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Today’s post is about evolution. And checking your pockets for the wads of greatness you stashed there and forgot about.

In it I talk about Sinclair Ashley, Danielle Laporte, Kelly Diels, Matthew Stillman, Bridget Pilloud, Bindu Wiles, Jasmine Lamb and Meg Worden.

And I push the paper boat of a section of my service menu out into the waters, to be sacrificed to the gods of growth. Water is a sign of change, after all.

Growing my business story

Steeped in the work of Sinclair Ashley’s Action Studio, my brain has been like a bloom of tea in a morning mug. The water is hot. The pressure in the experience is a fierce hug from a parent before sending her kid off to his journey. And the possibility is so vast that, being the kid on the journey, I’m overwhelmed by the opportunities. Where do I start? Whom do I invite? With what color do I begin to paint the vision?

So I stared at the vision that’s been staring back at me, seduction all over it. And I thought:

“Forget what you can’t do yet. What can you do now? What do you know already and from what edge of it do you want to reach?”

This reminded me of Grams. She lost her sight to macular degeneration. It degrades vision over time, starting with the center, so that you’re left with only a murky peripheral view. As time continues, even that goes away. But she came home from Blind School in her 80s to report what she had learned. “They said that many people can see nothing at all. They told me to focus on what I can see,” she said. “They’re right. I can see a whole lot.”

So I unstuffed my pockets

If you’re following along, this is the part where you check your pockets and notice the fabulosity you’ve stuffed there.

Out from mine came this great foundation of writing, this really cool relationship to story that has anchored my life since I was a kid narrating people’s movements across the room, this crazy wild and fruitful imagination that helps people push past problems and into solutions, and this ability to see life as story and the telling of it.

Unstuffed, all that goodness lying there in plain view, I thought about how I learn through doing, watching, listening. And I considered how much I value watching the growth in people around me.

My List of Evolutionaries

I love watching Danielle Laporte’s evolution. She’s the mighty teacher, no? Her channel to the Universe is so supple, her listening keen, that what she shares we tuck into our hearts and take with us. Audiences gather round her fire because it blazes in a blue desert night and casts shadows on the rock wall that we recognize as ourselves. But her evolution has been one foot forward and then the next: A need for freedom. An idea. A simple website. Commitment to service, devotion to growth, making way for the next idea and the next. Until she has a fully loaded, always changing nation of inspiration splayed across her dash. And an ever-richer personal body of knowing, sharing, growing, loving, being.

You can see this on Kelly Diels’ site too. What started as a place to write turned into a place to teach about writing, and then to impart site strategy, and most recently to peek past the velvet rope, into a world that goes on a few steps deeper than her blog, in a sort of Red Light District of the heart.

Meg Worden started with a thought and a leap. Now she’s teaching people to make something out of nothing, create supply out of thin air, wholeness out of a piece, and peace from the whole. Her offer grows with deep, revealing, delicious stories every week, and has evolved in just a few weeks’ time.

Matthew Stillman is total joy to watch. His life is an endless supply of story, and in response to the issues people bring him, he innovates with inquiry, creativity, and more possibility for having asked. And his site is an incremental feast. If humans evolve like Stillman’s site and business are evolving, methodically, intimately, exploratively, I have dear hope and regard for us as a species.

Speaking of evolution and humans, tell me you have seen what Bindu Wiles is up to lately. She is creating an Enlightened Society, actively inviting the web and we who use it to stand on our tip toes and expand ourselves inside of it. She sees what’s possible on the edges of our collective strengths and wants to push us as a people to get wise, be of heart, and move our unified conscience to wake up, think past what’s been, and create something brand new and full and rich for all.

Bridget Pilloud is inviting this same enlightenment on a personal level, internally and in business. She has to be the quickest-on-the-draw evolutionist I’ve ever seen, and the most transparent, calling us all to examine our actions, be in conversation, and get clear at an energetic level, and then to move forward with a new integrity in our businesses and lives. Her conversations are curious and spot on, and always new.

And in praise of slow, sure transformation, there is Jasmine Lamb. Jasmine reminds me of a dear friend who has photographed trees over time. People have remarked to her that it looks like the trees are dancing. Her response: “How do we know they are not dancing in their growth, moving in tree time?” She added, “They could be doing the Running Man and we’d never notice because we’re watching too fast.” Jasmine creates at the speed of life, slowed down enough to hear the sounds in between and the messages in movement. Evolution speaks and she listens.

