Almost every time I descend the grapevine on the valley side I start to cry. I think there are many reasons for this; maybe a sense of loss, maybe because I see so much wide open space it overwhelms me, maybe out of a sense of wondering where I belong. For the most part, I’m able to let the tears fall and move on, but when it happened on Tuesday as I was driving to Exeter to Lauren’s volleyball game it really got me thinking. I’ve been a part of so many communities by this point in my life…so many different ways of thinking, value systems, and community involvement on different levels. Sometimes there were activities that resonated with my soul and others that I felt I had an obligation to fulfill.
I believe so much in giving back, but have learned, that we each have our own way to do it. When we find the way that is right for us, we are able to give infinitely more. We find the flow in giving and nothing could be better for our spirit or the world.
My thoughts then went to the idea that communities get set in their ways. We think that we see it all, when really what we see is our tiny space in this big world, and our perspective is one of millions. We think we know the way things should be done, who certain people, or even groups of people are, and we allow certain circles in each community to be the ones that get things done…and the hierarchy forms. It’s the classic alpha/beta scenario in some ways, which isn’t something I am trying to argue against, but we do have a choice as to how we play our role in that timeless system.
What I realize today is that we choose who we are. We can choose to let that be dictated by our circumstances, positive or negative, or we can develop the constructs of self love, discipline and confidence that can transcend both our highest and lowest experiences, allowing us to balance it all out and become the best versions of ourselves. To be honest, I’ve never felt like I belonged in the hierarchy in any of these communities where I have lived. I’ve felt welcomed enough, but there was something in me, that kept me from feeling like an insider. The other thing I know now, is that I feel most comfortable in my own skin when I am bridging the gap between people who I understand, but may not understand each other. Maybe that’s what has given me the ability to have such diverse experience in life; growing up in political life, living far out in the country…rural America so to speak, experiencing financial success in business and then running in the circles that come with that, faith based communities that helped solidify my values and taught me about grace and mercy, and beach life and the athletic experiences that come with living in the training grounds for a sport that I love. There are so many differing points of view and a lot of perspective in all of these life experiences. What I want to do with all of this vision, generational teaching and storytelling is bring people together, to see perspectives that they may not have had the chance to see, in hopes that they might discover there is nothing to be threatened by. There is not one right path or one right answer. When we lead with good intention, hard work and kindness, everyone learns and broadens their perspective and we are all so much better off trying to connect the bigger picture than trying to protect our own little piece of the pie.