I am sitting in a Starbucks outside the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Milt is somewhere in that monstrously huge building getting some tests and evaluations (just an annual deal). Naturally, I’m thinking back a couple of years when he was so sick, and I was worried about losing him. It is also natural to notice the flow of people around a place like this and to tune into their fears and worries, their joys and triumphs. This is a place that people come hoping to get well. And to evaluate life choices. And sometimes to face the end of life.
I think it is natural to fear the end of life. What is sometimes hard to understand is how and why we fear crafting a life that makes us full and happy. Fear stops us from taking risks, engaging deeply in a certain direction, or going forward. We get surrounded by fear-questions like what if I fail, what if it doesn’t work, what if, what if, what if.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that myself. One of the projects that makes me happiest is The Bead People. I love messing with a pile of beautiful beads, the sound of them rolling around, the multitude of colors and shapes. It is a microcosm for my life. I want to grow the project but have a fear that it is silly or too small to make a difference. (What did I say about those fear questions?) But it isn’t silly. Beads have been a part of every culture across the human timeline. We pray with beads, we play with beads, we create beauty with beads, we connect beads in small movements just like we connect to other people in small movements. I love watching children’s faces when a tray of beads is set before them and all that is required of them is to play and create. They glow. And then they flow.
I’m just thinking about how to grow such a project—maybe you have some ideas. The Bead People have a strong supporter of Tammy K. in Rapid City—last year her class used them for a fundraiser and also made 70 Bead People to send to their sister school in Japan. Tammy acts on the message of the Wind book and uses the Bead People to connect people with each other in a peaceful way. Very cool.
So, maybe I am just one person and I will not bring about world peace in my lifetime . . . but I know the power of communities and their ability to facilitate change.
Yesterday I was reading about a high school principal who changed the disciplinary strategy for his school. When a student acts out, he is brought to the principal’s office and instead of being berated and suspended, a real person asks the student, “Wow—something must really be going on with you. It is not like you to act this way, and I really want to help you figure out how to solve whatever is going on. Let’s talk . . .” You have to read the results of his little experiment to believe the change that simple connecting strategy has brought about! (click here to read the article)
There are a thousand strategies for peace to counter every single strategy for violence and war. Let’s figure it out . . .
So, my friends. I’m off to Rapid City to do some workshops and also to see my son and his family—a new granddaughter I’ve only seen once at a week old.
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