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!

We’re Back!

Sorry that we’ve been mute for a while, but good things are in the offing. We’re in the process of making a new web page to house all of the videos for Healing Heart to Heart so that they will be easier to access. The page and project will be called Heart 2 Heart Strong and will be found at heart2heartstrong.org.

Now, this is slow in coming for a couple of reasons. One is that we’ve been visiting our son who is stationed with the Coast Guard in Puerto Rico. We highly recommend visiting this beautiful island! It is recovering from the hurricane and as tourists, we found much to see and do and all encounters we had with people were overflowing with kindness and friendliness. If you want to help the islands recover, go and spend your tourist money enjoying this wonderful country!

The second reason is that Rachel, a generous and skilled woman, volunteered to help us get the new web page up and running. However, her precious daughter, Elanora Catherine, decided to join the world early. So, Rachel is busy being in the blessed cocoon of new motherhood and the web page, like Elanora, will come in its own time!

We hope you all are well and that you hang in there with us; good thing are coming!

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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Assessment: you need to do more assessment

 

New Years, it always seems an appropriate time to talk about resolutions.  In working our Conscious Living project I have discovered not a need for resolutions, but rather a need for ongoing reflective self assessment.  The “stop and think” aspect of Conscious Living oddly enough has found its way into a new perspective and habit of how I try to approach life.  It has become clear that “plowing ahead” with work or chores or obligations of all stripes is a recipe for frustration and overwhelm.  So first things first, it’s helpful to stop and think every day, indeed twice a day and do an attitude and process check on yourself.

I have started outlining for myself a process by which to frame my day for adherence to faith, principles and priorities, (the start the day bit).  Then too I have evolved an outline of steps to take and things to consider in reviewing how well I actually adhered to that faith, those principles and those priorities, (the end of the day bit).

The overarching principles for me have become:  1) do honorable work as well as you can do it,  2)  exhibit honorable behavior,  3)find joy, 4) do this always in the context of growing my relationship with God.  Ok, and my end of the day self assessments tell me where I am failing and succeeding in these intentions.

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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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Report Card Time

 

 

We’re about half way through the year long project of Mindful Living and Conscious Consuming so it’s time for a self assessment.  Some things have pleasantly surprised us, some things we have done well, and some we have failed.  This assessment will take a few posts, here is the first one.

The wonderful surprise is the sense of greater ease that we feel; this is something that we’ve written about previously.  In taking much of the noise and distractions of our media and purchasing off of the table, time has become more fluid and flexible and the beauty and wonder of life is more evident in all aspects of our life, both the fabulous and the challenging.

Now for the detail of how we think we’ve been doing.  I’ll begin with the areas of consumption and will address the areas of change following this assessment.

Purchases:  We give ourselves a grade of  B

We have mindfully bought things that we needed, like more irrigation hose and the parts to fix the mower.  We have also purchased some gifts that were “things” rather than experiences.  This marginally fits with our goals.  One of our sons lives overseas and one is training with the Coast Guard.  Both had birthdays this autumn.  We purchased scuba experiences for them but, as a mom, I simply wanted to send them a package with something to unwrap.  So, I indulged that with some small gifts.  We have also made a couple of purchases that were not necessary.  One is a new winter jacket for Bill, the other was shoes for me.  Bill lost his favorite jacket (light weight down that is flexible for working outside).  After searching for a month, we replaced it.  I purchased some new shoes because I injured my back and needed shoes that supported that healing process.  I could have worn my athletic shoes for this purpose, but they don’t go with the type of clothing I often wear, so I indulged in a pair.  We have also bought books.  We’re using the library more, but we have purchased some books that we want to keep as resources; most of these are about gardening and spirituality.

There are other purchases that we make that support our mindful consuming.  One is that we have a habit of buying meals for others when we are out.  For example, a few weeks ago I was grabbing a bite of dinner before an evening meeting and noticed a family with 3 daughters.  They were playing a clapping game while waiting for their food.  Once the food was delivered, the family was conversing and laughing together.  This is in contrast to many we see in restaurants who ignore others at the table while they scroll through their phones, or play a movie for their children rather than engage with them.  I bought the family a gift card for that restaurant and let them know how wonderful it was to witness their loving interaction.

