It’s that time of year again….. when we take stock and make resolutions or intentions for the next year. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, like many of us. Looking over the last year it seems like I’ve been getting my ass kicked on a regular basis. What I know about my life is that when I’m getting my ass kicked, there’s work to do.
My favorite part of my job is the “over the counter” conversations I get to have with all kinds of people. Over the last six months I’ve had a lot of these. I’m hearing a common thread: people are struggling and most of us are doing it alone. Why? Is it shame? Is it fear? Is it the unfortunate misconception that reaching out and being vulnerable is weakness? A lot of people are looking towards unhealthy ways to cope; drinking more, shopping more, zoning out more. None of which really helps, it just covers up the pain temporarily, sometimes even making it worse in the end.
In Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly“ she says that this last decade has been the most difficult in American history. Starting with 9-11, the economy taking a dive, unemployment records being set, people loosing their homes, and horrific school shootings. No wonder we are struggling.
Looking at my own silent struggles, I’ve looked to what I look to for relief and inspiration: books and movies that are about solution. Through reaching out and voicing my own difficulties (talk about Daring Greatly!), I’ve been introduced to Brene’ Brown, Martha Beck, books about new discoveries in neural pathways and how we absolutely can restructure how our brain responds to past pain, I’ve re-discovered Pema Chodron. I’ve watched movies like “I Am” and “Happy” and Youtube interviews and TED talks.
One afternoon I came across a Youtube video of an interview with Jonathan Fields author of “Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance” and Brene Brown, author of “The Gifts of Imperfection“, “I Thought It Was Just Me” and her most recent: “Daring Greatly”. In the interview, Jonathan and Brene had an epiphany; most entrepreneurs have an idea about a product or service and then go out and find people to sell it to. Jonathan said, instead, what if we reached out to a community that we want to be of service to and start having deep and intense conversations with them. Find out what they are feeling, what we are feeling, what their needs are, and then, build a solution around those needs? Jonathan also spoke about the most successful businesses are those who are flexible, those that morph with the current needs and desires.
That same morning I came upon this quote on Twitter: “Create what you want to be part of.” So, I am.
Since the Cafe is one of the things that is presently kicking my butt, I have the perfect opportunity to put these things into practice. With the combination of cafe and theatre I have this great venue at my disposal. It is perfect, not only for the plays that it was built for, but for workshops, retreats, video viewings and discussion groups. I want to be part of a place that brings inspiration and tools for healing to this community. Here are just a few of the events that are bouncing around in my head for this year:
January 26th 9:00 am to 4:00 pm – A day of Pema where we will watch Pema Chodron’s on-line retreat: “Fully Alive; Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change“ We will spend the day listening to Pema and meditating. It will include a vegetarian lunch.
February – A day long workshop based on Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly”.
March – A day long workshop based on Martha Beck’s book “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World… Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want”
Monthly TED Talks and a discussion afterward.
We have already started a book club and our first book discussion was on Brene Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection…. Your Guide To a Wholehearted Life”. It was supposed to go for two sessions, but we weren’t through talking about it so we extended it through January. We meet on Tuesdays at 3:30.
I’m writing this particular blog to commit to my New Year’s Resolution: a year of Daring Greatly…. I’m saying it out loud, so on those days when it’s hard to get out of bed, when I’m afraid to try out my newest idea, or when I think it’s all for naught, you can remind me of my commitment. And, I invite you to join me. Dare Greatly this year…. I double dog dare you!