Thursday, June 26, 2008

Imagine the Shift to Sherpas

For over a year, I’ve pondered the concept of playing with pain, how to honor and feel the sorrows that flow through my life in a way that’s light while not diminishing what I’m feeling.
As one who encourages clients to create community with whom to share, my ponderings haven’t taken me past the pages of my journal where my inner community has been stumped regarding the possibility of playing with pain until recently.
During an impromptu road trip, I heard myself confiding the idea with a friend. Although this was a trusted friend, my sudden sharing wasn’t planned. I’m uncertain now what even caused me to blurt out my closely held thoughts other than we both have been navigating layers of loss, past and present. My friend affirmed the topic merited further thought as we pulled into Hohenwald, TN to partake of the Sonnenschein Festival, a yearly event promoting environmental consciousness and other local causes like the nearby Elephant Sanctuary. 

The first thing that caught my attention wasn’t an elephant or the environment, but a local tv station’s mascot. Snowbird, looking a bit alien in the near 100 degree weather, roamed the crowd. We quickly took advantage of this photo op.
This was one of many laughs that day, yet the one I remember most occurred at a table where three men sat, promoting learning opportunities with Gaia University. One of the men began to explain the process he uses to help people unload emotions. My friend and I jokingly said we thought there was a potential business in what he described. We created an imaginal business card that read: “Got Baggage? We’ll Carry It. Emotional Sherpas for hire.”
Sometime later I realized the profundity of what we spontaneously created. Pain is lessened as we’re emotional sherpas for one another, not co-dependently thinking we must fix the other, but through showing up and listening, practicing presence as we trek through life together.
Why had it taken me a year to share my private ponderings? Why is it so hard to call someone and say, “You want to come over and play or hang out? I’m in pain.” I'm an adventurer in travel but this involved traversing the space between me and another human being. I was afraid. 
Thanks to my friend who sincerely held my idea and feelings as I took a risk, a bridge was created between the two of us as well as my internal counterparts as we trekked between pain and play all afternoon. 

Imagine the shift if we became aware of the opportunities that surround us to be sherpas for one another. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 28 June 2009

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Imagination - An Unlimited Resource (or How My Funk Flew to Madagascar)

Recently after a long day in which a slight funk had settled over me, I spontaneously called a friend to see if her daughters might join me for dinner. (Hanging out with kids gaurantees the funk will flee.) They were about to sit down to their evening meal so my friend instead suggested I join them. I walked to their home mindful of the importance of community and the fact that I've many dear neighbors.

Soon after eating, Ella announced that she was making an airplane. One of the adults commented with a tone of disbelief, "How will you do that?" Ella quickly replied, "All it takes is imagination." With that she was off with younger Lily at her side.

The three adults sat talking while also aware Lily was soon standing in the recycling bin, her blonde hair barely visible, handing cardboard, also known as airplane parts, over the side to Ella.

With the necessary parts in hand, the two returned to the grown ups to recruit an engineer. I volunteered. I had just that morning been quietly reminiscing about the joys of making things during my childhood summers. I could be lost for hours creating from paper mache, paints and plaster.

In less than an hour, we had created a plane with wings, headlights and styrofoam seats. Ella, Lily and my funk were headed to Madagascar and the Artic while I headed home mindful once again that children offer such vital lessons for us, if we're paying attention.

My two young friends modeled imagination and resourcefulness, something so often missing in our daily lives. Also when initially questioned, rather than thinking, 'It can't be done,' they set out certain they could do what was intended, build an airplane. They didn't settle for traveling to just fifty states. They were world travelers. I had an hour prior walked down the street mindful of my neighborhood community yet they were curious about their world community.

I also pondered how today's children will grow up to respond to the world we're leaving them, a world with great advances thanks to imagination yet a world of critical challenges many due in part to our short-sightededness and the non-relational paradigm in which we've been operating. I wondered how utilizing my imagination as well as acting upon my imaginings might alter the world these two girls and the world's children will inherit.

There's much necessary talk today about the earth's limited resources, but imagination is an unlimited resource, limited only by our lack of consciousness and courage. May we be inspired to rediscover the unlimited resource of an awakened imagination so we can travel to the many undiscovered lands within us, around us and between us. If we did this, imagine the world we might co-create. Imagine that shift!
Dawn, The Good News Muse, June 2, 2008