We live in a small town (population around 6000) and decided that we would spend money at our local businesses.  Last weekend we went to two businesses with nothing we needed in mind but just to buy from our local community. Thank you Aztec Hardware and Lil Aztec Flower Shop for contributing to our community!  Because of the recent shootings, to further support our community, we to attended Aztec Sparkles, a community night and parade, and sought to buy a little something from as many businesses as possible.  We appreciate those who attended the event and the businesses that participated!

Entertainment/Screens: 

We have watched 5 films in the last 6 months.  The most recent was downloading a Christmas movie on Netflix the day after the Aztec High School Shooting.  We, like most of our community, were exhausted and needed some rest.  Another was Lion, the film version of a book club book.  We watched it because I was the only one in the club who hadn’t seen the film.  We went to one movie, All Saints, on an afternoon when we were just tired and wanted an escape.  It was based on a true story and was uplifting.  We also downloaded one film to watch on a cold, dark night after the time changed from daylight savings.  We do watch something when we work out because it helps us motivate to use those exercise machines.  Bill has a collection of old DVDs he watches.  One of them broke before the end of the movie, so we Netflixed it to see the ending.  Other than that, we have engaged in no television or movies.

Travel:  B

Our goal was to reduce our  routine driving and to observe our patterns with trips.  We have been successful in using our cars less, partially because we are purchasing less.  We can still improve here in terms of planning our trips to town.

We have taken several small trips.  What all trips but one have in common is that they were about building relationship.  We attended a wedding, graduation, friends’ daughter’s concert, and went camping with our son.  The one trip that doesn’t fit that pattern is our Thanksgiving sojourn to the Grand Canyon.  Nearly a decade ago Bill and I promised ourselves that we would travel on the first holiday that neither of our sons came home.  That happened to be this Thanksgiving and we chose to spend it in the grandeur of that magnificent canyon.

Food:  D

We did well in the summer with our local and organic purchases.  We also had a moderately successful garden.  We purchased beef from a 4-H youth and pork from one of Bill’s coworkers.  Our pantry is well stocked with a variety of local and home grown foods.

We utterly failed on the eating out component.  We mentioned this in a previous blog.  It’s largely a result of living in a rural area so we can’t pop home to grab a bite when we have 12 or 14 hour days caused by evening meetings after work.  That was further complicated by Bill being on a no carb diet for most of that time.  It was so much effort to continually make appetizing food that would travel well and meet Bill’s diet that we got weary and partially gave up.  This is an area where we need to set new goals and recommit!

Watching/listening to News:  Susan  A-, Bill  D     Exploring a topic from multiple perspectives:  F

I, Susan, have found it easy not to engage in the news.  I don’t miss NPR or checking out things online.  Occasionally I’ll listen to radio news when I drive but I usually find it to be disappointing.  Our news is often about things that I believe miss the boat or are not important.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t engage in community or world events, but that I do so from an energetic perspective.  More on that in the next part of our assessment.

Bill has a hard time not listening to the news or talk radio when he drives and he also regularly visits some blog sites.  We purchased some Great Courses cds to help with this but he’s having a hard time breaking his habit.  The course he’s currently enjoying is a CD set on “Books that have made History: Books that can change your life.”  In general, Bill thinks that taking some of the “dead time” spent in driving to further his liberal education is a very good thing.  As in everything else, what one chooses to attend to is key.  Does it develop my understanding of the world?  Does it enhance my appreciation for the magnificence of Nature or the higher callings of human beings?  Discernment is central this whole media question.

We thought that we’d jump into exploring how a topic is being discussed in multiple places around the world.  We were very excited about artificial intelligence and how it is being developed and discussed because it seems that we are at a decision point with this technology where we can either hurt or enhance humanity and we need to raise our voices.  Surprisingly, we haven’t had passion to engage in the research.  We have followed the areas of our project that excite us most and this one has fallen by the wayside.  Perhaps we’ll engage in it as the project continues.

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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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