Tag Archives: Convening

Practice of Welcoming: A conversation with Bruce Anderson

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…

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

Me:  How did you become interested in this practice? Continue reading

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Imagination creates beauty…

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!

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Eliot Dawn arrives with a lesson…

Mama belly...

Mama belly…

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.

I know...this picture was in Linda's post...but it is beautiful :)

I know…this picture was in Linda’s post…but it is beautiful 🙂

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.

Jamin and Eliot...

Jamin and Eliot…

LaShel weighs Eliot...

LaShel weighs Eliot…

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.

Eliot Dawn minutes after her birth...

Eliot Dawn minutes after her birth…

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 and Eliot...

Jody and Eliot…

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.

The girls...

The girls…

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.

Family all around...

Family all around…

Papa John and Eliot...

Papa John and Eliot…

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.

Uncle Jeff, Cousin Jake and Eliot...

Uncle Jeff, Cousin Jake and Eliot…

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.

Best friends...

Best friends…

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!

Eliot Dawn

Eliot Dawn

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Sacred Space

Lindakirk

Bloggers unite…

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.

Peter, Beth, Kirk and Linda

Peter, Beth, Kirk and Linda

The friendships are the piece that I am interested in today. Continue reading

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Kinship realized…

photo-24When Linda and I decided to embark on this blog together, it was rooted in the idea that we all seek deep connection with each other.  We inherently belong to one another…so how can we be open and welcoming as an on-going practice in our lives.  This past week, I had the pleasure of being at the TASH conference in Long Beach.  Friday morning I wandered into the “Gathering Space” around 10am to listen to a man named Gregory Boyle.  There were about 15 to 20 people sitting in a circle when he introduced himself and shared his stories. It didn’t take long to realize, for me personally, that this man grasps the concepts we seek to write, share and learn about on a day to day basis. If fact, he is the living embodiment of said practice.  This small gathering of people laughed, cried and shared one of the more powerful hours of our lives that morning. He talks about kinship, and rather than butchering his conversation, I’ve linked in a TED talk from him.  It is about 20 minutes and I truly hope you’ll spend the time to watch it.  What he speaks about is blurring the margins to the point of extinction.  Have a wonderful week!

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A week of hospitality evolves into 90 days of gratitude…

One of many great conversations…

Upon landing in Indianapolis on Sunday October 21st, the incredible week of welcome, invitation, hospitality, learning, conversation, openness and storytelling began.  Greeted by old friends, Caitlin and April, along with new friends Amara and Anna, the journey began with bright eyes and open hearts.  Continue reading

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A Learning Conversation…

…in conversation.

Recently I’ve been rattling off phrases like “The learning is in the doing…” and “The answers are in the questions…”  I’m not sure this makes a bit of sense to anyone, myself included, but I’ve been really trying to stop thinking so much about stuff and just simply DO.  And so this past Thursday, I found myself driving to the residence of Barbara Workman, a woman I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through my open letter to my church community.
Ever since I wrote the letter, Barbara has been diligent in making sure I knew that she wanted to be a part of moving this idea of connecting forward.  Continue reading

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