Daily Archives: November 8, 2012

An Open Love Letter to Patti Digh, Mary Anne Radmacher, and Karma

poster gift from Patti Digh to her mailing list

I am cradled today in the comfort of kindness, the awareness that every kindness you ever offer somehow finds it’s way back to you. In the simplest way, this is karma–every action has a consequence. Today, I am humbled by it, my heart softened, opened by the practice of generosity, and the kindness that has found it’s way to me because of it. I feel tender and raw, sad and weepy because of it, but also so joyful and grateful.

card from Mary Ann Radmacher

Patti Digh is one of my favorite authors, humans. I have learned so much from her about showing up, keeping my heart open, cultivating courage and compassion. She’s given me so much, and there is no way to repay that kind of gift directly or completely.

live shot of Patti during a virtual party for the launch of her new 37 days website, oh that smile!

And yet, at the end of this summer, I had an opportunity to help her, to give what I could give. Her husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer during a time when he had no health insurance and he needed an expensive surgery. The John F. Ptak Relief Fund was created and I was happy to donate, happy to offer some small kindness to a woman who’d already given me so much.

The story doesn’t end there. Just as I was about to make a donation, Mary Ann Radmacher announced on Facebook that the first ten people to make a $100 donation and contact her would get an original piece of her work. She’s an amazing artist and writer. I love everything she does. Her quote “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow” has offered me so much comfort in the past year.

To create my original piece, she asked for my most favorite colors (purples, blues and greens–colors of flowers, the ocean, and the trees), shape (infinity symbol) and most treasured iconic image (lotus flower). When the package arrived in the mail and I saw what she’d made, my heart was so full it felt like it would break.

Holy Wow. I can’t stop staring at it. And that’s not all, she also sent me a signed copy of her new book, Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things. Do you understand, kind and gentle reader? She didn’t have to do that. The book wasn’t part of the deal, a deal that was already super sweet, above and beyond, but she sent it along anyway, added a bonus gift. One generous act beget a kindness that, as it was passed along from person to person, heart to heart, grew so big, got so bright. I have faith that it won’t stop with this.

“Honey is a sweetness, occurring as the result of creatures doing what comes from acting according to their nature,” says Mary Anne in the introduction to her new book. We humans are fundamentally good, inherently compassionate and wise, and this sweetness, these kind acts (Patti giving, me giving to her, and Mary Anne giving to me because I gave to Patti), this infinity loop of generosity and love is, I believe with my whole heart, just that: the result of creatures doing what comes from acting according to their nature.

NaBloPoMo Prompt: If You Could Have Any Job

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt is: If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it) which job would you want? This will come as no surprise to most of you, but the job I would want, the work I’d like to do and get paid for, is writing and teaching.

This in so many ways is what I already do, but the current context, the specific manifestation isn’t an exact fit for how I imagine it, isn’t perfect, is not quite what my heart longs for, what I dream of. I’m not paid for most of the writing I do, and as I am teaching on behalf of a larger entity that doesn’t necessarily share my core values, that activity is restricted and contorted in ways that in turn limit and confuse what I do.

I want to teach what I know, what I love, what I’m trying to learn myself to people who chose to learn with me, are there because of a personal choice, interest, desire, and while I would offer them feedback, I’d never again assign another grade (and if I did, it would be an A for showing up and trying).

Through writing and teaching, in this ideal job, I would help people heal, ease suffering, encourage and inspire health and wellness, wholeheartedness. Together, my students and I would cultivate compassion, courage, and confidence. We would do good work together, work that would center us and then ripple out into the larger world, making things better on a bigger scale.

The training I still want to do this work is to be certified as a yoga and meditation instructor. I might also might train to be a life coach or some other therapeutic practice. In this “job,” this heart/life work, I’d blog, write books and essays, give readings and workshops, offer ecourses, facilitate retreats, make art, and work one on one with people. I’m imagining these people as mostly women who are either attempting to recover, heal, reconnect with their creativity, their heart’s longing and hunger, or those healing from, dealing with grief, loss, change, trauma.

But for now, I continue on with my current paid work, where I’m feeling so overwhelmed I’m considering going in on Saturday to try and catch up, even though I’m coming down with a cold, but where I also get to hang out with some really awesome people.