April 14, 2015
by Molly Davis
My cell phone rang as Kristine and I walked back to the conference center to facilitate another workshop at the retreat. Gathered at a beautiful resort in Woodstock, NY, the woods ablaze with fall colors, it had already been two days of connection and inspiration, new friends and new ideas. The workshop was one of our favorite topics, a best seller with clients, always a crowd pleaser, resulting in powerful insights for all. Starting of course, with us. Since as everybody knows…”You teach what you need.”
With a few minutes to spare, and seeing that the call was from a client, I decided to answer. “Hey Molly. We’re in a big bind. The person who was going to facilitate the Leadership Experience can’t make it. Would you be able to do it? It starts the day after tomorrow.” Immediately I knew the answer to that question….
A vehement “No!”
Not on your life!
That kind of No.
While certified to facilitate the experience, I had yet to actually do so. Not only that, it was going to be with a senior global team, and the facilitator they had really wanted was obviously not me. He had more experience, and was clearly their first choice. Stepping into a big arena, trying to fill big shoes, coming in at the last minute, with people who expected someone else, felt like a recipe for disaster all around. Besides that, getting an earlier flight out would be almost impossible due to our commitment to the current retreat. There was one other tiny little detail. I was terrified. Afraid that I couldn’t do it, wouldn’t meet the high bar set by the group, and couldn’t measure up to their expectations, I respectfully declined, politely thanked him for thinking of me, wished him the best of luck, and hung up the phone, filled with relief. Except the relief kept getting pushed down to make room for something else.
My reasons for saying no were logical. It made perfect sense. Still, I had the sense that I had just let myself down. Imperfect as my facilitation might be, was it possible that I was the perfect person for the job, and it the perfect job for me?
It was time for the retreat workshop to begin. Stepping up to kick it off, I couldn’t get that phone call out of my mind. Thankfully, Kristine stepped in and masterfully led the group through the first exercise, allowing me to clear my head of my swirling thoughts. In saying No to the request, I was saying Yes to my fear. In answering No to a big challenge, I was opting for a Yes to playing it safe. Just then I heard Kristine as she continued leading the participants through the exercise, asking them to complete the statement: “If I had the courage, I would………
Oh, did I forget to mention that the topic of our workshop was COURAGE? Oops.
Heads bent over their journals, the participants began to write down as many ideas for completing that sentence as they could. As they finished writing, I stepped back in front to lead them through some reflection on what they had just discovered. Looking into their faces and seeing their courage, they led me back to my own.
As soon as our workshop was over, I called the client back. “Yes. I’ll be there. To be clear, this will be the first time I’ve actually facilitated it, and I won’t have time to review any of the materials. If flying by the seat of my pants is ok with you, I’ll change my flight and be there.” It was a powerful Yes that began as an overwhelming No. Rather than disaster all around, it turned into a blessing for all concerned. Starting of course, with me. Instead of a miserable failure, it was a mighty success. Starting of course, with me.
Now when I experience a knee-jerk “No!” and want to run the other direction, I pull up my boot straps and start walking the scary trail toward Yes.
When our first response is No, can we find the courage to search for the deeper Yes?
When desperate to scream No, can we find the strength to whisper Yes?
When it feels safer to say No, can we brave the waves to Yes?
Yes. We can.
No. it isn’t easy.
And Yes. That means we are on the right track.
March 26, 2015
“Be sure and stay ahead of the pain.” Words from the pharmacist years ago as I picked up yet another bottle of addictive pain medication for my 20 year old daughter who had recently had her tonsils removed. Being a “push through the pain” kind of girl, I asked her just what the hell that meant anyway. It seemed to me that having the courage to tough it out was the better approach. One to be proud of and that showed the strong stuff of which I am made. “The body, when faced with the choice of dealing with the pain, or healing the injury, can only focus on one of those and, in the proper order” she replied. ” Resolve the pain. Heal the patient.” In other words healing is hindered when pain is ignored. Heading back home, I resolved to help her heal by helping her resolve her pain.
Our bodies are but a microcosm of the greater whole. Found embodied in our relationships and in the body of the world, pain is everywhere. Close to home and in the farthest reaches of the world. It is within our hearts and our homes, amidst our communities and countries, in the halls of our organizations and schools. Unresolved pain is wracking our planet and threatening our shared futures large and small, and is an indication that there is healing to be done.
Pain hurts. Deeply. Acutely. Sharply. Chronically. Our natural reaction to pain is to avoid it. Afraid of the hurt we react in fear, provoking ancient coping mechanisms. Fight, flight or freeze.
