There is so much that we need to heal in our world.
We can start with ourselves, but how?
First, can we even identify those aspects of our lives that are sick?
Maybe it relates to our physical health. Maybe our emotions are unbalanced. Maybe our relationships are sick. Or perhaps we are spiritually sick, that is, I don't know who I truly am. I am sick in spirit.
This month we will begin hosting a healing circle at the Community House. It will be emergent, as is most of our programming, welcoming in what will serve our community and individual needs most. It will include some form of meditation and prayer, and some form of alternative healing (bioenergy, sound healing, etc).
Healing has been a critical part of my own journey. It has made it possible for me to be myself and to live an unconventional life filled with joy and spontaneity.
No matter what your issue, there is hope for a better life when we open ourselves to the possibility of healing.
In just a few days it will be one year since the Community House Network was officially filed as a NFP. It is hard to believe it. In many ways so much has happened, and still we are struggling to fulfill the vision.
The hardest part is getting others to see what has taken me more than two decades to come into clarity. I am like the conductor of an orchestra where the music hasn't yet been transcribed onto sheets. People are playing old familiar tunes, when what we want is a completely new sound.
There are a few ideas I am toying with to help people realize the vision. Those on the team need to know that it is possible and not just a pipe-dream. First, is the use of established research, books, videos and existing successful models that reflect play-based, discovery based, self-directed learning. Although, I have had extensive training in the scholarship of leadership and learning, it is somewhat unfair for me to assume that others should just naturally know these facts. Most of what I believe is unconventional, and although it is steeped in a depth of both research knowledge and personal experience, how can I expect to transmit this to those who have neither the knowledge or experience to back it up?
Second is to create a clear curriculum for them to follow. If they can see how it is done, and see the results in action, then perhaps they will be able to trust the process.
Trust really is the main thing. Trusting the process. It will start to take form through the action. If we work small, taking little steps into this new arena, people will start to see it happening. This can build faith in the process and then we can build on the momentum.
I so desire at this point to be able to take a little break, but in order to ensure that this train doesn't go off the rails, that might not happen for some time.
I am working on an emergent curriculum, based on our formational documents. I am happy to share it here. Remember it is a work in progress.
There is a principle in the psychology of wellbeing and performance known as Flow. It was an area researched extensively by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, his work follows a tradition of research that has focused on the best aspects of the human being.
Flow is thought of as a state of consciousness. It is achieved when we are doing what we love. It is often experienced during the act of creating, or performing. I like to see flow as a state of being in connection to something greater. This project is something greater than me. I know.
There is most definitely energy in this project. It has a life of its own. If I can stay in the stream of what is wanting to emerge, I can participate in this. If I go against what wants to emerge, I will experience resistance.
How can I stay in the flow of thing?
The other day I was stepping away from it all to clear my head, and found a box of free stuff. I love free stuff. In it was the recorded lecture and workshop by Wayne Dyer, "Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling". I started listening to it today, and it reminded me of the power of connecting to that thing beyond me. It also reminds me that it is wonderful to live our best life, and we should never shy away from living in spirit.
I believe there is something offered here as a way to stay in flow. As Wayne Dyer states:
"I have learned to remove the resistance from the free flow of spiritual energy, by reminding myself to align with it, to be in spirit in my thoughts and my expectations."
This is a beautiful concept, that takes the forcing, fear and resistance out of the way as the vision starts to unfold.
He talks about creating and holding on to our vision as one of the core elements of living an inspired life.
"The desire to find our way to inspiration involves creating a vision of living in spirit 100% of the time, even if we don't have a clue what we should be doing or what our mission is."
It is easy to get discouraged, and fall into despair, but if we do we lose that connection to spirit.
So find something that inspires you today. Connect to that feeling and know that it will lead you closer to your path.
I have struggled a bit with people who stand back on the sidelines and judge rather than coming in to participate. I can't tell you why these people do this. I know how it feels on my side of the fence and it isn't pleasant.
There are several different themes of judgement.
One consists of "That girl is crazy," to which I am happy to reply, "If this is what crazy looks like, we need a whole lot more of crazy in this world."
