Seeing with FRESH eyes

Presence. Deep, true in the moment presence, for me...is like "seeing with fresh eyes”.

When I see with fresh eyes I am able to access wonder, curiosity, kindness, and compassion.  When I see with fresh eyes, awe is available in me. I am able to step out of my conditioned mind, and into an embodied place.

It stills time.

And I fail at this 100 times and get up 101. It’s a practice, not a perfect.

Seeing with fresh eyes is seeing with the unconditioned mind and heart. The open spaces. The growth of new neural networks. The moving into a world of possibilities, instead of sameness.

As WE move into 2019 let’s focus on fresh eyes. More presence, more holding the world and everything in it with both the lightest touch, and a critical eye for injustice.

Here are some fresh ways of being that we continue to work on:

When someone says you are privileged instead of denying it, or justifying it, sit with it, own it.

Seeing the world as “eco” and soul-centric instead of ego and anthropocentric.

Seeing our unhelpful patterns and remembering we don't have to repeat the past. We can create a fresh now.

That forgiveness matters. And it doesn't mean forgetting.

Not denying whiteness as a race, and owning our part in racism.  

Embracing discomfort, again and again...and learning and growing through it.

Not overly-independent, but gracefully and thoughtfully interdependent.

Not “me” so much as “we”. Not individual, collective.

Not seeing nature as a resource and recreation but holding it withreverence first...for now, for always. And letting our behavior, and choices be reflected in that.

Not fearing change, but engaging with it.

Not seeing through a lens of lack, instead cultivating "enoughness".

Not holding ourselves to the status quo, instead disrupting it.

Not being our history, but shaping our future with eyes that can create something beyond what we know.
Not denying inequality or our part in that and, doing our part now.

Take a moment right now to write out your list of things you want to see with fresh eyes this year. 

Print it out, or write it in long hand. Hang it up somewhere and read your list once a day, or once a week. Add to it.
Celebrate what is growing in you that is helpful. Be kind and committed to the challenges you face.

See the world with fresh eyes and the world will begin to be what you see.


Happy New Year.
We hope to see you at one of our events, or connect with us via email. We'd love to hear from you.
Many blessings,
Carol and Casey

All We Want for Christmas

Is a world that works for all.

We created this book Stoke Your Woke and a group process to help us all do our part!
Fashioning a world that works for all takes shifting our collective consciousness in favor of interdependence. Stoke Your Woke is a consciousness changing process!

It works. It’s powerful and connecting. It is subtle and direct. It is kind and fierce.

We were called, from our hearts, to share this book and process, and we’ll keep putting it out until the cows come home, or our hearts say stop. And we could use your help. Would you help us grow the “we” consciousness? 

If YES:
 

1.  Would you be willing to send an email out to three friends introducing them to Stoke Your Woke and sharing why you love it?  Why they might too?

2.  Would you be willing to connect us to people your know who are doing social justice/mindfulness work?

3.  Do you know someone who hosts a podcast or has a blog or newsletter? Would you introduce us?

4.  Would you Invite us to speak and share our process with a group you are involved in? Face to face, or over Skype.

5.  Would you be willing to post our website and a note about Stoke Your Woke on your facebook page, or instagram?

What you’ll receive from us:

  • Let us know you did it! cae.delmonico@gmail.com  one or all five...and we will put your name in a hat for a drawing for a free journal (drawing the end of January)

  • Our undying love! 

  • Gratitude from future generations.

  • Ask us. We’ll do what we can to support you.


With deep care and a holiday hug,
Carol and Casey

Is This a Blind Spot?

Have you ever been at a meeting, a dinner table, or an event where one or two people do all the talking and the rest of the group sits in silence? Right? Does it drive you crazy, too?
Lately I feel like I am coming out of my skin when it happens. So I decided I needed to write about it because maybe it bugs someone else too!

“Holding Court” is pervasive in the world I inhabit. From board meetings, to dinner parties, to conferences, and everything in between. I think it comes from the patriarchal culture we live in. Many corporations, governmental agencies, educational systems, family systems, political systems etc. are set up so that a few people, at the top, do all the talking… while others are silent.

I tell myself we can, and desperately need to change that model. We need the voices of black and brown skinned people, the voices of all women, the voices of the economically disadvantaged, and the children.

The question is “How do we change unhelpful patterns that can be seen by some people and not always seen by the people doing them?”

We are like fish in water. The fish don’t see the water, they live in it.

We can’t see that we “hold court” because it’s our “water”.

We need to ask ourselves;

Do I want to live in a world that works for all?

