Category Archives: Community

Giving Tuesday

I want to invite you to give.  Today, and everyday.  I want to invite you to give from your overflow.

Yes, I want you to take care of you first.  Nothing wrong with that.  In fact, it’s highly recommended that you only ever serve from your overflow.  That was a hard lesson for me to learn.  I’m a giving person by nature but when you forget to take care of you first, you end up resentful, burnt out, with nothing to give anyone including yourself.  I need you to be in it for the long haul and that means you have to lean to give from your overflow.

And, if you are reading this post, I am going to make an assumption.  I’m going to assume that you have some overflow.  Maybe in money, or maybe in time, energy, love or something else that only you know is overflowing in your heart.  In my case, I feel I have so much love that sometimes it leaks out of my eyes when I talk about making this world work for everyone.

So today, I’m asking you to give from that overflow.  First let’s take a moment to feel the gratitude for even having a little extra, shall we?

Breathing in, I feel gratitude.  Breathing out I send my gratitude into the world.  (repeat as needed).  Make up your own mantra if you wish.

It’s Giving Tuesday today in the US and my hope is that it has infected or will soon infect the rest of the world.  You won’t find me saying that about Black Friday, or Cyber Monday.  Those ideas have already sadly caught on.

If you are like me – already giving, today’s dilemma is not whether to give or not.  It’s really more a question of what do I give to?  How do I split my love?  This question is no different to ones we ask when we have multiple children – or even multiple passions.

After my son was born – our first, I was convinced that it was impossible that I could love another in the same way.  I was not prepared for what happened next.  When my daughter was born, I was unaware that there truly was no limit to how far my love could stretch once my heart had broken open.  And it had already expanded to what felt like beyond capacity with my son.

I can’t explain this to anyone who has not experienced it.  Even if you don’t have children yourself, think of a time that maybe you were out hiking, enjoying the beauty of this planet and remember a view that took your breath away.  I would be willing to bet that moments later, there was even more awe and love and joy that took another breath away.  Or watching a sunset feeling that there is no other sunset that could top the wonder you were feeling towards the beauty before your eyes.  Every sunrise and sunset deserves attention and breath.

This morning, I found myself paralyzed about making a decision about what cause to give to.  They are all deserving of my attention.  They are all worthy.  How do I choose? How do I know that I’m making the right choice?  And here’s what happened next.

I decided that it doesn’t really matter which one I picked.  What matters most is that I give.  I started first by feeling gratitude for even being in a position to give.  It doesn’t have to be big.  It can be something like the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day, per week, per month… There is no amount that is too small.

It reminds me of a story I heard about a person walking on the beach and coming upon another person who was picking up starfish that were washed up on the sand and throwing one by one back into the ocean.  There were thousands of starfish and it was beyond comprehension how anyone could think of taking on the task of saving them.  So the person said: “you know. What you are doing here.  There are too many.  It’s not really going to make a difference.”  And without missing a beat, the other person picked up a starfish and threw it back into the ocean and said: “It makes a difference to this one.” And then continued on, picking one starfish at a time and saving it.

I’m sure I did not do a great job of retelling that story but you’re smart enough to get the gist of it.  It does matter what you do today.  If matters to that one sentient being (human or otherwise) who is ultimately touched by you.  Whether your capacity is $10,000,  $1000 or $10, it matters.  It even matters if it’s $1.  You don’t have to believe me in this.  I just challenge you to try it.  Just get into the habit of giving and start paying attention to how you feel.

I only know what I know from my own personal experience.  I have experienced time and time again that when I give unconditionally – with no strings attached – I don’t know how – but my personal experience is that the that the Universe will multiply it and return it in ways that have humbled me and taken my breath away.

I want that same experience for you.

In case you don’t have a favorite non-profit, here is a short list of 10 that could really use to receive from your abundance.  I support these and others and I would never ask you to do anything that I have not done myself.

Here’s a short list of 10 listed in alphabetical order:

Arbor Day Foundation –

Charity Water –

Green Light Solutions Foundation –

Heifer –

Kiva –

Mindfulness First –

Museum of Walking –

Oxfam –

Scott Foundation –

World Wildlife Fund –

Pick one.  Pick many and split your giving.  Remember, “done is better than perfect”.  So just give even if you don’t know that you are making the perfect choice.  It’s good enough to just get it done.

