One Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of our We-All-Can project! Thank you to everyone who has posted, followed, and encouraged! It is the sunset of our year of Mindful Living and Conscious Consuming, and the dawn of Heart 2 Heart Strong.

Heart 2 Heart Strong ( www.heart2heartstrong.org )is the result of our We- All- Can project. Because we learned how to manage a website and Facebook page with We- All-Can, we were able to quickly respond with support after the Aztec High school shooting. Heart 2 Heart strong is a new website dedicated to healing from the unspeakable tragedies of school shootings. It is a series of short videos with clergy, counselors, and other healers including a therapy dog trainer. We hope you will share this information widely within communities impacted by the horror of a school shooting. It also applies to healing from all types of grief, tragedy, and loss, whatever the cause; be it a natural disaster, an accident, a shooting, or terrorism. We hope that it provides some comfort and encouragement.

It is taking longer to get our Heart2heartstrong website up and running than we hoped, so if you visit the link above, you will see that it is darker than we want it to be and that it doesn’t load properly on a phone. We’re working on getting it functional! But, until then, please see the initial videos on the Heart 2 Heart tab on this website.

Now for the 2nd part of our year long project…what we learned over the course of the Year of Mindful Living. Firstly, the personal observations are quite similar to our conclusions at the 6 month evaluation. Everything is easier, simpler, and sweeter because of the way we have taken much of the distractions of consumption off of the table. We have more ease and enjoyment in our life, even through the frustrating and challenging events that crop up. This is something to cherish and nurture. Additionally, it is easier to sustain our focus, joy, and aliveness throughout the day; it just flows naturally out of a sense of dominion and unity. These are gifts from a year of living more simply and deliberately.

What are our next steps? We want to play around with days of silence and disengagement from time. Our idea is to begin with a day where we cover all clocks and just see how things unfold. We want to do the same thing without speaking, reading, or engaging with media. We’ll likely combine the two and will also play with multiple days, just for the fun of it.

Life is an amazing gift! We enjoy experimenting in the ways shown through this blog and over the year. How do you enjoy learning, challenging, and enjoying yourself?

We wish you all inspiring experiences and rewarding relationships. Together, We-All-Can live joyously and courageously, and that really does make a difference!

Everything is Different Now

 

 

Our blogs haven’t been regular since the shootings at Aztec High School.  Like most of the community, we are still trying to come to some terms with the aftermath of the tragedy, and the several tragic school shootings since.  And like many, we are emotionally tired.  We’ve been spending more time just being quiet.

Kirk Siegler, a reporter from National Public Radio, spent several days in Aztec last week for a follow up on how the community is doing 3 months after the shooting at Aztec High.  I had the pleasure of meeting with Kirk, sharing contacts, and hearing what he has learned about the continuing impact on our students and community.  You can listen to his report on Morning Edition for March 12, and again on All Things Considered

We’re fortunate that Kirk and NPR committed to a following up on our community, because how we, and other communities recovering from tragedy, move forward (or don’t) is very important.

What is for sure is that we will never be the same.  Every student is changed.  So are all staff at the high school, the families of our 3 dead youth, and our community.  This is a defining moment, and we have an opportunity, as individuals and collectively, to determine who and how we will be going forward.  Courage and love are required.  Our hearts and minds have been tempered by a collective tragedy, and together we can reach for a kinder more compassionate future.

 

 

Works of Heart

Farmington’s Works of Heart Volunteer Appreciation Awards celebrates the caring and effort of volunteers.  We were excited to present We-All-Can as the keynote address because the honorees have a shared spirit with the goals of We-All-Can; they encourage others, enhance community, and because of them, there is more kindness and caring in the world.

The process of preparing the keynote address was a challenge for us.  We had no prior experience speaking on a stage up front of a group of 300 and with 5 large screens showing our work.  The process, by its nature, forced an evaluation of our project so far (Inspiring Each Other Forum, Year of Mindful Living, and Healing Heart to Heart).  It also provided an opportunity to look into the next steps of We-All-Can.

