Summer is my favorite. Warm sun on my skin, long hours of light, family time, slower pace and less hustle.
The kids, and my husband (a teacher), are now back in school. Some of the new projects I’ve been quietly nudging forward are starting to take shape, which is always exciting-scary. So, we’re getting back into the swing of things around here.
But I’d really love to know…
How are you?
What fresh ideas or insights came up for you this summer?
What books or movies did you LOVE?
At the tail-end of our long trip visiting family, we found ourselves sitting under a big, white tent looking out at endless acres of rolling hills and forested mountains.
The night was warm. The stars were starting to do their magical twinkling tricks. Lots of smiling, many tears, palpable love. My sweet cousin was getting married.
A handsome man in a fitted suit stood in front of us. With extraordinary grace, honesty, and love he shared the history of his friendship with my cousin. He told the tale of them living in a truck, yearning for the simple comfort of a couch, and contemplating their desire to die.
He spoke without shame, or drama, of their battle with drug addiction… and proposed that perhaps the opposite of their darkest moments was the moment we were now all living. A tent full of people who love and support you, and a new partner and baby to share your life with.
I can’t even begin to do it justice, this best best man’s speech. It was so real and heartfelt, that you could feel the strength and love through his words.
And when we raised our glasses, they were alcohol free. Nothing was clouded through a couple of glasses of wine. We were there, together, sober and connected.
Rarely have I seen someone speak with such vulnerability and poise. I have a new bar to hold myself to when I speak publicly — inspired by a wedding toast.
A few days later, I was home in Colorado, standing in a historic wooden auditorium listening to the Indigo Girls sing. I’ve been listening to them for 30 years, and am always in awe of the storytelling in their music. And the heart with which they share it.
As I sat in a small theater later that week, next to one of my best girlfriends, watching the new Toni Morrison documentary, The Pieces I Am… she said something that I’ve been thinking of ever since, “Words have so much POWER.”
It wasn’t a new idea, but in her telling of it, I was struck by the profound truth of this simple fact.
Our words have so much power.
To instill love.
To incite hate.
To build trust.
To create fear.
To make beauty.
I feel so deeply grateful that I get to work with people on how to live and lead with human connection as the driving force. And I’m reminded of how words are the vehicle by which we can affect change, build relationships, share our ideas…
I’m still sitting with this. Writing words is still harder than speaking them, for me (unlike Toni Morrison’s gift of poetic story writing).
But I invite you to notice the power of words.
Notice how you use them to make others feel certain things.
Notice how you feel when words are directed at you – with love or anger or doubt or fear.
Notice how you use words silently inside of your own head – to demean or celebrate yourself.
First notice. Then choose how you use this incredibly powerful and free thing called language.
With much love and more “naked” courage,
Photo by Cindy Chen