These things I know about myself

*  I would rather teach people to think beautiful thoughts than to create grammatically correct sentences.
*  I believe that beauty and justice are inextricably intertwined and I want to bring more of both into the world.
*  I believe that the greatest inventions, discoveries, and solutions emerge when people start asking the right questions.
*  I believe that you have to ask a lot of questions in order to get to the right ones.
*  I am happy when I can help bold creativity blossom in those around me.
*  A little part of me shrivels up inside when I find myself stifling creativity with too many rules and judgements.
*  I am easily distracted by colourful markers and clean white paper.
*  I believe that personal leadership is more important than positional leadership.
*  I choose community over team, circle over hierarchy, and family over corporation.
*  I believe that shared stories open doorways to transformation.
*  I am less productive when I haven’t had time for deep contemplation and equally deep play. The two go hand in hand.
*  I believe that our differences are important but that they should not divide us.
*  I delight in making new connections with people whose ways of looking at the world intrigue me. I am open to letting them change me, if it’s for the best.
*  I am committed to hosting and being part of more conversations and inquiries that follow spiral patterns (moving inward to deeper wisdom) rather than linear pathways.
*  Deep and soulful listening is often the best gift I can give anyone, and so I strive to keep my mouth shut and my ears open more often.
*  I believe in walking lightly on this earth, and hope to some day use fewer resources for my own personal gain.
*  I want to be open-minded and open-hearted and to live with delight as my constant companion.
*  I believe that vulnerability and truth-telling can serve as catalysts for deep relationships and profound change.
*  I believe that in order to create one great work of art you have to be prepared to create at least 100 mediocre ones first.
*  I believe that time spent in meditation, prayer, and body movement is never time wasted, and I hope to some day live like I believe it.
*  I believe that God created each of us to do good work and that we cheat our Creator and our world when we let our self-doubt and fear keep us from doing it.
*  I want to bring more colour and light into otherwise dreary spaces.
*  I strive to be more courageous tomorrow than I was today.
*  I believe in daily transformation, continuous learning, and growth that doesn’t end until the day I exhale my last breath.
*  I am committed to doing my best work, which is at the intersection of creativity, leadership, community, and story-telling.

Joy Journal #7

1. This magical summer. Beautiful weather and a lack of bugs – almost more goodness than a “proud-to-be-hardy” Winnipeger can handle!

2. My feet. Oh my – they have carried me so far this summer! Walking, walking, and more walking. Yesterday – 18 km. The day before – 14 km. I love my feet.

3. Discovery. Wandering around my city on foot makes for a lot of interesting discoveries – things I’d never seen in a car.

4. Work. More of it than I anticipated. So much that my calendar looks full from now until April.

5. Teaching. Oh how I enjoy being in a classroom and teaching and inspiring and helping people remember their own sense of wonder and delight!

6. Confidence. A sense of self-assuredness that my intuitive path is a better one for me to follow than the well-trodden path others are following (especially when it comes to teaching).

7. Support circles. People who show up when you want them to. People who let you cry when you need to. People who celebrate with you when that’s what you need.

8. Movies in the park. Popcorn, cold drinks, lawnchairs, a little Indiana Jones, and people I like to hang out with.

9. Iced tea. Especially the glass my husband brought me an hour ago.

10. An upcoming adventure. A road trip, a three day walk with interesting people, and some time to connect with my favourite people in 2 different cities.

11. Kites and swings and suction cup arrows. Or more specifically, the two evenings this week Maddy & I have hung out in the park making each other laugh, trying to fly kites with little wind and shooting each other with suction cup arrows.

12. Anticipation. The really cool & diverse people who’ve already signed up for my creative writing class and the fun things I’ve got in mind to do with them.

13. Wanderers, edge-walkers, fringe-livers, freaks, misfits – and all of those lovely souls who are wandering with me on the path.

14. Cheerfulness. More specifically, a shift in tone in my mom’s voice after the ravages of surgery and chemo have subsided somewhat.

15. A shift. More hopefulness in our family, even though not all of the hard things in life have been resolved (ie. the fact that Marcel’s job offer turned out to be a dud that he turned down).

16. Notes on the whiteboard in front of me, from sneaky visitors to my office. “Julie is boss. Nikki is gorgeous. Maddy is awesome. Dad is silly. Nikki rocks. Julie is a beautiful girl.”

Joy Journal #6

The last three weeks have been full of so much… ummm… I hardly know how to describe it… BIGness. FULLness. GOODness. Happiness. Inspiration. Love. Fill-in-the-blanks-with-superlatives.

First there was ALIA, and then there was my annual (26th year!) trek to the Winnipeg Folk Festival with various members of my tribe. Both were amazing places to spend time, where I was surrounded with beautiful words, passionate people, shake-the-world ideas, take-my-breath-away moments of wonder, and so much inspiration I’ll still be writing about it for weeks to come.

I wish you all could have been there.

I feel so very, very blessed to have experienced so much goodness.

These are just a few of the random things that brought me joy in the last few weeks:

1. Sitting alone at the Little Stage on the Prairie, listening to Ray Wylie Hubbard lead the audience in a “Snake Farm” sing-along, while cotton ball clouds drifted by overhead.

2. Late night talks with Ann Badillo and Kathy Jourdain, two ALIA soul-sisters.

3. “Nothing to do but hang out and listen to good music” moments with my family at the Folk Festival.

