A couple of years ago (could it really be that long ago? Oh my, it was 2010.) I was working on a book of the images from a class called MythCrafting. In the class we worked with finding and crafting the mythic story of our lives through images, drawings, stories, movement and song.
Because it's me I did something that no one else did: I used the images to create an oversized "book" on small poster board sized paper of all the images in the class. One of them I drew, many were cards or pictures from magazines and things the teachers brought to class. We chose them mostly from trance states so they aren't always linear.
Yesterday as I was prepping for my first meeting at volunteer coordinator, one of the pages fell out of its storage space between the printer stand and the filling cabinets and I left is sitting on the floor as I ran off to my meeting.
This particular page has always bothered me and not quite fit into the rest of the book. It's a pages called gifts and it has 4 images on it. One is the sphinx, one is an image of a saint from a old painting cut in half (that makes up 2 images) and the last one is a copy of the Fairies Oracle Card "The Soul Shrinker" - number 55 in the deck. It's supposed to be a page about gifts. But when I picked the images out of the pile with everyone else I couldn't see the gifts.
The sphinx is tattered, it's nose worn from centuries in the elements, it's foot partially missing. The painting is tattered and torn and missing bits.
But the worst was the Soul Shrinker. It's a card I know pretty well. His story is that the more humans say things about each other, it changes him - for good or ill. He once was beautiful, but now is quite hideous because of humans propensity to say mean things about each other. It's a card that speaks of watching for gossip either in yourself or around you. I couldn't figure out how that could be a gift.
Yesterday I sat in a meeting where I felt more and more joyful as the day wore on. I had arranged for people to have lots of love and appreciation as well as talking about what's working in volunteering for HAI. Most of the day was spent loving people up and appreciating them and eating lovely food. I thought I wanted to run the meeting. Usually I prefer to run meetings.
But in the morning agenda review, I realized that there were pieces that I wanted others to do. That their talents were best suited to this or that piece. As we went through, more and more felt like it was ok that the ED and another Facilitator did most of the running. Once the meeting started and it was clear to me that my tactic of appreciations was working and people were happy with being there and willing to be honest with each other, I was able and willing to step back pretty completely and let it happen. Not just let it happen, but let other folks take charge and run with it. My experience of working with groups a few years ago, when I was so sick is that I wanted to be in charge because everyone else would do it wrong.
I've been working on that for a long time - or at least that's how it feels. Working on ideas of trust and building relationships in this community and building trust and faith inside myself that each of us has a piece of the puzzle. And it's worked. I think these are things that can really only been seen to change over a long period of time and I have a long enough history in organizing that I can see it in myself.
My favorite appreciation from yesterday was when RF came up to me and said that the thing I'm good at is seeing where there's something missing or something needed and that I am a person who brings those missing or needed pieces into being. That I don't do what many do and complain, I make things happen. I felt very seen in that moment. That is how I want me life to be; it does seem to be happening.
It also occurred to me that mostly I do say good things about other people. That I love so many people that I am actually contributing to adding love to the world. People feel loved and appreciated by me. I am achieving my goal of being love in the world.
So when I saw the Soul Shrinker the morning, I was not afraid or sad. I could see the gift in me that I've learned over time to watch my words. I'm not perfect and I still say mean or angry things sometimes - I think that's part of being human. But people in my life feel loved by me and I'm bringing more love into the world in clear and manifested ways. That's who I want to be being. And yesterday, I was that for all to see.