In Thanksgiving: Meet The Jesuit Volunteer Corps of the North West

How many times have you heard from earlier generations, ‘Today’s young people’…..followed by some diatribe about the loss of everything that was once good in the world? Well, spend a little time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps of the North West (JVC’s) and your spirit will be renewed.

Recently, I had the distinct privilege of sharing the Daring Way™ along side my friend in Washington with these courageous young people. We traveled to remote cabin camp grounds at the base of a mountain. Picturesque- to say the least.

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Of course, if you are traveling with Me- You WILL get lost. At some point we ended up in a national forest faced with the decision to cross into private property or an area that was so wooded the truck would not fit. My friend wanted to stick to a moose siting story, but getting lost appears to be a part of my everyday plan. I think it also reduced my anxiety about glamping (glamour-camping) because being closer to civilization than originally thought was not as scary.

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Facilitating the Daring Way™, utilizing the work of Brené Brown, is a gift unto itself and with JVC’s was no less special. Each time I am suppose to come to the table with my gifts as a facilitator, I always feel sure I gobble up WAY MORE than I give.

The JVC’s have made the decision to give a year of service in communities through out the North West and work tirelessly with underserved populations. The JVC’s are a subsidiary of Ameri-Corps, which works through out the entire United States in needed communities everywhere. My days as a member of Ameri-Corps were challenging, but the development of character and wisdom do not compare.

The commitment and drive to be present and show up for those that so many have forgotten or want to pretend do not exist is at the epitome of love and grace.

If you have lost your way- have forgotten what is good and beautiful in this world, perhaps am unsure of what to be grateful for today, spend just one day with these glorious spirits and you shall be renewed. I watched as they broke bread in their simple abundance of presence. Pure- crystal clear presence….smiling and dancing in this joyful grace together.

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At times, I was envious. There may never be a time again where such a connection exists. I did everything I could to simply remain present in their joy…..but it was impossible, at times, to not want to bottle it up and keep it in a sparkly sniffing jar for later.

Now, it would be a major loss to not honor the strife and heartache that comes with giving up so much. Imagine giving up your home, the majority of your things and trade in your life for one where you live with a group of strangers, have no car and literally (dependent upon where you are placed) trudge in the snow during the winter. It can be extremely difficult to live away from family and friends, much less trying to decide who amongst six other people is going to keep the bathroom clean. Add in long hours and often intense work creates a kind of sacrifice that many would be unwilling to consider. But, a JVC makes a conscious choice to be a vehicle for change. To lay the compost, making the ground fertile for those who often live a life in barrenness.

There is no doubt the work is transformational. To witness it is a blessing and a reminder of Thanksgiving. So, if you have forgotten to face the sun- if you have forgotten about the youthful goodness that thrives in our world, just take a peak at the JVC’s of the NorthWest. Take a long deep drink of the spirit knowing there are people in the world doing the work of the people.

THIS ~This is what holds up the world when you think your house is burning down. Give of Yourself and YOU will be forever changed. May a moment of gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day be in gratitude to the JVC’s of the NorthWest and to all of those who choose to give of themselves in their lives. For myself, the JVC’s are transformation in motion ~what a stunning site. Today, I give thanks to the JVC’s for giving me a little peak into your lives and renewing my spirit in all of humanity.

NAMASTE

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http://jvcnorthwest.org

http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20

                                                                        LIVE.OUT.LOUD.

The Golden Rule is NOT a Fixed Position

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I am having the time of my life! You would never know it by the Ass Whoopin’ I’m taking at times.

Who says ‘ass-whoopin’ and ‘time of their life’ in the same sentence?

Some days I am certain there is seriously something wrong with me. Then I remember, I have decided to lay down my House of Armour and LIVE. OUT. LOUD. At least for today. Tomorrow may not look like this, but today I chose to stand on my values and allow myself to really be seen. I can’t believe that I’m actually saying that I’m having the time of my life to be honest with you. I am choosing to dare greatly by facilitating my first Daring Way™ group with such beautiful people. I sometimes want to scoop them all up and take them home with me to my family. Other moments, I want to run away screaming out of fear that I will never measure up because I am too young, sling around too many cuss words and listen to weird music. (I always envision myself running away in my kelly green dress with my hands flailing and of course trip because I have on three inch nude heels).

But a moment keeps grabbing my attention while processing through group session after group session (Yes, us therapy-heads can’t live with ourselves until we process the process). Someone suggested that I not reach out to someone privately in the group because the side conversation would be too time consuming. I really had to think on that. The question really became, ‘Where is MY time boundary?’ ‘What am I willing to put in?’ Interestingly enough, my reasoning for not reaching out in that moment ended up having nothing to do with my boundary issue around time, but instead, the need for the work to remain in the group. Something very important would have been lost if it took place off alone, somewhere else.

I often say that I genuinely disagree with the golden rule. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” (Matthew 7:12) What my boundary is around my time, how I spend my money? Who I would consider a friend?….the list goes on and on are invariably so different from one person to the next. Who says that I am right and they are wrong? There are so many areas of gray in our lives and what may be a meaningful boundary for one person may be a violation for the next.

 

So where does my boundary lie around time? While I was deciding whether or not to take the time to reach out to this person privately, my mind kept going back to one thing…..

When I was in college I had befriended a group of physicists. (Don’t ask, other than I was a closet nerd and had NO idea). I had the coolest friend, following my mental work out with him as my tutor.  His name was Joe and I was the supplier of girls to his physics parties, because, well….You know. There weren’t many girls.

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Just that year Joe got a new roommate named Donovan. He had recently lost one of his best friends in a terrible accident. His friend was hit by an 18 wheeler while changing his tire trying to make the trek to California. I had no money, certainly little time and I really did not know him but a few months. But I went to the book store, used the few bucks I had for the end of the month and bought him a sympathy card- it had some cute little sappy puppy on the front of it. I wrote in green pen (don’t ask me why I remember).

Next month Donovan and I will celebrate 17 years of being together. He says that card sparked something in him and when we spoke of it this week, he still gets a big cheesy smile on his face and mutters on about how special it was to him.

It is such a funny thing, this time boundary. I don’t want to be that person that forgets my family and friends birthdays (although I am not so good at it). I want to remember to send sympathy cards on the year anniversary after a family member passed. I want to leave love notes on your car and send kooky cat messages on sad, hard or just lonely days. I don’t want to be that perfunctory girl who just sends out the perfunctory message wishing my friends a happy fill in the blank day. I want to take the time. I want to share my piles of party crap and stay up late making sure some order gets out on time. And sometimes, when the vulnerability dial is high, I am going to take a chance, step out of my comfort zone and share myself with someone new.

I want to leave my legacy as being that kind of person who made you believe

you really mattered, because you do.

And No, I don’t expect the same back. The golden rule is not a fixed position.

So, I am having the time of my life….me and my ass-whoopin’ group. I keep leaning in and listening to where my boundaries work for me, listening carefully as my group dares greatly, voice their boundaries and maybe….just maybe…..We will each decide to take the time to dial up the vulnerability.

LIVE. OUT.LOUD.