Tag Archives: Vulnerability

Who Am I Being?

I spent this past week gathered in Toronto with people from all over the world and entered into conversations about many things.  The main thread I immersed myself in centered around loneliness and connection.  Our group, facilitated by Connie Lyle O’Brien and Lynda Kahn, shared personal stories of loneliness and isolation.  This conversation quickly grew into a dialogue about what we are doing in our own lives to combat loneliness and isolation.  What emerged was the idea of authenticity, or as I wrote about a few weeks ago, identifying our integrity gaps.  It is paramount for all of us to truly live the values we speak about…something I strive to do, though not always well, everyday. Continue reading

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The Art of Asking

This week we link in a TED talk given by Amanda Palmer.  I love her story and approach as a musician.  It is hard to ask for help.  It is even more difficult to accept the help.  We speak about the power and beauty of vulnerability  on this blog, and here, Amanda Palmer eloquently addresses vulnerability through the art of asking.  The connection she lives with her fans across the world is a reminder of how important we are too each other.   Her description of the dialogue that took place between her and people who watched her perform on the streets, just through prolonged eye contact, is riveting.  Her trust in people is amazing, something to strive for in our day to day lives.

 

Take a quick 13 minute break and enjoy Amanda’s talk.  Simply beautiful…

 

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Comedic break…

Sometimes we just need a break.  So this week we are taking a comedic break. A Facebook friend posted this video last week, and as a parent, I found it hilarious.  Have a great last week of May everyone!  Enjoy this very short and very funny video.  Remember to smile as much as possible today!!

 

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“From Below, Not Above”

Before we introduce this week’s blog link, we have AMAZING news!  Co-author and co-creator of this here blog, Linda Keys, along with her partner Alan MacFarlane, welcomed their son Findlay into the world on Saturday evening, May 4.  In a text she wrote, “Our beautiful wonderful son Findlay Keys MacFarlane, was born last night, May 4 at 8:21pm at home in water.  Weight 8 lbs, 11 ounces. It was the most perfect home birth I could have ever imagined.  His transition to the outside world was gentle and calm.  Auntie Jenny made it here in time.  We are all incredibly well and happy.”  Congratulations Linda and Alan on the birth of Findlay!! Findlay is blessed to have you as parents!  Now on with the show…

This week we are honored to provide you with a link to a dear friend’s blog, April Doner. Continue reading

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Hope and Resilience

Hope springs...

Hope springs…

Seven days removed from the Boston Marathon bombings, we wish to extend our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the incidents.  Acts of violence are unnecessary.  They leave us empty and searching for answers.  As we committed to upon partnering to bring you this blog, Linda and I vowed to be relentlessly positive.

I saw a quote from Mr. Rogers yesterday and it read: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.’” Continue reading

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Life can and will evolve…you simply need to be open to it.

This week we’ve linked in a TED talk given by Shane Koyczan.  I don’t know much about him, other than he is a master with spoken word and that his message is beyond powerful.  I first saw this video a month or two ago, it was all over the place for a weekend.  I’ve watched it several times since.  Take the time to watch this clip.  Really.  Take the time.  Truly.  We wouldn’t lead you astray intentionally.  Big love to you all from the Come In From The Cold blog!!!

 

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Reconnecting is just as beautiful…

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No More Throw Away People

I’ve been blessed in my life to have the opportunity to travel to amazing places, meet amazing people and develop on-going supportive and creative relationships with these amazing people.  I learn from these people and value these connections. One of these teachers,  John O’Brien,  recently posted this YouTube clip on FaceBook and I immediately thought to share it here on this blog.  The person responsible for this video is Edgar Cahn, creator of time banking concept.  In this piece, “The Parable of The Blobs and Squares”, the concept of co-production is highlighted.  In our society, as currently structured, all too often well-intentioned governmental systems and institutions try solving problems with “imposed solutions” rather than seeing people for what they can be…citizens capable of creating solutions by simply utilizing the gifts and talents we already possess.

Take the time to watch this brilliant piece.  It is 6 minutes well spent!  Thanks for sharing John!

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Building Community One Latte At A Time

The drive thru...