4. Standing on the roof of a beautiful victorian home with interesting new friends, watching fireworks on Canada Day (even though I was in the U.S, and they called it the Red, White, and Boom festival).

5. Eating a spinach, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar crepe in the North Market in Columbus.

6. Wandering off the beaten track along the river (in Columbus) and discovering the most amazing skatepark someone had made by hand out of packed mud in the middle of the woods.

7. A brief but inspirational after-dinner conversation with Darcy Winslow that reminded both of us of the importance of personal stories, especially for women in leadership.

8. Seeing Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long perform This is My Voice.

9. Maddy’s tattoo and her dad’s sense of humour. 

10. Being hugged by my family in the middle of the night in the airport and knowing I am deeply loved.

11. Delicious food and good company at Alana’s in Columbus.

12. Many, many moments of light (both kinds).

13. Throwing various things in the air (hats, balls, glowsticks) with my exuberant nephew Jack. And sharing a popsicle & sucker with him.

14. Doodling on my arm and leg. And not worrying about whether I looked foolish doing it.

15. Dancing with my daughters, niece, nephew, and sister.

16. Being witness to love and the circle of life as I watched my oldest daughter carry my nephew back to the car after a long day.

17. Sitting with several people at different moments and offering them safe space and a listening ear for their stories.

18. Fireflies. Thousands of them sparkling along the river pathway.

19. Fearing & White. One of my favourite Folk Fest moments, and the cd I took home at the end of the weekend.

20. Being fully present in this wild and precious life.

Joy Journal #5

– Pelicans. I’ve seen more of them this Spring than ever and I just love the way they glide through the air in giant, lazy, graceful circles.

– Birthday lunch with my 14 year old daughter Julie on a patio yesterday afternoon.

ALIA. I’ll be there at this time next week with my tribe, soaking in the wisdom, and being awakened to new ideas and possibilities.

– Lilacs. I can’t walk past a blooming lilac bush without stopping to smell the blossoms.

– New, soft growth on evergreen trees. I can’t resist reaching out to touch.

– Interesting clients who let me serve as midwife for their stories. This is more fun than I could have imagined.

– Interesting members of my Paint Clothes learning circle. I can hardly imagine more fascinating and deeply honest conversations. They energize me to do more of this work.

– Friends. And the fact that I get to hang out with several of them at ALIA and another one after ALIA.

– Princess Bride, and the giggles I had with friends and followers on Facebook & Twitter as we shared favourite quotes.

– Books, books, and more books. (My “Sophia Reads” page is updated with new recommendations.)

– Hope showing up in some places that seemed hopeless a few months ago.

– Arizona Green Tea with ginseng & honey.

– A healed foot injury that means I can go for long walks and runs again. (Note: for those who remember that I was going to run the half marathon, well, I’m not. I missed a month of training and I’m just not up for it, but I’m going to do the 10 k walk this Sunday instead. And I continue to train for the 100 km. walk in September.)

This work I get to do. Today I am filled with gratitude that I was chosen for this amazing work and that I get to interact with such an amazing circle of people in the process.

 

 

Joy Journal #3

– Another successful teaching session over. My students are awesome. Really. I’ve grown quite attached to them. They helped the teacher in me emerge.

– A two week break before I start teaching another session (with the same students).

– Lots of time to WRITE in the next two weeks.

– Lunch with my dear friend Jo-Anne. We have some of the BEST conversations.

– A really great book.

– Egypt. Oh my gosh. I don’t know when I’ve been so moved by a news story. It just makes a dreamer like me believe in possibilities all over again. We CAN change the world. Together.

– A really exciting possibility that is opening up that will involve travel AND interviewing some amazing people AND going to one of my favourite learning places to be inspired and challenged. Stay tuned.

– A leadership workshop I get to facilitate this afternoon. And the bonus point is the fact that I’ve done it before so the prep time is minimal.

– Writing retreat! Just me, my laptop, my journal and a pen hanging out in a Catholic retreat centre for a few days. No internet, no phones, no obligations. Just a commitment to follow the muse and WRITE!

– This video of my adorable 2 year old nephew reading “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”!

Joy Journal #2

running in the snow– Running in the fresh snow (well, okay… the real joy was in the FINISHING!)

– My iPod that keeps me entertained while I run

– The delicious chicken vindaloo curry my husband cooked the other night

– The beautiful winter wonderland outside my window

– Hoarfrost-covered trees at the legislative building that took my breath away when I stepped out of my classroom at lunch time

– Hosting our former mayoral candidate, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, as our guest speaker in class this week

– Lunch with my smart and funny friend Susan

– Lunch with a new friend, wise and warm Priscilla

– Watching the delighted children in the downtown walkway discover the purple walls and remembering that “it pisses God off when you walk past the colour purple without noticing”

– Surviving a root canal by re-listening to the Teacher’s Path podcast of the delightful Jen Louden interviewing the equally delightful Jack Ridl

– The fact that I have a kind and gentle dentist who does his best to make root canals as pleasant as they can be

– Hot baths. And the fact that I have more opportunity for them now that I don’t have to rush out the door to a downtown office every day

– This art project that is the brainchild of my former art teacher

– Dreaming up some workshop and retreat ideas and falling in love with the possibilities

– Tonight’s book club meeting that should probably be called a “wine and conversation club meeting” instead because we rarely discuss the book in question

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