The Legacy of Kindness

The Legacy of Kindness

This weekend I learned of a neighbor’s passing. On April 30, Thomas Victor Terry died in his home at the age of 83. I will miss him.

The first time I met Tom was over twenty years ago. I was the mother of a young child then and Tom walked over to introduce himself. He told me he heard our son playing in the yard and enjoyed our son’s laughter. Tom invited us to come over any time we wanted to use his pool. He said he did not get in it anymore but loved when the neighborhood children did. We took Tom up on his offer and have enjoyed his pool ever since.

More than his pool, I enjoyed getting to know Tom. He was a natural storyteller…

Are you making decisions based on guilt?

Are you making decisions based on guilt?

Since this feeling has surfaced in multiple conversations over the last week, I thought it would be worthwhile to unpack the emotion called guilt.

Just to make sure we all are on the same page, guilt is defined as the feeling which arises when you believe you have or will do something which causes harm. Bad conduct if you will.

As you probably know, there are degrees of guilt. For example…

Cultivating healthy systems.

Cultivating healthy systems.

The dogwoods are in full bloom and the azaleas are bursting with color: clear signs we have moved deeper into the season of spring. The urge to go outdoors and work in the soil is strong. I can’t wait to remove the weeds and to add compost to the raised beds. These activities are one step closer to planting – my favorite garden activity. (Join me this Saturday, from 11 am to 2 pm in the Shakti Garden.)

The cleared beds feel like blank canvases on which to paint visions of luscious plants dripping with fruit, big full bunches of herbs, and bright, colorful bouquets of flowers. I imagine all the people who contribute to the garden as well as the people who will enjoy the harvest. (Community potlucks which use the food grown in the garden are the best!)

With all the newness we currently are witnessing in nature, it is easy to forget death is a part of the growth cycle. To remember it was last year’s plants that created this year’s compost. To remember not every seed planted sprouts, and to remember, that no plant lasts forever – eventually all living things die.

The birth-death-rebirth cycle is true for systems as well…

Navigating Change

Navigating Change

Change is in the air. I can feel the shift in energy. It reminds me of riding a rollercoaster: the part where the cars creep up the first, big, long hill.

As the cars approach the summit, my stomach clenches in nervous anticipation. Thoughts of “Why am I doing this?” and “I hope I don’t die,” circle in my head. To distract myself from my fear, I intentionally focus on the beautiful view which is only possible from such a great height.

On the climb to the top, I toggle back and forth between…

Patterns: some broken, others celebrated.

Patterns: some broken, others celebrated.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with my aunt: someone whom I have not seen in a long time. It was wonderful to be in her company and listen to her tell stories about our family. While I was there, she shared photos, family recipes, and gave me dishes which came from her godfather.

I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to connect with my living elders and that I like them. (I recognize not everyone likes or feels safe around their family.) Being with my aunt and uncle, as well as a surprise visit with my cousin, was not only fun but made me feel deeply rooted. There is something very special about being with people who have known you your whole life.

One of my takeaways from this visit…

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