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Dear Friend,

I did something a bit unusual for me last week: I finished listening to a podcast and then slid the tracker bar right back to the beginning to start again. There was too much that I wanted to take in, so much I knew I had skimmed past as my thoughts were hooked on one idea even while the interviewee rolled out more.

During both listenings, though, there was one question that grabbed me like a lasso around my guts:

Are you punishing anyone right now?

Though I didn’t have the awareness before I heard the question, the immediate recognition I felt was, yes, always.

Never overtly, though.

Never with thoughtful intention.

But reactively, yes.

Subtly, yes.

And I am inevitably at the top of my unconscious punishment list.

I wonder: Aren’t we all?

There’s a story that’s often on my mind, even more so lately. It was told to me by Helen Campbell, the wonderful psychologist who helped me navigate the deep darkness of my final teen years. In it, a frightened rabbit, thinking he’s negotiating with a hawk who is circling overhead, instead calls the hawk’s attention and, in that way, becomes lunch.

So often, our reactive attempts to protect ourselves can play out as punishment…

…as we create distance…

…as we make assumptions…

…as our stories about what is possible solidify even as we continue to live in an expansive and abundant universe…

And then the interviewee continued:

And could that punishment be shifted into a boundary or a request?

Is there a courageous conversation that needs to be had?

How do you personally begin to practice whatever’s in alignment with your largest vision?

And I think of my Innerlings, this hardscrabble group of invisible inner influencers, and I think, “Dear Whampus, dear Loretta, dear Alfie and Itty Bitty and, you, Ethan, so new to my awareness, and even you, Excavator, who stays so distant that I’ve never been able to discern a face… how might we live more peacefully together? How might we find the boundaries so that all is left is caring and love?”
I invite you, Friend, to have your own version of that conversation. We may not be able to inspire truces or reconciliation in the wider world but, then again, perhaps within ourselves is exactly the starting point.
Listen to the On Being interview with author and leader adrienne maree brown when you have some time to ponder. I’d love to hear what calls to you from her insights.

my largest vision + connection

I suspect I will spend my whole life tinkering with my relationship to community, exploring how to create it and deepen it and keep it fresh and thriving.

Chomp & Chat was borne of that curiosity. I thought: if people are all motivated, for whatever reason, to read these Monday musings, perhaps they have enough in common to enjoy time together. Four years of chomping and chatting suggests that it was a fair hypothesis.

During our anniversary gathering last week, I floated the idea of introducing just the tiniest bit of additional structure to our half-hour of weekly communal pause: a theme, one that could guide conversation or be ignored - or perhaps a theme would inspire the kind of wandering thoughts that lead to another idea that might seem far afield of the theme unless one witnessed the meandering trail from one thought to the other.

Our first themed(ish) C&C will be this Wednesday and because I want to keep thinking about it, I'm pulling another moment from this podcast, when brown quoted her friend Terry Marshall who said, "We're in an imagination battle."

Wherever that thought takes you, I hope you'll bring it to Chomp & Chat to share!

adrienne maree brown also said, “What a time to be alive!”

What might change in your life, in your reading of the news, in your reflections of your day, if each morning started with that awareness?

Wishing you joy and play even in the midst of these tangled times and minds of ours.

With love and gratitude for all you are,

p.s. Scroll all the way down for a bit of happy-making community jujitsu.

p.p.s. These emails are a labor of love for me - emphasis on both labor and love. If you find value in today's email, please share the love. It might just inspire someone else and it for sure gives me the warm-fuzzies.


Your community,
co-created conversation,
and a whole lot of laughter, authenticity, and breath.

Chomp & Chat every Wednesday!
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Bigger Badder Book Club Gathering!

"It is rare for a work on a subject so fraught with interpretation and misinterpretation to be both funny and accessible, beautiful and conversational, but Goldstein's Money hits the bullseye in every respect. It made me look at my wallet and its musty contents with fresh eyes. A must-read."—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author

Saturday, December 10 | 11am ET/8am PT
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Just about every day, I have the honor to support people as they turn toward themselves...

...their own values and ethics
...their own opportunities and challenges
...their own solutions and ways toward their own unique definition of a Life Well Lived

If you're curious about what might become possible for you if you could get out of your own way and into your own guidance, email me.
Like, now.
I LOVE when strategies of oppression are turned on their head as a way to empower and serve those who were the original targets. This one is some real jujitsu in the form of business and real estate, a jazz performance space and restaurant as a community project in the commercial heart of historic Black Boston. Wowza!

Click on the image to read the whole wonderful story.
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