The drive thru…

Nestled snugly at the bottom corner of Bay Park, just off Morena, in the little Bay Ho shopping complex, is a business percolating connections.  Waiting in line for my morning coffee at Coffee Quick, a small drive-thru coffee hut, I began to notice something.  Svetla, owner and operator of Coffee Quick, seemingly always happy and ready to have a conversation, had something more than just a business brewing.  Curiosity welled up inside of me, wondering if this little hut was more than just a coffee shop.  What’s the story behind it?  So I decided to find out and extended an invitation to Svetla, to share her story.  As usual, when an invitation is extended, the storytelling unfolds along with the beauty of human connection. Continue reading

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Eventually, All Things Merge Into One…

This week we welcome our inaugural Guest Blogger, Sarah Forbes.  Sarah resides in Melbourne, Australia, works with individuals labeled with disability, and is equally curious about the idea of connection and kinship.  Sit back and enjoy her contribution…

 

“Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes and indirect boast”, Jane Austen.

I’ve often found myself living across two worlds, two groups, two ways of thinking about life. I grew up in a home where conflict was common and money was scarce, particularly during my adolescence. I also went to a well-performing private school, thanks to my grandfather’s generosity. I became good at covering up our family’s poverty, trying to fit in with well-off and wealthy students, but remaining in an existence between the two. On weekends I tried to fit into our rural community, and on weekdays with my suburban school friends. At the church our family attended, I was the one asking questions of leaders who didn’t welcome questioning. I’m also a person who is adopted, straddling two families where I am both citizen and guest. Many times growing up I felt like I belonged nowhere which grew my motivation for living in ways that might help others feel more included.

Almost five years ago, my husband, new baby girl and I moved into a neighbourhood known for its poor, troubled, unemployed and disrespected people. The location is beautiful and the price was right. Our home perches on the edge of the Yarra River, which runs from the mountains near our home all the way through Melbourne and into the ocean. On a hot day, after rain, the river smells of eucalyptus, native mint and, like home to me. On a very hot day, people from all over the neighbourhood congregate at the river to occupy the best swimming spots, enjoy a beer and a smoke and catch up with new and old friends. People share their food and their belongings, they check up on one another, they know each other’s business enough to enlist the help of others when someone is sick or broke.

Elizabeth, Val and the Yarra River

Elizabeth, Val and the Yarra River

We have friendships with neighbours who have a variety of labels, particularly ‘bludger’, ‘alcoholic’ and ‘bad news’. Our closest neighbour Mark is dying from asbestosis and is known to some by at least two of those labels. He has lived a life of unrequited love and the worst kinds of loss and violence. Many of our friends and family have questioned our friendship with him, simply because they don’t yet see him for what he offers but rather for the trouble he might make for us. Yet he is the person I would call on when I need gardening advice and the person my children know to go to if Mummy falls off the ladder and Daddy isn’t home. He offers counselling, advice, explains to me how social situations work and he looks after our pets when we are away from home. He sometimes takes my washing in because rain is imminent, and he waters my plants if they look droopy. He reassures us that we’re good enough parents. We worry after him, and he worries after us.

tim and mark at valentine's first birthday party, January 2011

There are many others in our neighbourhood who have suffered unrelenting abuse, who use drugs too often, who are often without food in the house because they trade off the grocery budget for prescriptions or beer or petrol for friend in need. My husband Tim remains their preferred confidant, because they see in him a worldliness that they don’t see in me. Despite all my efforts, people who have experienced desperate suffering typically see through my tough exterior to my naivety about what it is like to be the object or perpetrator of human violence, of what it takes to cooperate with child protective services enough to prove that you deeply love your children, and they protect me from their reality by keeping the worst of the truth from me.

It is sometimes hard to see what I have to offer in the midst of people who understand the world in ways so differently to me. The challenge is to see my talents and skills as useful in their context, and to see in others the same. The greater challenge lies in both offering the space for people who experience deep disadvantage to contribute to my life, and for me to take up that space in the lives of people who might welcome me in when my skills seem useful to them – to offer equal exchange. The deep question for us is: How can we be sure that all people are welcomed, even people who are known for violence, people who sell drugs to children in our neighbourhood, people who might steal from us, even people who might mistreat our children given the chance? The answer comes from figuring it out one day at a time, in concert with people who care enough to ask the same question.

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