Another is, "That girl thinks she is all that. She want's to 'save the world.'"
I have a hard time with this one, because truly I am doing my best not to make this project about me, but to hold space in the community for what is needed and what wants to emerge. Also, I really do not want accolades. I have no desire for my name in lights. I am happiest when I am playing with the kids on off calendar times and days. Nothing brings me more joy than to see someone else using the space for their own good works or individuals benefiting from what the Community House is offering.
So why am I doing this? I can say without any hesitation, that I want to do good in the world.
If you want to also do good, then come join the fun. I am sure there is something here where you can share your gifts too!
There are a lot of phrases you can hear in the rooms of the 12 steps that are profoundly meaningful. This is a place where people are coming to terms with the wreckage of their past, and the wisdom that ensues when we start to open up to living the good life, the one that God intended, is a profoundly uplifting experience.
One thing I heard a couple years back that has stuck with me since, was someone talking about how they spent most of their lives avoiding responsibility. I can say I could relate to that sentiment. He ended his share about how he now spent his life chasing responsibility.
What does that mean? To me it is doing the thing I know is right and needs to be done regardless of what I want to do. So this past weekend, regardless of what I really wanted to do, I shut down the Community House as I and 3 other ladies went and got Covid tested. The hope was that we would have results in time to decide on running the event, but I knew it was probably going to lead to the event being cancelled. Indeed the results didn't come in until Sunday late afternoon, and although they were all negative, it was a bitter-sweet discovery.
Still, I had been feeling a bit off for a couple days, and then I knew I was sick. In the past, I would have charged through praying for the best. But I realized that it was not just me I had to be concerned about. I was reminded twice that week about members of our recovery community who had died from this deadly disease and it just wasn't sitting with me not to find out for sure.
So four of us went and got tested -negative.
Thank Goodness for Small Blessings.
A reminder to myself and a piece of food for thought, this is not the type of project that depends on a single event, every action and reaction is leading us either closer or father away from loving community. I believe being responsible to the health and well-being of everyone in our community is that one step closer to where we want to be.
The Community House hosts eight 12 step meetings a week. Recovery from drugs and alcohol is possible. Please do come and join us in the amazing life of sobriety.
Our schedule is available on our website: https://www.thecommunityhousenetwork.com/recovery.html
Stay posted for our upcoming Workshops and Speaker events!
We are coming up on 9 months soon, and I am feeling the squeeze. Seven days a week is unsustainable. Hiring people hasn't reduced my work-load since I am still helping to guide the new-comers in our philosophy.
I have done big projects before, and so I know what it takes, and yet...
So I am asking myself, "where can I let go?"
The Art Garage is going well, the attendance is still smaller than I would like, but we are really refining the curriculum which we will be able to maintain. We have had great success merging our goals with those of Keegan's Krew and have been able to bring in the Virtues Project which has been part of our foundational goals from the beginning (check out our foundational doc for our philosophy) LINK
It is pretty incredible to see this philosophy finally finding its form and taking shape as a core curriculum using the 6 core Character Strengths and Virtues of Positive Psychology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_Strengths_and_Virtues
It is really great stuff to see in action. But, at the same time we are not dealing with saints here, so it means I need to keep myself grounded in awareness of what is in front of me and not fly off into dreamland.
Basically, we are just starting and so I am not letting go of that.
We have brought in Saturday programming, it is also just starting. I believe I can let go of two days. The coloring day, and Keegan's Krew, which are both easily run by Kelly and Bridget. The STEAM and Song Writing are too close to my heart.
Obviously I am not letting go of the Chrysalis House. I am even looking at where I can get another house! We need more recovery.
CoDA has become the unique contribution of the Community House to the 12 Step programs in the area. I am a huge fan, and believe we all need this as it guides on in how to become more authentic and intimate. We started with one meeting on Tuesday and added a workbook meeting Wednesday and are now adding another meeting Mondays at 6! If you want loving relationships, come join us! I need this as much as anything so I won't let this one go.