Putting up our dukes and hitting back causes further injury.
Running for cover furthers us from the healing we long for, but can’t see because we are facing the wrong direction.
Hunkering down and refusing to budge drives pain deeper and healing further away.
When it comes to resolving the pain in our lives, none of those lead to the healing that is waiting for us on the other side. Wherever the pain exists, it is calling us to attend to it fully, in order to more fully live. It requires that we dive deeply into the pain in order to get to the bottom of it.
Pain is our call to action in order to heal that which is broken.
Pain is the canary in the mine alerting us that we are running out of air.
Pain is the lighthouse exposing the rocks which will dash our ship to pieces if we don’t steer with care.
Pain is the warning sign alerting us to dangers ahead.
Pain is the breadcrumb path that leads to wholeness.
Pain is the care package that must be unwrapped in order to receive the gift of healing.
Healing trumps holding on to old hurts.
Healing beats clinging to our stories that keep us stuck in old chapters.
Healing always outlasts winning.
Healing outshines the darkness of resentment.
Healing is a cut above the festering wounds of unforgiveness.
Healing forges wholeness out of the holes in our hearts.
Wherever the pain, it is the doorway through which healing awaits. Pain speaks the truth. The truth sets us free.
March 23, 2015
The words you speak become the house you live in. Hafiz
The house we built started out on a napkin in the bar at Paradise Lodge in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. We were on our way back from dropping the last daughter off at college, and I needed a distraction to keep from thinking about our nest that was now empty. Over a glass of wine my husband and I began to imagine a new nest. A rustic home that we imagined would become a gathering place for those we loved. Eight years later, what we imagined on a napkin now sits firmly grounded in the shadow of Mt. Adams, gathering those we love as often as we can all manage. What we imagined began as thoughts, the thoughts became the words that found our builder, who ordered the supplies that became our home. One board at a time, nail by nail, our house was built, upon the foundation of our thoughts, imagination and words.
March 13, 2015
Photo by Tom Pierson
What if there are teachers all around us?
Ann Lamott reminds us that perhaps for the time we have here, we are enrolled in what she refers to as ” Earth School”.
Perhaps some teachers are more apparent than others, but I am wondering if that has more to do with my awareness and willingness to notice rather than the teacher’s willingness to appear. Read the rest of this entry »
March 3, 2015
“No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it…. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.”
Barbara Brown Taylor
The starting line is here.
Whatever is to come next in our life begins right now.
And right now.
And right now. Read the rest of this entry »
February 27, 2015
“Do you ever get bored?”
That was the question posed earlier this week by our naturopath. My husband and I had scheduled a joint visit to talk to her about our shared sleep issues. Getting a full night of rest is essential. A necessity which was eluding us on a regular basis, resulting in lowered spirits, less focus, and lack of energy.
Tom jumped right in, answering enthusiastically, “I NEVER get bored.”
Wrong answer. Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2015
Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another? Everyone gets it. No one likes it. We all know that feeling of being stuck, unable to get out, hemmed in, trapped. There are times when we find ourselves trapped between a rock and a hard place, and when we do, our first reaction is usually to try to get out. Now! Alarm sets in and the flailing begins, as we look for any and every way out of the place in which we are wedged.
February 20, 2015
Yesterday, the first day of Lent, I gave up the Fear of Uncertainty. It is a fear with which I am familiar, having taken up precious space in the suitcase I carry with me on my trek. My suitcase is most definitely of the carry-on sort, as it comes with me wherever I go. There is only so much room allotted, so tending to the contents is essential. Anything I carry that is not useful (like my angst over the unpredictable nature of life) prevents me from packing something else. Every item that holds me back, gets in my way, makes me less rather than more, complicates rather than simplifies, is excess baggage. The weight of carrying all that useless stuff that I stuff into my stuff sack? It weighs me down, wastes precious time and wears me out.
On this second day of Lent and first full day of traveling without it, it dawned on me that with the fear of uncertainty no longer taking up real estate in my bag, something new could take its place. What to pack instead? And then it hit me. Could I find the courage to pack Un-Certainty?
Certainty means I know it all. (Been there.)
Uncertainty means I don’t have a clue. (Done that.)
But Un-Certainty? Oh… I like the sound of that.
Un-Certainty gives me the choice to toggle between the known and the unknown, and not get stuck-in-the mud of either.
Un-Certainty allows me to navigate off the map and into the mystery.
