy and an inclusive Africa. As she writes: "I am an optimistic, self-driven social entrepreneur with over a decade of progressive experience in economic and social justice work, in my journey from 'I can do it' to 'I did it'!"
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this. Please share with someone you think may enjoy this weekly.
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