The Tribe

puebloYou may recall me writing last spring that I decided to take seven weeks off of work; a sabbatical of my own making. While the circumstances were such that I had to step into “work mode” a few times (I am an executive director of a nonprofit), overall, from mid April through the month of May, I focused on my own personal projects and being a mom. Quiet meditative mornings spent writing and connecting with Spirit, and afternoons completing a life coaching program defined my days. My time off reached its completion with a trip to Mexico; very lovely indeed.

As I knew would be the case, I hit the ground running when I returned to work, and two days after flying from Puerto Vallarta to Dallas and driving back to Oklahoma, I made the drive back to Texas for several days of meetings. I felt a little “spacey,” as my brain revved back up, but as desperate as I had felt seven weeks earlier to have my break from work, I was supercharged and glad to be back!

These meetings were no dull affair; I was with a group of people who hold parallel positions to mine from across the country. The value of our time together is why I came back to work a week earlier than I had originally planned. While we have come together to work toward nationwide goals and collaboration, these people are my professional support system.

On one of these days, I looked across the room at Bev while she was speaking, and was flooded with memories from six years earlier, prior to stepping into my current position. It was a series of dreams, likely triggered by my location in El Rito, New Mexico. In my dream, the tribe was fracturing as it became known that efforts toward “population control” due to extreme drought and grain stores had been unnecessary; tribal leaders were saving the food for themselves. The population control involved infanticide.

As I awoke from that dream, Bev’s name, first and last came to me. This unfolding continued after I returned home, and with follow up research, I came across some articles that suggested population control may have been used (sometime between 1100 and 1300 AD), and part of the tribe inhabiting the area split off and headed north to the area around El Rito. Two years later, when I was well into my current position, I would be filled with recognition as I started seeing the names that had come to me in the dream state. This loose network of individuals was the “tribe.”

I don’t think about this often, and over the past few years of working closely with these people, I haven’t thought about it at all. Interestingly, we work in the field of child abuse and advocacy. What is this 21st century experiment we are engaged in? And what have we come to try and do, en masse, in this lifetime?

While I have ideas about the answers to those questions, I may never know. But I am grateful, that on my fourth day back at work after a Spirit filled seven weeks, I recalled those dreams and glimpsed the greater totality in which we all take part.

Many Blessings,
Sheryl

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45 New Things

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr.

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In the months before my 45th birthday, I had what one might call an old fashioned mid-life crisis. It manifested itself internally rather than in the more stereotypical ways we have all witnessed. As I did this internal evaluation, I knew that as much as I had enjoyed my life, I wanted to keep growing, expanding and experiencing rather than growing ever more comfortable and complacent in my “zone.” So, my birthday gift to myself was a challenge: Do 45 new things over the next year.

I hiked the Narrows in Zion. I got myself to Bryce Canyon after more than a decade of saying I wanted to go. I took my sons kayaking down a river; we hiked the Grand Canyon and experienced Carlsbad Caverns. I got my first pedicure, did a zip line adventure, read Thoreau, consciously tried new ways of dealing with patterns in my most significant relationships, got certified as a Life Coach, and the list goes on.

About a month ago, I downloaded a free trial of some “mind mapping” software to use in my coaching. I have always been intimidated by technology and it was completely unlike me to experiment with software with such reckless abandon. What had gotten into me? I was going to add this to the list of 45! Or wait— was this new behavior a result of the list of 45? What I did know was that I had subtly changed.

A year has passed, and on my 46th birthday, my sons and I boarded a plane for Puerto Vallarta as I have done for the past 23 years. On the plane, I looked at the “45” list in the back of my journal, somewhat in awe. I was beginning to see the ways in which the impact of these new experiences permeated into all areas of my life.  And then I noticed that the list stopped at 43; I didn’t actually meet my goal.

The weather in Mexico was unusual while we were there, and one morning I found myself completely alone on the beach, sitting under a palapa, while it poured down rain. It was beautiful, and I made a mental note to remember how peaceful I felt in that moment. When my sons arrived, they of course went straight to the water. The air was cool, but I pulled off my cover-up, ran through the rain, and submerged in the Pacific in spite of the storm. When I came up for air, I looked toward the mountains emerging through the dark clouds in the distance. What an incredible morning it had been.

Then it hit me; I had never experienced the beauty of a sitting on the beach alone during a storm. Nor had I ever been swimming in the ocean while it poured down rain. And with that realization, my list of “45” was complete.

Many Blessings,
Sheryl

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