Our vision for We-All-Can includes fostering conversation about what kind of future we want to create.  Reflecting on the future is so valuable  and includes many areas of exploration.  Fundamental questions include:  What ideals and principles do we value?  How will we assess our effectiveness at upholding them?  What qualities do we envision for our best selves, our best communities, and our best world?  It’s so exciting to imagine!

 

Moving through Overwhelm

I’m feeling overwhelmed and have been stuck in and out of that space for a couple of weeks; I’m feeling a little frozen, not unlike the scene outside of our windows.  The project has grown in many unanticipated ways and demands more work and constantly learning new skills.  While it’s invigorating, it’s also exhausting.  Never, when we began this project, did we anticipate making a video series on healing from grief, loss, and trauma.  But, here we are making the Healing Heart to Heart series, creating a YouTube channel, and needing to learn more about sharing on social media.  We feel like we’re not doing any of it to the quality and consistency that it deserves.

So, what keeps us working on it and learning all that’s necessary to keep up?  We are still inspired by the idea of We-All-Can, because we really believe that the many daily kindnesses and courageous thoughts and deeds can lead to real change and healing; and that providing a platform to encourage, comfort, and inspire each other is worthy work.

We are also inspired by the feedback we have been receiving.  Many of you let us know that you have been uplifted by the site.  Several Facebook posts received more than 500 looks and one got nearly 6000.  We are encouraged by our invitation to present We-All-Can at the Mayor’s Volunteer Program Appreciation Awards Banquet with an anticipated audience of over 300.

We are encouraged by your help and kindness.  Pastor Jonathan Dobbs introduced me to the tripod for my phone to film Healing Heart to Heart videos.  Counselor Kelly Anglin spent two patient hours with me filming her video because  my technology didn’t work correctly.  Each person interviewed gave heartfelt wisdom and shared so very generously.  I learned and was blessed by each of you!

Thank you, to each of you who checks out the site, “likes,” or shares.  Thank you to all of you who live your lives with kindness and courage; you inspire us and are our beacon to continue.

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Community Tragedy and Unity

Report Card Continued:

What we have learned about community

What we have learned thus far on our project is more complicated to communicate than our previous report card section on areas of reduced consumption  While we expected surprises, we never anticipated that our little community of Aztec would fall victim to a school shooting.  We reflected on how to help heal the shock, pain, loss and grief and are devoting We-All-Can’s Facebook page to that service.   We have posted a lot of information and nightly prayers for the first two weeks after the shooting.  These are now weekly prayers, on Thursday nights, because the shootings occurred on December 7th, a Thursday Morning.

Healing Heart to Heart, a video series, is our response to help heal from tragedy.  It can be found at the new tab across the top of the We-All-Can homepage.  Healing Heart to Heart is a series of interwiews with healers, clergy, counselors, and leaders about how to respond and heal from loss and tragedy.  We hope the interviews will provide encouragement and comfort.  We hope they provide insight about how to speak to and support individuals and families experiencing tragic loss.  We hope that it will give ideas to parents and teens about how to support themselves and each other.  We hope it will be a place to begin when you are stabbing in the dark and want to move forward.  We hope it will help you to feel less alone and to help others know that they are not alone.  I am grateful for all those who have contributed their wisdom so far, and hope to grow our library of interviews so that they can be available to anyone, anywhere, at any time, who is healing from any type of tragedy.

We have learned much about our community’s resilience, compassion, ingenuity, talent and love.  Healing Heart to Heart videos are testimony to that, as is the information provided on Facebook@weallcaninspire.  The return to wholeness will be a long journey with many bends; it will vary for each person impacted.  We will become whole again, but our new identity as individuals and as a community will be forever changed.  We are touched by the outpouring of love, unity, and support.  It is beautiful.  I pray that others can find ways to bring these beauties in their communities to the forefront without the presence of tragedy.

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A Prayer for the World

 

 

Hafiz, a 14th century Persian poet wrote the following wise words.  I post them here because, unbelievably, a bomb threat was called in today at our local middle school.  All is fine now, but that anyone would seek to re-traumatize our youth, at any time, but especially now as our  community is still in shock from the shootings of Casey and Paco, speaks loudly of where we need healing as a community and as humanity.

