Driving down Highway 101 from Santa Barbara to San Diego early Sunday morning, along the familiar coastline I’ve traveled seemingly all my life, a line from Jason Mraz passes through the speakers in the car: “I keep my life on a heavy rotation, requesting that it’s lifting you up, up, up and away…and over to a table at the Gratitude Cafe.” This analogy of placing yourself into a metaphorical space to be mindful of your gratitude for life, resonates deeply. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Convening
I’m blessed to have happened across a global community of colleagues, friends and loved ones 4 years ago at the Toronto Summer Institute. This year, along with Chris Lee, Sheldon Schwitek, Peter Leidy, Beth Gallagher, Michelle Schwartz Continue reading
On Monday of last week, my family attended the end of the year St. Mark’s Pre School family gathering. Upon arriving at the park, we set out our blanket and briskly followed our kids to the adjacent playground for a quick swing session. Minutes passed and the sea of children and families swelled. Familiar faces all around, as this is our third year of sending at least one of our kids to the pre school. New faces appeared throughout the evening, depending on the tide. Continue reading
The genesis of Come In From The Cold came from the yearning to reflect on how we, as people living in a community, can live a practice of welcoming. Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentlemen by the name of Bruce Anderson, who has made it his life’s work to explore this very idea. Bruce lives in Washington, in a place called Vashon Island, where he is immersed in living a practice of welcoming. I immediately invited him to share some time to chat with me and he graciously accepted. So I invite you to have a glimpse into our conversation…
Me: How did you become interested in this practice? Continue reading
A friend, and recent guest blogger, Chris Lee, recently shared this video about a project coordinated by Christina MacLeod. She organized a group of community members to transform a “dull and lifeless street, into a public place that encourages activity, community and health.” It is a beautiful piece about a beautiful idea. Take the time to watch this 6 minute video. Be well friends!
We write in this blog about community existing everywhere. At home, at work, in temporary locations, etc. Our daughter arrived early, Saturday February 2nd (yes Groundhog Day got a whole lot more meaningful), at 8:48am. She arrived at home, a decision Jody and I made about 4 weeks prior to her arrival. A decision based on strong beliefs and values behind the way we view child birth…what unfolded was a lesson not expected.
Noticeably in active labor around 2am, Eliot’s journey began. We called our midwives, Jamin and LaShel, to inform them Eliot was on her way. Jamin and LaShel are the owners of San Diego Midwife, a midwifery practice comprised of just the two of them.
They believe in partnering with people, in strong relationship, to help achieve the birth parents desire. This isn’t a soap-box rant on home birth, rather, I feel compelled to share my gratitude to them, for their willingness to take us on at 35 weeks of pregnancy, and to do so with love and respect.
Throughout the wee hours of the morning, the gifts of doing everything at home steadily emerged. Grandma Cass picked up our dog at 2:30am before traveling back at 5am to be here and tend to Rhiannon and Kade when they woke up. Grandma Lorrie and Papa John, called at 6am to alert them to Eliot’s impending arrival, so they could make the 2 hour journey. Copious amounts of friends and family, kept abreast along the way via text messaging. Eliot’s community thoughtfully rallying in different capacities, gathering momentum, power and love all the while.
Jody, focussed and calm, realized her vision of having a natural birth, at home, with people who valued her beliefs and honored her wishes. At 8:48am, Eliot found herself on the chest of the woman who carried her for 39 weeks. The moment beautiful. Love permeated the room and house.
Eliot, after a few moments of natural cries, gently rested with her mother. Peaceful and alert, Eliot bonded with mom, myself and being at home, I brought Rhiannon and Kade in right away to meet their baby sister. It made sense. It felt right. It felt as it should.
Eliot Dawn entered this world with an intentional community surrounding her. Not born in an institution, poked and prodded by professionals, rather, with the support of whole-person-based midwives and perhaps more importantly, with the people who will comprise her circle of support beyond the days of her birth.
Family, friends and neighbors all able to see her on the day she was born, in her own home, in the community she will grow up in.
Community exists everywhere, and for us, Eliot’s birth was a lesson in just that. When we are mindful of being connected with those around us, in every moment, we realize our humanity. Thanks to everyone for the love and support on that day, in days past and days to come. I am grateful for this latest lesson. Bravo Eliot Dawn…bravo!
We have mentioned the Toronto Summer Institute a few times on here, perhaps partly because it is where Kirk and I first made a connection and this blog was born. It has had a profound impact on our lives; we would both say it sustains our passion, nourishes our commitment to our work and to our community-building, and has been the birthplace of many important friendships.
The friendships are the piece that I am interested in today. Continue reading