VISION & VALUES

"Where there is perfection there is no story to tell." ~ Ben Okri, poet and novelist

My vision is simple: to live in a world where all people are able to share their story. And to be heard.

 

I have had many different 'jobs' in my life. In South Africa, I taught undergrad English Literature and aerobics. It was the eighties - what can I say? I have been an astrology researcher, tarot reader and reiki practitioner. In the olden days, before computers and spell check, I worked at a publishing house, proofreading and editing. As a journalist, I wrote for a home and gardening magazine. And if you have seen my garden (and my decorating), it will make you wonder what on earth I wrote. In Texas, as a hospice worker, I sat with people as they died. It remains the single sacred experience I have not yet written about. I have worked in school districts and dance studios and with high performance sports groups. I have participated in restorative justice processes with individuals who have harmed and been harmed. I have been a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend and a sister. And in every instance, it is the same - voicing our stories liberates us. Our shared experiences of happiness, grief and imperfection unite us.

The spirit of ubuntu is etched in my bones. Loosely translated, ubuntu means "I am because you are." The way I feel, act, think, react, is so intricately entwined with your thoughts, actions, beliefs and reactions to me, that finding where you start and I end is near impossible. This is the power of community and the need to belong.

During a board strategic planning session a few years ago, I decided it was time to do a little personal strat planning. How do I want to live the rest of my life? What are my values?

 

It was a messy process. Lots of dancing in circles. But when I looked closely at the past nearly six decades - at what truly gives my days meaning - there were three that popped out, like neon fairy lights in a forest at midnight under a new moon. They don't make a fancy acronym but that's OK. 

 

And so, when I decide what work to do, whether to chat with a stranger, travel during a pandemic, or even whether to get on the back of a motorcycle, these are what guide me...

 

KINDNESS

 Anything can be done kindly. Sometimes it just takes a little longer. 

AWE

Defined as a "feeling of reverential respect mixed with wonder," it's how five-year-olds view the world. 

For some reason, it's easier to reach this state when you remove your shoes.

HUMILITY

When I cross paths with friends, strangers, or family (actually, specially family), it's my reminder of how very little I know.

That I can never truly understand what it is to be someone else.

If I forget everything I think I know about life and human beings and the person in front of me,

I often discover the most fantastic, unexpected things.

Which brings me back to awe...