A couple of weeks ago, I led a soul/self-care workshop at an organization's annual staff retreat and upon arrival, I was handed a name tag with two categories I had to fill in:
Talk to me about:
Clearly, the first category was not a problem, but I took a long pause at the second one. I was in a group of mostly strangers and they wanted to know what they could talk to me about. What made me interesting or unique? What could I offer a conversation? I found myself intimidated by the question and thought of the only two things my life is currently consumed by: my son, Leo, and the spiritual life I've been diving into with The Living School and my work in soul care. I didn't know what else to talk about, so I wrote down those two things.
I don't think I'm a bad conversationalist, but after filling out the name tag, I felt embarrassed. I realized I'm better at tailoring the conversation to the other person's interests than I am at offering my own funny stories or quirks. The topics I enjoy talking about aren't usually light cocktail conversations; they are more suited to a cozy cafe, longer chunks of time, and knowing someone intimately. I'd love to get better at the fun and light conversations about myself, but until then, I've thought of a few of my favorite topics of conversation. Here are some things you can talk to me about, maybe over coffee sometime.
- Community and individuality: How to remain part of a community while maintaining your unique individuality, especially when you feel different from everyone else. What is the value of staying in a community of people who make you feel uncomfortable? What does staying look like and when should you leave?
- Motherhood as a spiritual path: Is it possible to maintain a contemplative practice while being a mother? What does this look like? What unique contributions can mothers make to the way of wisdom?
- Feminism, women in leadership, and women as peacemakers: Why it's so important and what prevents women from reaching our potential.
- Rituals, and why they matter: Making personal and communal rituals with meaning to acknowledge the passing of time, to mark an important transition, or to remember a deep truth.
- Simplicity: Why lightening the load in life is a key to happiness and a better world. What makes it so hard? Why "no" is a beautiful word and "enough" is a lovely concept.
-Wonder and mystery: Why allowing ourselves to be amazed and remain in not-knowing is so important to our spiritual lives. How wonder weaves itself into the smallest moments and yet manifests as all of Reality.
- Photography and bird watching: How they both keep me present, make me notice What Is, and keep me amazed.
-My son: The joy of my life and the one who pushes me to the limits the most often; my greatest teacher and bringer of laughter
- How little peace makes big peace: Why peace in the world can't happen until we find peace in ourselves. How the problems in ourselves manifest in the larger world and how it's easier to see the problem "over there" rather than "in here."
- My journey with the Christian faith: A wandering and continuing journey within, out of, around, and at the fringes of this religion. My scoffing at it, questions with it, trouble with the label of it, and finding beauty in its essence. How it has helped me find truth elsewhere and how other traditions have played a part in bringing me back to my own.