Monday, January 25, 2010

Tools for the Journey #8 - Lift As You Climb!

Today my heart is heavy for all of the loss, sorrow, and unimaginable suffering and heart ache going on in Haiti. The images of so many of our fellow humans in so much pain is stunning to the point of taking my breath away. There are no words any of us not there are qualified to speak about this tragedy other than to speak out loud that we see, we hear, and we will help in whatever way we can.

In honor of our brothers and sisters in Haiti I want to share a small miracle which I helped to create and which is hopefully having a positive impact on some people in Haiti now. I don't say this to impress you, but rather to impress upon you how even our smallest actions still have the potential to cause good ripples which can be far reaching.

Last fall the ABC Extreme Makeover Home Edition show came to our small corner of New Hampshire and rebuilt the home of some close friends of mine. As a result of participating in this event, I began to make an effort to watch this television program once in a while. One day while watching an episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, I heard the story of a pastor from New Orleans whose church was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. This man, Pastor Willie Walker, was a hero in his community for his selfless efforts in the aftermath of devastation which was caused by Hurricane Katrina.

I was deeply touched by Pastor Walker's spirit, and by his story. So that night I wrote down his name thinking I would Google him and send him a card thanking him for his courage and good deeds. Months went by, and running at the speed of life with small children and a full time job meant his name sat on my desk on a piece of paper week after week. Finally in early January I followed through on what my heart kept telling me to do; I located his number online and I called him. We had a lovely conversation, and I hung up the phone knowing I had found a kindred spirit at the other end of the phone line that day. Willie Walker is most definitely a man who makes a habit of lifting as he climbs.

Just one week after our phone conversation the earthquake in Haiti happened.

After the earthquake I began receiving daily updates from friends who have a number of orphanages in Port au Prince. I was moved to forward these updates along via email to Pastor Walker; within 24 hours I received an email from him asking me to call him ASAP. When I reached him he told me he was working diligently to get down to Haiti to help in whatever way he could, but he did not have any connections in Haiti or anyone specific to help when he got there.

Long story short, I was able to put him in touch with our friends in Port au Prince( and Pastor Walker was able to pull some strings to get himself flown down to Haiti. He is now there at the Maranatha Orphanage in Port au Prince helping our friends and the children in the orphanage!!! They desperately needed the extra hands, and there appeared Pastor Walker out of the clear blue sky.

This is a miracle. It is something which would never have happened had I not been moved by his story and then followed my heart and reached out to him. Now, because of this there are orphaned children in Haiti with one more person tending to them, and people from the slums are being transported to the Heartline Ministries clinic so their injuries can be treated - and Pastor Walker is there helping because I reached out, made a friend, took a risk.

For each of us there are times when day to day life can be a challenge; maybe there are financial struggles, lost jobs, relationship issues, sick children, and these things can be a heavy weight upon us as we "climb". But if we remember to "lift as we climb" (by reaching out and helping another) then perhaps we may find unexpected courage, and even the burdens which seem too heavy - might somehow be lightened.

All of my burdens these days are lighter when I consider the unimaginable weight on the shoulders of those in Haiti today. I will keep climbing, I will continue to take risks and reach out when my heart pulls me to do so... There is comfort in knowing if I "lift as I climb" then someone else's burden may be made lighter by my willingness to reach out and lift them along with me.

Blessings on your journey.
Lift as you climb!
Never under estimate the power of reaching out!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tools for the Journey #7 - Point of View vs. Viewing Point

As we head off down the path of a new year I find myself curious to see what 2010 holds in store for me. As I ponder possibilities and plans I am reminded of one of the great tools I was given by my mentor and friend, Tom Crum. This particular tool I keep close at hand and use often. I cannot begin to tell you how much it has helped me over the years to find lost perspective. Tom's distinction between a "point of view" and a "viewing point" is simple, yet profound. Allow me to share this tool with you as a New Year's gift.

“When I am hiking in the mountains, I often find myself on densely wooded trails, not quite sure where I am or where I am going. It expands my perception and perspective dramatically to climb a tree or a ridge to take a look not only at my point on the path, but also at my point’s relation to other places along the path. In a conflict, being willing to change allows you to move from a point of view to a viewing point – a higher, more expansive place, from which you can see both sides. A point of view is often something we need to defend. A viewing point is a place of increased perspective and greater possibilities. Rising up to a viewing point takes only one person. It doesn’t require movement on the other person’s part. Rising up to a viewing point does not mean totally forsaking your point of view. It puts your point of view in perspective in relation to the whole.”

From: The Magic of Conflict by Thomas F. Crum

January 1st always feels fresh and bursting with potential. However, as weeks and months pass and life begins dishing up her various challenges I often get temporarily lost in the "forest" of things. Remembering Tom's tool I step back, climb up and from this elevated viewing point I can more easily see my place on the path in relation to the world around me...and this increased perspective makes all the difference...enabling me to begin anew.

This year if you find yourself in the thick of things; if you can't see the forest for the trees...remember you can stop at any time, climb up and get a higher view of things. The perspective afforded from this more "expansive place" can be transformational on many levels. When we can put our point of view in perspective in relation to the whole, then anything is possible.

"What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a Masterpiece unfolding, every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath." -Thomas Crum

Blessings on your journey!