Thursday, October 7, 2010

Searching for a Voice

Lying in bed listening to the birds begin to sing as the day dawned here in the heartland of America I thought about this new project/assignment to be an Empowerment World Mentor.  What a wonderful opportunity and what an amazing challenge to help another woman find her voice and to encourage her to speak her truth and change her world forever.

And what a tremendous responsibility.

It made me think, again, of the prayer I have been saying - the mantra I have been repeating - for several years.  'May I speak my truth with courage, wisdom and love.'  This prayer originated, really, with the second-guessing I continually put myself through either on my job or with my family and friends, or in my life in general.  It seemed that at the end of the day I would find myself questioning the things I had said and their impact on the people around me............  Did I speak wisely?  Was what I said fair and truthful?  Did I make a fool of myself or, worse..... someone else?

So much of what is written or said is through the emotional lenses of anger and fear manifesting often as sarcasm and contempt - which only seems to inspire the same in others.  My personal initial reaction to the expression of anger is to put up a wall and attempt to remove myself.  Not healthy, I know, but as they say in some parts of the country.....'just sayin'.

It appears courageous to share anger and fear when that seems to be what is really going on.  Whether it be the political situation or personal.  Maybe it is discussing religion or relationships.  The environment or education.  But is it really the truth?  And is it really effective?

I believe we have to look for the impulse behind the words that we speak - either out loud or in writing - to determine their impact.  When we speak from anger, righteous or not, we speak from fear and a position of weakness.  And people usually respond accordingly.

But, when we continue digging through the layers of anger and fear and keep looking for the kernel of truth we should eventually find it in love.....  there is something, eventually, based in love that motivates us.  Think about it - when we are angry or scared... isn't there always love threatened at the emotional center?

When we find the love based truth, then the words we speak can have the most lasting impact.  When we speak our truth with courage wisdom and love then we can never question or second-guess what we say.

I think the secret of being heard always is and will ever be in using the language of love.

Just sayin'.....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Handprints

I am just home from a weekend in the woods with a growing group of friends that have known each other, some of us, since kindergarten.  All of us from high school because we graduated together.  This is not some notorious group of friends that were inseparable then and have maintained the 'clique' all these years. No, this is a group of strikingly different individuals who have come together after 30 years and fallen in love with just being together talking and laughing, sitting around a campfire or a dinner table (or the occasional bar) sharing memories and stories. 

Sharing life.

When I came home, I felt a definite loss of air in my 'joy balloon'.  Coming home meant my sweet husband and warm bed and much healthier eating, to be sure.  It also meant several hundred miles between those wonderful people and months before I would be able to laugh and love with them again.  And I started thinking about the song from the musical "Wicked" that has always touched me deeply.  One of my favorite lines goes like this:


So much of me 
Is made of what I've learned from you 
You'll be with me 
Like a handprint on my heart

Handprints on my heart.  What an incredibly beautiful concept!  What a lovely way of thinking about all the people that have touched our life in some way.  And how completely true.  

So I started thinking about the handprints on my heart that have been left there throughout my lifetime.  This really correlates to the "Listen to My Life" class in which a group of women have gathered to listen to the telling of our stories and to help each other figure out how God/the Universe is working in our life through our experiences. I struggled last week with how to share my story, and now I know it will be telling the story by those very handprints.

Our hearts are covered with handprints.  Parents, siblings, friends, teachers, lovers have all left their marks.  Some are more gentle than others.  Some are more like bruises.  Each and every one of them has made an impression.  The trick, really, is in learning how to appreciate each of them for what they were.... for what they are. 

And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

The people that come in and out of our lives are responsible for helping us rewrite the way our stories are to be told, if we only will take the time to understand the impact they make.  The parents who, though imperfect, were doing the best they knew how.  The friends who were wrestling with the same fears and insecurities.  The colleagues who had the same things to accomplish and prove.  The lovers that appear and then leave, but from whom we have discovered one more aspect of ourselves.  The spouses who appear and stay through thick and thin teaching us that commitment is a working gift.  The children who are born to us with their own lives to lead - joys to experience and sorrows to bare - and from whom we can learn much, if we just take the time to watch and listen.

 Thousands and thousands of handprints.  

And some of the 'prints' are not from hands, but from events.  Imprints maybe?  Some are from a whole list of the 'firsts' - first day of school, first time we learn our parents are fallible, first time a bat or a ball or a club connects with a ball so perfectly, first time we look into the face of our child, our first wish for a 'do-over' in life.

And some are historic events.... the assassination of a president, a war that leaves the world shaken and grieving, a car accident that leaves classmates dead or permanently scarred, a wall and a country that crumbles after a lifetime of being 'the enemy'.  September 11th, 2001.

I am learning to be thankful for all the prints that have been left on my heart - even those that felt more like a pinch - and hope to keep making room for more, because.... 
   
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?  
But because I knew you 
I have been changed for good.

I just want to make sure that all of these handprints are changing me for the better because I am recognizing them for what they are and learning from them.

And I pray that the handprints I am leaving are ones that translate to love.