And, if non-profits are not your thing, that’s OK too.  Find a business that you believe in and send them a check – no need for a tax deduction.  If you prefer, find an individual even if they are not a business.  Seriously, lend your fuel to the passion of anyone who is out there making a difference in people’s lives.  We have to get over the constructs that hold us back.  Giving is about giving.  No strings attached.

With a heart full of love for you – thank you for reading this far.


Building a Healthier Democracy

I’m going to share a few links here that give me hope.  With the Federal Government of the United States in a shutdown state, many people are feeling tension and the blame and name calling is at an all time high.  I have yet to come across a situation where name calling led to anything good.  So here, I offer some words by some very conscious people.

I came across most of this on facebook.  A place that has allowed me to practice tolerance for differing views.

A question was put forth to Parker Palmer – founder and senior partner at The Center for Courage and Renewal and author of  Healing The Heart of Democracy.  The question was this:  “Please let us know when you figure out how to talk to the teaparty.”

He welcomed the query and offered this: “Here’s a site where you can watch my friend Joan Blades, co-founder of, in dialogue with Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots I’m involved in Joan’s “Living Room Conversations” project (click on the “People” tab on their home page to see my statement about it), and I highly recommend it as one way of responding to your implied question. Thanks again. But please, don’t wait for me to figure it out! We’re all in this together, and all of us working together are smarter than any one of us working alone—certainly smarter than I am!”

Although I only just came across the Living Room Conversations project, and I’m not in any way involved in it, and don’t yet know the participants, I wanted to write about it here to raise awareness.  I personally believe in this process and I have seen how deep conversations can bring about peace, healing, and a connectedness beyond what any of us dreamed possible before sitting down in that field that is beyond right doing and wrong doing.  I practice this with my neighbors, with my husband, with my children and with my co-workers.  I know it works.  It gives me hope.

I follow Parker Palmer on Facebook.  You can check out his page here.

Parenting in a broader sense

Parenting is a word that we understand to mean that we are dealing with offspring…but I invite you to broaden the definition of ‘parenting’ a bit and think of parenting as a quality of relationship such as nurturing. Nurturing can be done to plants

in a garden, to a sick animal, and of course to our own children. So then with the broader sense, the word ‘parenting’ can be applied to anyone you have a relationship with where you are in a position of ‘parent’, ‘mentor’, ‘boss’, ‘teacher’, ‘vendor’, ‘caretaker’… It deals with the relationship… Especially if growth is something to be a byproduct of the interaction.

I think the lesson that Dr. Wayne Dyer offers from the Tao is timely… And, when you are done reading, I invite you to have a conversation here, or email me privately if you know me. I would love to hear what your soul says to you (if anything) while reading the his blog entry:


Being The Change You Seek

YoMama and I had an interesting conversation over lunch yesterday. Topics ranged from the impact of texting on the social skills of today’s youth to Cave Creek zoning codes. The subject that stuck in my mind is this idea of being the change you seek.

I grew up and went to college in California towns that had a strong sense of community. As a child in Merced I remember neighbors gathering on their porches each evening. The parents would socialize and drink wine while the kids played in the street. As I student in Chico I recall how dedicated the community was to gathering in the town square every weekend (if not more often). The gatherings ranged from farmers’ markets to pet parades to poetry readings and concerts.

Ten years ago I moved to the Phoenix area. I immediately noticed an absence of this sense of community. Families didn’t socialize in their neighborhood after dinner. Kids weren’t playing in the street. There was no town square bustling with activity.

I attribute this absence to a variety of factors. Many Phoenicians are transplants. Entire subdivisions of these transplants have sprung up so quickly they’ve yet to form their own communities. Parents are working longer hours either by necessity or to pay for all the things used to fill some hole in their lives. Perhaps the hole is the lack of community. TV and video games have replaced the desire or necessity for kids to go outside to explore and imagine.

I’ve always lamented this lack of community here in our part of the Valley and assumed I would eventually move back to CA or someplace else that fit my ideals. Then I met my wife Debra. She is a grounded and practical person. She also happens to be one of the few AZ natives I’ve met (third generation). So she has a unique perspective on live in AZ. She remembers a time here when her sense of community mirrored my own. It did exist her once. She reminds me often that we should embody the community we desire. “Be the change you seek” she says. Maybe it’s time to go knocking on a few neighbors’ doors.