If yes. Do this assignment. Reveal a blind-spot. Learn and grow. Be willing to own your part in this. And change it.

Sidebar- I do this sometimes — “hold court”. Mostly when I am in a passionate frenzy. And it’s usually about topics like this. I am not calling you out without calling myself out. And we need to call ourselves out.

Here’s our assignment:

Step one: Ask five people if you “hold court”, talk more than listen, or are the center of attention more than seems fair to others. (tips on who to ask — one person over 80, one under 5, a colleague or someone from work, someone you don’t always get along with, a person of a different gender, and a family member- get a variety of opinions)

What do you hold court about? When do you do it? How often do they want you to stop talking and haven’t asked? What is the impact on them? Why haven’t they told you? etc.

Take time to consider all you heard. It’s not “the truth” and there is probably some, or a lot of, truth to it. If you feel uncomfortable stay with it. Don’t defend. This is a practice in humility.

If the answer is yes I do “hold court” keep going with the assignment. (If you are more of a listener send this to the people in your circle who take up a lot of space and ask them to do this!)

Step two: Begin to observe your behavior and those around you. Be like a fly on the wall. When you are in a meeting, or at the next dinner party notice how you participate. How many times do you talk compared to the quietest person in the group? Who is the quietest person in the group? Who gets interrupted? Who interrupts? Who gets paid the most attention? Who is not saying anything? Wonder why? Get curious about all of it.

Step three: Change your behavior. If you’ve been holding court you have the power to create safe space for others to begin speaking up. Invite people of color and women to speak. Acknowledge their contributions. Interrupt someone else who is holding court and ask to hear from someone else. Keep inviting, keep offering space. Be a change maker.

Step four: Ask permission to speak. I know that may sound weird to you. Why should you ask permission. It will feel awkward. And just trust me on this. Say something like “Would you like to hear my idea’s, advice, or thoughts on that topic?”. People don’t always want to hear what you have to say. Asking permission is acknowledging that. It also is practicing humility.

Step five: As you are learning how to change this part of yourself ask someone you trust to hold you accountable. To call it to your attention.

Step six: Practice your listening skills. Learn what opened ended questions are. Learn to listen emphatically. Learn active listening. Gain some skill on the flip side.

Step seven: My favorite. Use a timer. Give everyone the same amount of time to speak and the same amount of time to listen. I generally do one to three minutes of talking time— in rounds (meaning you speak more than once)— depending on size of group and what the situation is. This is life-changing whether at the dinner table, a board meeting or a retreat. Democratization of time. If you only do two steps, do step one and step seven. This simple step is changing a power-over paradigm. You can do it!

Giving voice to those who are voiceless is game changing for all of us.

Give it a go. If you do I promise you will grow in compassion, humility, and happiness. Listening to others and learning things you don’t know can be much more enriching than hearing yourself talk.

P.S. Stoke Your Woke has a facilitation guide that includes equity of time for all participants. You may find it a helpful resource. Click here to find it.
P.S.S. pass this along to a few people you know who might have this as a blind-spot!

In gratitude,

Carol

A Drop In the Bucket

Most days there are moments of grief that flow in and around me. Moments of sorrow about what is happening in our country, the world, my community.

When I momentarily, or for days, lose touch with my joy, I feel isolated and alone. I get pulled into the world of separateness.
I forget that connectivity is my birthright. That we are, it all is, CONNECTED.

I forget that my "drop in the bucket" connects to a river of change, or as Joanna Macy calls it “The Great Turning”.

The web of life continues to show us there is no separation, and yet we live in a world that creates all kinds of distractions to that knowing. Aaargh. 

So for today when I drop into my heart I remember that my not using plastic bags,
along with your buying local produce,
along with my daughter riding the bus to work,
along with the volunteers helping out with a local campaign,
along with the person who picks up litter,
along with the bicycle riding commuter,
along with the local farmers growing organic or spray free vegetables,
along with the person who is willing to care for individuals who are living with domestic violence,
along with the writers, musicians and creatives who lift our spirits and give voice to our shadow and our light,
along with the brave people fighting fires,
along with those helping out at detention centers...I could go on and on but I know you get the picture. 

If you'd like, take a moment.
Pause.
Take one full slow breath.
Every time you make a choice from a place of remembering that all of your choices impact everything, you put a drop in the bucket. 

All together our drops add up to millions of buckets pouring into a river of change. A river of connectivity, and care, and love for the world. That river can wind it's way through the hearts of all of humanity. We are the river.
You are not alone.
We are in this together.
Can you hear the drops?