Also, we have started Yoga and Meditation. I call it Embodied Awareness instead of Yoga, because my training is in Thomas Hannah's Somatics, not formal Yoga training. I love doing this, and it forces me to engage in my practice. At some point I will have others come and lead us, and probably host other types of embodied health activities, including crystal bowl sound baths, youth yoga, eurhythmy, and much more. So this is just starting, and just as much as I need CoDA I need this as part of my own emotional health. It is staying!
The Shop Co-Op is starting this month! I am so excited. We have an incredible new member of our team. Jason Pickles will become director of the First Apprentice program at the Community House. He brings so much to our growing family! I definitely can't give this up!
We have courses and lecture series. I have been feeling the draw to work on the Already Leading course. It keeps coming up for me. So we are not going to let that go. There is the Inspired Action course, and then there is the Aligning with Your Divine Blueprint. This is a powerful framework that I have worked with before and lead to such incredible insights. I am not sure I can do it though. This may be what I have to let go of, for the moment anyway. We will have to see.
Whew, that was hard work. Needless to say, I have my plate full. So if you want to just hang out and chit-chat, I probably can't join you until next January. But please do come and do some yoga, catch a CoDA meeting, write some songs, or do some art with us at the Art Garage. I want to see you, and it is really very fun.
I believe the Shop Co-Op is the gemstone of the Community House project. But so far it has remained a rough uncut gem. I am not sure even how to get started on this process of cutting away the bedrock.
I have worked through enough project ideas with my students using a reflective action plan process that I have some tools to get started. I know for example, to draw on the expertise of the community. I have been looking for my tradesmen, and it seems like I am not looking in the right place.
Just the other day, I was speaking with my cousin Laura about my dilemma. She told me that her daughter had worked for a man Manny Rodriguez who has started a program called Revolution Workshop in Chicago. He sounds like an amazing visionary, and I need to connect.
I then started looking at the Peoria City Council website, and found that in Peoria the host events to highlight construction careers.
So I have a start. That is what it takes. Now time for me to make a connection and talk with some like-minded people. As Lakshmi said, "Don't be afraid to ask for what you need."
It was 6 months ago today that I officially purchased the two houses that are the foundation of the Community House Network. Anniversaries are milestones to be celebrated, and so today I will find something to cheer about. In your own projects, make sure you do the same!
If you have read Shackleton's Way, then you should take note of the power of celebration and positive morale. From their website: SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON has been called "the greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none" for saving the lives of the twenty-seven men stranded with him in the Antarctic for almost two years. Because of his courageous actions, he remains to this day a model for great leadership and masterful crisis management. Now, through anecdotes, the diaries of the men in his crew, and Shackleton's own writing, Shackleton's leadership style and time-honored principles are translated for the modern business world.
The Community House Network is a big vision. To succeed I am going to need all the encouragement I can muster. By looking at the successes, not just focusing on the seeming failures, I will give myself the inner resolve necessary to continue to move forward. I encourage everyone reading this to take a minute to do the same. Think of the past 6 months, or year even. Where have you been able to see some successes in your life? Where are you aligned with you vision for your future. Take a minute and celebrate those. Write them down, and put them in your pocket. Keep looking for the successes and good people all around you.
In our course on Creativity, we have been discussing the use of creative intentions to live a life we want to see. Truly, I am a big believer that we get what we put out there into the world. Unfortunately, with all of my good intentions, I still have some negative twists where my low self-esteem can come in to create chaos and set me up for self-sabotage.
My creative intention for our first session was to believe that "People are Good and Here to Help." I repeated this phrase to myself for two weeks, and even wrote a song. I had become frustrated because I was not seeing the type of participation I wanted, and specifically some folks I thought were my biggest helpers seemed to have left me high-and-dry.
Then I had a realization, maybe those two weren't meant to be my helpers. I sent out texts to a dozen other people, and they showed up! Within a week the small garage behind the Community House came down and made room for us to access the Shop Co-Op (the gemstone of this project).
Hooray for positive visioning! I made a little video of to honor the experience and used the song I had written.
Check it out!
PEOPLE ARE GOOD & HERE TO HELP!
An Idealist-Realist. Striving to Bring those Idealistic Dreams into Reality.