Un-Certainty pushes me to explore and experiment, expand and experience.
Un-Certainty leads me to wonder and wander and wrestle and wrangle.
Un-Certainty makes me humble and open to receiving the new.
Un-Certainty helps me seek forgiveness and extend grace.
Un-Certainty transforms fear into faith, which seems like the perfect traveling companion during Lent. Or any other time for that matter.
February 18, 2015
Lent begins today and is traditionally a time for fasting and reflection and “giving up stuff”. It takes place over the 40 days leading up to Easter, and those who practice this spiritual tradition often ask one another, “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” For me, when I have actually chosen to enter into Lent, it usually means giving something up that I would really, really, really, really miss. A guilty pleasure. Wine. Coffee. Binge-watching my latest series. Read the rest of this entry »
November 8, 2014
The mid-term elections are over.
Yes, I voted.
No, I wasn’t happy with the results.
Thankfully I didn’t have to add insult to injury with the guilt I would have felt if I hadn’t sent in my ballot. From my first experience going to the polls and filling out my ballot in the privacy of a voting booth, Read the rest of this entry »
October 30, 2014
We are beginning to engage more in our Matters That Matter work including a couple of writing projects that have us inspired and energized, speaking and scheduling workshops… and we also are beginning to post regularly on our blog (about once a week). Our intent is simply to offer encouragement and support for readers to connect more closely with what and who they care about, and live more closely in synch with their most genuine selves.
If you are like us, there is so much “incoming” – information, blogs, emails, videos, social networking etc etc… so we are working to provide content that will support and encourage, not burden. We would love for you to subscribe to our blog and add to the conversation as you feel led. Together we are better. Share it with others if you find that it will benefit them as well. And if this sounds like one more thing to add to your to-do list… then hit delete asap with our blessings!
Thank you for letting us even ask.
With gratitude and blessings.
Molly & Kristine
October 28, 2014
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.” – Ann Lamott (Bird By Bird)
It is so easy to get derailed.
One day it seems that I know what I want, where I’m going and how to get there. Finish that manuscript. Knock on the door that is beckoning. Make that scary phone call. Take a deep breath. Trust that voice within that ALWAYS knows what to do next. Read the rest of this entry »
June 14, 2011
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to protect the rights of ALL People…
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 1, 2009
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.
Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.
The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.
My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.
These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
February 24, 2011
Being vulnerable can be terrifying. We’ve all presented our vulnerable selves at one time or another and been met with judgment and ridicule. Next time we considered being vulnerable we paused a bit, predicted the outcome. Then maybe chose to withhold…protecting ourselves and sheltering our tenderness.
The ability to be vulnerable again often comes from having held on to too much pain …simply no more room. Or, “we’re mad as hell and we aren’t gonna take it any longer.” Or, the knowledge that we are part of a mighty whole and that sharing our soft spots might help someone else to exercise their strengths.
Today I am so moved by a dear friend who did just that. She used her own unfathomable grief to shed light on the darkness that so many carry. Her vulnerability allowed others to know that they are not alone, that their pain and loss matter. By telling her story she brought gentleness and celebration where there can often be secrets and denial.
A common thread thoughtfully exposed connects us as human beings, therefore connecting us to our own humanity.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE
January 20, 2011
The fear that stops you.
You know when you stumble on to a great idea? Or maybe a surge of confidence, or a step in the direction of your god given gifts…and no sooner are you filled to the brim with possibilities than a dark and damp whisper begins at the very bottom of your soul.
“Who do you think you are; you are ridiculous; everyone will laugh at you; you will never make any money; somebody better will do it and make you look foolish; what have you done to deserve something this good!”
I have these amazing human beings in my life. Some as close as a good walk; others a plane, train or automobile trip away. They have inspired me, taught me, loved me, saved me. In their presence I know I am in the company of greatness.
And yet they often struggle with their own greatness; find it hard to move, to carry on, to go forth and change the world as they know they are called to do. They give in to the dark damp voice of DOUBT.
If you believe in evil or not…does it make any sense that just when a magnificent human being is about to make a step forward that will make the world a better place, bring light, hope and encouragement to others, that “evil” says, Hell NO and perhaps uses that dark whisper to stop you in your tracks? End of hope…end of light…end of possibilities.
Time to listen to another voice…one that says…”I can be afraid and hold still, do nothing and live with this fear, or I can hear the voice for what it is and say, Hell Yes?
I choose for them and I choose for me and I choose for you…HELL YES!
THIS LINK WILL HELP YOU DO JUST THAT…