Monday, July 27, 2009

I Just Don't Know

Tanissa calls me from Lopez and throws words at me, her voice full of fear. She tells me of this kid she knows who let this kid he knows drive his car on the island, yesterday afternoon. She tells me of this other, much younger kid she does not know who got hit by the car and is now in the hospital. She tells me of this man we will never know who is now dead, also hit by the car.

And I reach for reason and come up empty.

And I reach for faith and something deep inside whispers something, but I cannot hear it.

This morning, right now, I know nothing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Do Unto Others

As I laid in bed yesterday afternoon, prone to a sudden, rare and yet almost total crash of energy, Chris sat by me and asked me if I would like him to bring me some cream and a video.

Some cream and a video.

The idea of cream made my stomach turn a little and I could barely wrap my mind around the concept of focusing on a video.

I declined and asked him for a glass of water instead.

Last night, as we talked, I realized that he had offered me the two things that would have made HIM feel a lot better: he likes to sip cream out of a wine glass (I know, isn’t it cute, though?) and there is rarely a time when a movie won’t cheer him up.

So, he was wanting the give me the good stuff. HIS good stuff.

Just as, seeing him under the weather I might have offered to run him a hot bath while straightening out the living room and putting out a vase of fresh flowers - which he would not even have noticed.

So, really it is not so much “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but rather “do unto others whatever is going to make them happy - even if it feels a bit strange to you.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Geranium Picking and Fire Stocking

As I tend to the geraniums and nasturtiums who live in my window boxes (I have never had window boxes in my home before this summer), I realize that the whole pruning, picking, watering, rearranging and general nurturing that takes place scratches an itch in me. A motherly itch perhaps, now that my kids are growing up and need me in different ways.

And then I remember that first winter after their Dad and I separated and they spent seven days and night in a row “in their other home.” I, in turn, spent hours and hours tending the fire in my wood stove, sitting by it, feeding it, turning the logs around, watching it glow and getting up in the middle of the night to make sure it was still breathing.

Today, that all makes very sweet sense.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Forty Years of Pizza

“I have friends all over the world.”

It is early in the morning and I have called this older gentleman to discuss the possibility of collaborating on re-opening the town’s drive-in movie theater (that’s another whole story). We seem unable to stick to the subject at hand, however, thus his declaration.

Quickly followed by:
“I made most of them over pizza.”

I then find out that for the last forty years, without fail and wherever he found himself in the world, every Friday, my new friend has gone out for pizza and invited whoever wanted to sit at his table to join him.

He has done it in France, in Vietnam, in Sweden too (I think he said Sweden...) and many other places. He continues to do it, every Friday, at home in Anacortes.

So there you go:
A crust of generosity, a layer of adventure, some bits of curiosity, a good helping of conversation, a good sprinking of hospitality and a whole bunch of cheese.

Pretty darn cool, no?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Client Boundaries

(Written in May 09)

My friend seemed shocked. She said “You HUG your clients???”

We had just walked out of a movie theater and briefly ran into a group of three women with whom I had been working for a while; the four of us were happy to see each other and warm hugs ensued, complete with the happy noises that women sometimes make when they are, well ... happy to see each other.

What felt to me like a natural expression of joy seemed to offend my friend who quickly educated me - in what I heard as a worried tone - about her version of a healthy client / coach relationship.

This was a few years ago and while I never fully subscribed to her theory, her words remained in the background of my mind and occasionally made it to the foreground as I broke, again and again the boundaries of what worked - for her.

I have watched my clients’ dogs so that they may go on trips, I have returned calls at strange hours in order to offer a few calming words, I have opened my art studio and shared my supplies so that words that did not know how to be spoken may be painted, I have entertained my clients’ kids so they, in turn, could go play and “be”, I have driven my clients to the doctor when their backs were out, contributed to their kids’ tuition when it felt right to do so, shared a self-defense class to make it more fun (for both of us) - and way more.

And I have definitely given and received a lot of hugs.

And while it always felt right, my friend’s voice never fully went away.

Until this morning.

This morning, in the sweet space that exists right before we open our eyes, I knew my truth.

I knew how this works - for me.

As I woke up in a beautiful, peaceful room, overlooking a Canadian river and facing a hill where wild horses roam, I knew.

I knew that my own boundaries are strong in their ability to be soft. I knew that my intuition guides me well on the path to remaining open and connected in a way that is healthy.

I know because my dog fell asleep in front of my client’s fire last night, after a long walk on the beach: Laure is watching her so that Chris and I may go spend a few days in Kamloops, where Brigette invited us. Yes, she invited us to stay with her at her Riverside Inn, and gave us the best room in the house, made us an amazing late night snack and showered us with so much care that my eyes teared up. I know because Kristin will be checking on our cat, today, while we are away. I know because before we left, Rebecca lent me her computer charger so that I may continue to write as my own suddenly quit. I know because Carol has asked me to meet her for tea, next week, just to talk ...

I know because I know that Goodness is so precious that it is NOT to be used sparingly, not to be handed out fearfully.

This morning, I know.

Perhaps the line between clients and friends is sometimes not as sharp as I thought it would always be, when I started my career.

Perhaps it takes a little bit more work to keep checking in
to be sure that it all feels right.

And this “little bit more work” part, is also what I love. I love being aware of boundaries as a starting place and also being aware that they are mine to stretch. Consciously.

Hugs to all,