Unexpected Little Gifts

Appreciating the little and the not so little unexpected gifts feeds the field of gratitude, makes the heart glad and the soul sing.  It shifts the the shape of the moment, the day, our world, the world we touch including our relationships.

If we only care to pay attention, there are so many unexpected little gifts that show up in the run of a day -  and some of them are not so little.  A comment here.  A nice touch in there.  Someone noticing, paying attention, listening.  Connecting with other human beings – sometimes friends, sometimes strangers -  contact illuminated in a gesture, a word, eye contact, a touch.

Unexpected little gifts in my life in just the last day or so?  Dinner last night with a friend of mine and a beautiful young friend of my teenage boys – they are away for University, their friend, who has become my friend, stayed here for University and we headed out for dinner at The Wooden Monkey.  The Wooden Monkey in Halifax is one of those not so unexpected little gifts – beautiful, home grown, organic food lovingly cooked and served with care.  A beautiful late September night inspiring a walk on the waterfront and a drink later at an outdoor cafe.

As I write my book – Embracing the Stranger in Me – coming across really good writing from a decade ago that I had completely forgotten I wrote so now I don’t need to rely on memory – my writing from the time will take me back there into those compelling experiences that contributed to the me who now shows up in this world.

My hairdresser, unfortunately, broke her wrist and couldn’t cut my hair, but referred me to a place a client had given me a hundred dollar gift certificate for a few months ago.  Nice unexpected little gift.

Friends find me on Facebook chat or skype and we have short or long chats that pick up the spirit and make the day shine, sometimes just a hello and sometimes opening up the gift of possibility.

My eight year old says, “Mom, you’re the best mom ever.  I wish there were two of you!”  (I do too, but probably not for the same reason.)

There are so many more delights in every single day.  They shape my world.  They make me smile.  They energize me.  They motivate me.  They bring me joy.  They give me strength, remind me of my strength, connect me to my strength and then I radiate the joy, peace, and connection I experience, attracting more of it, helping me see and support brilliance in the world, in my friends, my family and the people I have the honour and privilege of working with.

Like my Brazilian friends who I will be joining at the end of this week (along with another good friend from Colorado) for an Art of Hosting training near Sao Paulo.  Good friends.  Deep relationships.  Amazing work already – with each other and in Brazil.  The swiftness with which my travel visa was processed. Smiling to sense into what more will emerge there.

Unexpected little gifts.  In every single day, in so many ways.  I like it when they shift the shape of my world and my experience. I look forward to seeing what unexpected little gifts show up in my day tomorrow and the tomorrows after that.  Maybe you will be one of them.  Maybe I will be one of them for you.

Social Media Changing Social Norms

Had a fascinating conversation with a small group of people at #PodCampHfx last Sunday about the role of social media in shifting the shape of the world.  I was particularly interested in its influence along the chaordic path – that place between chaos and order we seem to be navigating more and more frequently in the world right now.

The Chaordic Path

The Chaordic Field

I wanted to understand more the influence of social media on the chaordic path and  what the opportunity is to influence it more strategically or with greater intentionality.  I also shared the stepping stones of the Chaordic Path: need, purpose, principles, people, concept, limiting beliefs, structure and processes, and practice.

Social media facilitates networks or webs of people in making interconnected relationships more visible.  Partly because of this it is also driving greater transparency in today’s world.  Buzz spreads rapidly through Facebook or Twitter and it is a lot harder to hide information, indiscretions, faux pas’ or worse.  Even with privacy settings, you cannot control what someone else posts.

There was a time that technology was isolating for people.  It was easier to sit at home emailing people half way around the world than it was to go knock on the door of the next door neighbour.  The rise of social technology though is enabling people to connect and reconnect with each other in ways that also generates in person contact.  Friends in a city will find each other through social technology – on the web and in person.  There are examples of how Twitter friends, who may or may not have actually met each other,  arrive at conferences and then set up the opportunity to meet face-to-face.

What was most interesting in our chat at #podcampHFX was how often the word community popped up.  I have noticed that people are yearning for community and sense of connection and social media seems to have created pathways to community in surprising ways.  And the most intriguing thought: social media is transforming our social norms, changing the parameters of acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour, doing this broadly and maybe more swiftly than any other social norm shift in the history of civilized society.

I’m still reflecting on how social media is shifting the shape of our world and contributing to the regeneration of community.

Training together for clarity, love and courage in 2010

This New Year’s Eve posting has been evoked by my friend Chris Corrigan.  He said: “Let’s let this next decade be one where we train together in clarity and love. The fierce love of courage and maturity that it takes to bring peace in the world, in our collective and individual realms.”

The shape of the world is shifting and never more so than right now.  We all bear witness to it.  Some of us focus on the doom, gloom and fear of it.  Some of us focus on the hope inspired by passionate, creative people of all ages who are awake or waking up to the notion that we are all connected and that what I do as an individual, no matter how small or localized, really does make a difference.

If we inspire one other person by the way we live our life, by our optimism, by our hope, by our actions, that will have been enough.  But the hidden, still yet to be fully discovered story in all of this is what Paul Hawkins speaks of in Blessed Unrest.

We are part of a movement that is greater and deeper than we know or can know.  This movement is flying under the radar of the media and mass culture so far.  It is a shared understanding arising spontaneously – everywhere and across all boundaries all at the same time.  It is a civil rights movement, a human rights movement, a democracy movement, a social and environmental movement.  It is marked by kinship, community and symbiosis. It has no center and no one spokesperson. It is humanity’s immune response and it continues to grow.

As it grows it is beginning to see itself more.  People from around the world are beginning to connect in both the obvious and the strangest places – Copenhagen, list serves, FaceBook – in person and through social media.  There is a heightened sense of it coming out of Copenhagen as more and more people become aware of the need to take responsibility and act – rather than let our fate wait in political speak and negotiations.

I think the characteristics of this movement are exactly what Chris said – The fierce love of courage and maturity that it takes to bring peace in the world, in our collective and individual realms.

We all need to be warriors in this training ground of clarity, love and courage.  This is my call to action for 2010.  I’ll be there.  Will you?

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