Repurposed

Each year, for part of my set of Christmas Tree ornaments, I slice and dry a lemon, an orange, and a lime. I’ve been doing it now for 10+ years. I love the slight fragrance that comes with them. I love the way the sun shines through them. I love the way my kids have adopted the approach in their adult lives. I love the simplicity.

Each year, when I take down my Christmas Tree, a part of me wonders what to do with the dried slices. Put them in the garbage, with a bit of extra thanks? Put them in the compost bin? Save them for use next year? The colors do tend to brown over time.

This year, I repurposed them to a bit of art in my back yard. I love the look of the spiral. I love the color that rises forth from the resting winter ground. I love repurposing something, whether it be to art, or to some other form of use.

Now, I’m not a keeper of everything. There are some things that just go with my mostly silent thanks — “you’ve been good to me, thank you, good bye.” And who knows, with this citrus spiral, I’m curious what creatures might repurpose my art for their needs. A Robin creating a spring nest? A Raven delighting in yet another shiny thing? A mouse adding to its den?

For today, I’m glad to pause in the ease of making something beautiful in a surprise or unique circumstance, with something that I already had.

Repurposing. Because I can. Because I want to.

There are many things that many of us repurpose in our lives. I can feel in me the way that my Grandfather saved nuts, bolts, screws, and blocks of wood with intent to use them along the way. He grew up in the 1920s-1930s with added need for creativity. I can feel in me the way that my Uncle Frank found creative ways to use food so that none would be wasted. He grew up in a simple home in a simple and small Alberta town that relied on its gardens as much as its grocery store.

Repurposing. Because I can. Because I want to. Because I appreciate the interruption of “consume…throw away” that so defines contemporary life. Because I appreciate an overarching spirit of creativity, be it in families or in the teams I get to work with.

Well in all of that spirit, I found myself journalling these words.

Another day.
To wake.
To wonder.
To create meaning.

Another day.
To welcome the simple
of this now
lived among others.

Repurposing. For the simple. For the day. Sometimes for the mere art and present moment of it.

Relational

I am fresh out of hosting NGLI. It was five days online. It was co-hosting with my friend, colleague, Quanita Roberson. It was pastors (Next Generation Leadership Initiative). It was hosting from my home — with backdrop of these Utah Wasatch mountains above, rather that Arizona’s desert and redrock.

I have learned that when a group is connected, when I am connected into a group, my learning nuances and intensifies with the group. It’s like we are plugged in to the same electrical current and it amplifies in our being together. Or, it’s like we are floating our skills together in the same river, making each of them stronger.

One of the strongest learning insights for me during these five days was to further nuance how leadership is so relational. Jokingly, but perhaps not as much as it might seem, the punchline to the set-up, “there are three things important in leadership…” is “relationships, relationships, and relationships.”

I’m not trying to speak to all circumstances of leadership — it is different to lead when the task is chopping carrots that when the task is mobilizing social justice protest in a community. And, though training involves leadership, training is not the same as leadership.

My efforts and my heart go more into building relational field together, so as to have 1), the joy of it, and 2) capacity to act individually and together from and within it.

But here is the key point from my NGLI days — it is all relational. And that means, it is all about growing or improving or learning in relationship.

I would suggest relational in four key ways.

  1. Relation with self. It matters that we commit to continuance of learning our inner condition. To develop keen eye and heart. To see ourselves from a balcony and from ground, from the outside and from the inside.
  2. Relation among each other. As the African Proverb states, “if you want to go further, go together. If you want to go faster, go alone.” Efficiency is not the only job of a group of people. It may be part of it, but it isn’t the whole of it. Plugging in to the same current matters.
  3. Relation to circumstance. Living things are not static. They don’t remain in unchanged state. Sometimes the circumstance is an emotional quality such as anger (e.g., over the circumstance of US Capitol riots). Our relationship with anger is not a finish line kind of relationship. It’s not bound by time. Instead, we grow our relationship with anger. We grow and experiment with how we ourselves engage it.
  4. Relation to Spirit. Yup, I would suggest that this infuses each of the other layers. “Divine” language is confusing to me. Lots of charged nuances. “Mystery” is something I can land in very easily. I would suggest that there is always that which is unseen that influences not just what is seen, but also how we see it.

So, I’m grateful for these last days. For the way that relational nourishes a broad scale of inner and outer. For the way that relational gives us added dwelling with both the present moment and the longer arc of journey. In both who we are as individuals and who we are together.

Relational.

All My Friends

I’m so enjoying my friend Katharine Weinmann’s writings and posts, found in A Wabi Sabi Life. Katharine and I know each other through many years of circle practice, including a few years of shared time on The Circle Way board.

See writes today of how friends matter, found in a poem by Christopher Wiman.

As we begin to live our way into this long awaited new year, I reflect on friendships…
near and far,
here and “home”,
past, present, and yet to be known,
lapsed and tended,
cherished and challenging,
liked and loved,
beautiful, 
credible.
Your presence in my life matters, immeasurably.

Ditto.

Appreciatively, from a week of churning.

On Noticing

A poem I used this week. Written by St. John of the Cross (1542 – 1591), a Spanish Theologan and Mystical Poet.

I offered it with a group to invite attention to being good noticers. Which is so much the work of being in community together.

May it inspire.

A Rabbit Noticed My Condition
(From Love Poems From God)

I was sad one day and went for a walk;
I sat in a field.

A rabbit noticed my condition and
came near.

It often does not take more than that to help at times —

to just be close to creatures who
are so full of knowing,
so full of love
that they don’t
–chat,

they just gaze with
their
marvelous understanding.