May Hafiz’s words give hope.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height
of their arc of anger

because we have finally realized there is just on flesh to woulnd
and it is His–the Christ’s, our
Beloved’s.

I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,

a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this: every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine’s womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
God;

for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching–
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into the world to experience this:

men so true to love they would rather die before speaking
an unkind word,

men so true their lives are His covenant–
the promise of
hope.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands
even at the height of their arc of
rage

because we have finally realized there is just one flesh
we can wound.

by Hafiz, 14th century Persian poet

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Unity from Tragedy

Unspeakable events in our small community occurred yesterday with the shooting death of 2 Aztec high school students, Casey and Francisco, also called Paco. Last night’s vigil was a way to come together.  It is important to remember that we are never alone.  We are not alone in our sorrow, we are not alone in our confusion, we are not alone in our healing.  We have each other; we have the Divine.  To the unfathomably grieving families, we offer our love, hope, and prayers.  To the confused and sorrowful students, we offer comfort and safety.  To our shocked and grieving community, we offer togetherness.  To Governor Martinez, first responders, law enforcement, teachers and Aztec High School staff, we offer our gratitude.

Please see our facebook page for support information, news, and prayers.  facebook@weallcaninspire

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Tragedy can Create Community

As the president said in response to the shooting in Las Vegas, ” Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one — a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims: We are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period. ”

No, we cannot fathom the pain of loved ones left behind, of those recovering in hospitals, and of those who feared for their lives.  It is tragic and outrageous, like the other senseless shootings in our country and around the world.

He also noted that, “In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one — and it always has”.

That sentiment, of unifying out of tragedy, was mentioned after the attacks in Paris and London, and in the wake of many other tragedies, including the recent hurricanes and earthquakes.  It is beautiful that people rise to disasters with caring and compassion.  It is wonderful that donations of time, blood, and money are generously given.  It is healing that people begin to know their neighbors.

We don’t have to wait for tragedy to rise with compassion, caring, and getting to know our neighbors.  We can help to strengthen bonds of community as we live our lives by getting to know and appreciate those who live near us and who we see as we run our errands and shop.

We can have a block party.  We can converse over the fence, in elevators, or standing in line.  We can attend community events and get to know someone new.  We can view school meetings or volunteering as opportunities to build community.   All of these actions help to build safety, caring, and belonging which are some of the positive characteristics that tragedies can bring forth.

In this way we can daily honor those who have died in random violence or who have lost homes and loved ones in natural disasters.   As the president further said in his remarks, “we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.”  We can extend that hope and light to others, and we can receive the gifts that they share.

 

 

 

 

Wonderful Support

The Atlantic at sunset; a gorgeous site for a desert dweller

Travel is one of the categories that we are observing to see what patterns may emerge.  Several things stand out about a trip I took last week:  the joy of celebrating our son, the kindness of strangers, and the support of your posts.

Likely many of you know the joy of celebrating the achievements of someone you love, and that was certainly the highlight of a trip I took across the country last week for our son’s graduation.  Graduations are particularly lovely events because they are clear demarcations of the ending of one phase and beginning of something new. They are a reason to pause, to reflect, to celebrate, to dream.  We hope many of you have experienced this particular joy!

Andrea and Doug Sendebry were wondrous angels as they saved the day by stepping in to pay for my rental car.  Your heart will be warmed and you will be inspired by their actions; see post in the Forum under “Acts of kindness, love, courage” for the full story of their kindness!

http://www.we-all-can.org/forum/#!/actsoflovekindnesscourage

The previous couple of weeks were hectic as we prepared to launch this site, created the ceremony to celebrate a world with more compassion and dignity, and continued to learn new skills so we could moderate the site.  I was exhausted by the time I checked in to my hotel and logged into We All Can.  I read the wonderful forum posts about mindfulness and was inspired to sink into my fatigue rather than resist it.  Because of your wisdom, I began to enjoy the fatigue and found myself smiling at the beauty of life.  Shortly after, I walked to the beach and took the photo above.