Friday, August 29, 2008


This cracks me up. I couldn't spell "pilgrimage" and had to look it up. Wonder if I should be writing about something I can't spell??

The idea came to me today that as my life continues to evolve, what I've set out on, unwittingly, or rather unintentionally, is a journey of a lifetime. I don't mean to say I've done it without wit - hopefully there is that ;) and I wasn't completely without intention, but now I see more clearly, having trudged to the top of another hill.

Those of you with the stomach to hang in for the next chapter have probably often wondered at my risk taking. There was the move to St. Louis for what seemed very good reasons at the time, and then to Atlanta a few years later for more solid reasons.

Both of those moves were for incredible opportunities that didn't work out. Truth is people do this all the time. They make a big move and it fails. Other times it works. I'd guess the ratio is about 75% success to 25% mistake.

But then who is to say it wasn't worth it? Isn't that like looking back at a bad marriage that begat beautiful miraculous children and saying, "Yeah, it wasn't worth it."? Welcome to the realm of paradox my friend.

I did have fantastic successes in St. Louis - I got to have time with the kids, extra when between jobs, bought a beautiful house, left a bad marriage and met some truly wonderful people. I got involved with AFG (alanon family groups) and into recovery, what I call emotional bootcamp, and had a cool job when I decided to leave.

Atlanta has also been great for other reasons. I've had this year of "lying fallow" while I looked for what was to be next. I got to reconnect with family, old friends and again, have met some beautiful people. I love Roswell and the river, bought a fly rod, volunteer and manage to keep so busy I still need a calendar so I don't screw up appointments.

I've worked some, enjoyed some windfalls, and had lots of time to myself - a very good thing for someone who needed a chance to think things through.

The details of how aren't important, but I've come to see that my resistance to working inside another law firm make perfect sense. I have to move on, into something else. Tho I may consult since I still love eDiscovery (electronic discovery for litigation).

Managing a non-profit make sense, but while I have management experience, I lack NP experience, even tho I've worked around and in (as a consultant) the field for years. So maybe that idea will have to wait.

Teaching draws me and that may be where I end up, for now. I love kids of all ages, love to engage them in learning, surprise them, show them the fun of just being alive. Maybe that's what they need most, that and the sense that someone cares about them, no matter how surly they are.

My sense is that moving into administration will come, but probably not as a typical principal, but rather as an innovator, working in a very forward thinking program. At least that's the dream.

My volunteer work for homeless teens has gripped me, as has teaching in what used to be called "inner city" schools. Now they are "urban children" - a much better label. No, I don't have to do it the hard way, but my drive to make a difference will not let me rest. At least not now. There is too much work to be done helping to heal the world, even if it's just one person, right now.

The homeless kids? I'm not ready to be in direct contact with them just yet. I know how hard it will be for me to trust that they are ok on the streets. Not that my faith isn't strong, but my heart is deep and wide. It's important that I get ready to face the reality of their lives before I get involved with them. And it's a real committment. You don't get to know these kids, befriend them, and just disappear.

So for now I'm helping with fundraising and donations.

My own "clearing" continues, and must be further along before I can take the next step. I'm literally getting down to the essentials in my life. Less physical stuff, (much less) fewer attachments to people who aren't also deeply embedded in life and the challenges of living intentionally, and dropping my own inner baggage.

It's wonderful.

Yeah, ok, it's wrenching too. But I know there is a fantastic reason, even if I don't get it yet.

I told a dear friend today that like bread rising there is sometimes so much going on under the surface. You have to look carefully to see it, but it's happening, usually right under your nose!

Such it is with a pilgrimage. Ah, look at that word "grim" in the middle there. Yep, that's where I've been for the last few weeks, but somehow faith (and maybe stubbornness) has carried me thru.

I'm not at the promised land, but I do know it's inside me. Like Dorothy and the ruby slippers, I've carried it all along.

My journey hasn't been easy. I'm thinking that's built in, when you take chances and are determined to push forward. It hasn't been easy for my friends and family either. Sometimes I could have done a better job of counting the costs.

And yet here I am, sensing that I'm closer than ever to what I've been doggedly pursuing.

It has something to do with inner strength, spiritual opening, and making a difference.

I may turn everything upside down, but like a toddler whose work is play, there's a reason. There is intrinsic value.

So when is the last time you played like that?

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