Back to my work with Sinclair. Of the many quotables Miss Thang brought to bear in her mentorship, one was this (I paraphrase it here): You have no business building your business around something simply because you can. Do something you you dream. Do something only you can do.

So I’m taking the leap. I’m streamlining my offer. I’m letting my storytelling tell my business future and removing the Guided Reverie from my service menu. It was such an awesome gift, both for me and the people I got to do them for. But it’s time to stretch off the edge and cat call that future that’s been ogling me all this while.

Who is on your list of evolutionaries?

What part of your vision do you have the colors to paint with now?

What can you let fall away in service to doing what only you can do?



French Christmas Eve a la Antoine

Grams hits 100!

Neon ring toss NYE

What's the New Year's most auspicious bird? You can, I can, pelican!

Back to the grind

Happy New Year!



October 6, 2010

I’m trying something new: Coming Home.

It’s mathematical. On average, I move cities every year-and-a-half. At the 18-month mark in Portland, I tripped off to the Lilith tour with every intention of coming home. Headed out to cross two nations of cities, people, wide open arms and a summer of adventure…it was like telling an alcoholic sex addicted lover, “Hey, Sugar, there’s a party of boozy high class hookers next door. You go enjoy yourself. I’m calling it a night.”

I went next door with the hookers.

For three months. I leapt into the swirl of a concert tour and traveled around the nation with artists, entrepreneurs, big-hearts and crazies. I stayed up all hours, drank whiskey and wine. Ate sandwiches and drank beer. Let down my guard and let flow the girl that never got out when I was younger, serious, toeing the line of everything right, trying to find myself in diligence.

At the end of the tour, I couldn’t call it the end. I stayed in New York a while. And then a while turned into a month longer than I’d meant to stay. Pretty soon, it’s three months since I’ve left Portland, and New York City, a place I’ve called home before, is stroking my hair, whispering in my ear, cradling me in its morning after, asking me sweetly if I really want to leave.

The answer is transient

Today I walked around the place that I left last June and New York is far away. Yellow blossoms are in a pool under the park trees. People are smiling because they’re just nice here. I rolled over in bed this morning and opened my eyes to gray skies and I smiled too. I’m home. I’m in the moody broody weather of the Northwest. I’m back.

Because I’ve moved so much, I have a history of returning home to a lot of places. The end comes. I prepare to leave and wonder if I should stay longer. I have a similar history with lovers, each time silently asking both the city and the lover some variation of: Are you my mother? Are you the home of my heart? Is it you?

The answer is transient. And so I travel, not aware in the middle of the joy of new places, new faces, new me in new context, that I may just fear stagnation, that my evolutionary brain hasn’t yet got the memo that I’m not a shark in the ocean, I don’t have gills, I don’t have to keep moving to survive. I have lungs, that breathe, and take in the place where I am, adding it to the cells that make me, making my place a part of me.

Breaking down home

My last week away, I went to my original home and shipped my Grandma out of hers. After 33 years in her apartment, we packed her up and sent her 99 year old self to my Dad’s. All the memories on her shelves, and the shelves themselves, got dissembled and crammed into the back of a moving truck. I cried as her friends gathered to say goodbye.

Then I went to the beach. To the primordial soup. I laid in the sand fully clothed and felt the sun push through them. I watched the waves.

Am I home? Where is home? Who is home? I am a patchwork of places.

Things I’ve heard myself say since I’ve been back:

Where do I keep the silverware again?
Where does this road go?
There are three new buildings in my view.
My schedule is open.

Familiar and old and new again

My first morning back, my best friend, Regina, met me for coffee in a new place near her house. We were catching up deep and rich when a song came on overhead that I sang to her at our first parting. We were 23 then. She was going away to grad school. It was her farewell party. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome,” Bob Dylan, covered by Shawn Colvin, sung by me. The only people at the party not crying were she and I, because I asked her before I started to keep it dry so I could make it through the song.

Ten years later, at her wedding, I sang “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” in which lyrics feature prominently the sentiment: home). Also Shawn Colvin, covering a Talking Heads tune.

I’m sensing a theme.  Home is where the people who love you live. For me that’s a lot of places. But right now it’s where Regina lives. It’s where my community is, here in Portland, full of creatives and crazies, greenies and nerds, heartbreak and hope and a whole lot of cute boys. And wilderness. And progressive coolness. And my awesome apartment. And the airport, which reaches anywhere. And I-5, which reaches deep into the belly of my home town in Southern California.

I’m trying something new. I’m returning home.