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A baked potato fell on my house and…

The other night I was sitting on my couch typing away on my laptop when I heard a very loud BANG!…thump, thump, thump (overhead), crash (into the weed jungle on the west side of my house).

Now, I love my neighborhood, but there are guns aimed and fired occasionally and I have had to call 911 several times in the last few years. So it makes sense that my first thought was “go get Dakota.” My partner is kind of a tough ass when she needs to be (she’s the one on the right in the photo).

She hadn’t heard the bang thump thump crash, but she gamely went out into the weed jungle to investigate, yelling back over her shoulder that I should keep away from the windows.

She thrashed around out there for about 3 minutes before I couldn’t stand it any more and opened the window to ask her what she’d found. Incredibly, she turned to face me and held up…yes, a baked potato. Intact except for a small round chunk missing from its side. We looked at each other for a looong tiiiime.

This is one of those stories that I will get mileage out of for years. But that’s not why I’m sharing it here on my blog for social change agents who want to fulfill their calling with ease and grace.

What I found myself thinking for days after “the incident” is the fact that I live in a world where a baked potato can fall out of the sky onto my house.

I did not know that. In fact if you had asked me before-hand whether I live in such a world, I probably would have said no. But I would have been wrong.

So what are all the other things that are possible in THIS world, my little sphere specifically, that I don’t currently believe in?

And I’m noticing – there are a lot of metaphorical baked potatoes falling from the sky all the time. A crow raises a kitten. A burned-out nonprofit worker finds the courage to take care of herself and find a new leadership role. The thing that really needs to be said gets said.

What might be possible for you that you don’t believe in yet? What if it can happen anyway?

The question I would ask God…

You know those moments when something that has been rolling around in your head for months, maybe years, crystallizes and comes popping out of your mouth? Almost before you know what you’re saying? I think the technical term might be “aha moment.” (And you know, coaches love technical terms. 🙂

I had one such moment the other day, talking with my partner. What came out of my mouth was “if I could ask God one question today, it would be – how do we know when to push and when to receive? When to be disciplined and All-American go-for-it, and when do we just  let life unfold ?”

Partly I was surprised because I don’t believe in God as an entity you can interview like Barbara WaWa, glass of iced tea on the side table and mic carefully hidden under lapel. But my lovely partner reminded me that God does often answer questions if you’re looking in the right place for answers.

I know that entire ancient philosophies have been dedicated to this question. In fact, now that I think of it, the Yin Yang symbol is probably supposed to represent the balance between these two ways of being. In my own humble life, I find myself constantly wrestling with this question: should I push myself to rewrite my website now, today, or should I instead walk my dog, fold the laundry, call that friend back? What’s the right thing? And how much will my inner critic punish me later if I don’t choose “correctly?”

Later that evening I was reading Laura Fortgang’s new book Prosperity Plan, and a quote jumped out at me that, I think, was God answering in her own indirect way.

“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.”  Paul Hawken

When I’m taking Paul’s brilliant advice, there is almost always a clear answer to that big hairy question ready and waiting like a scroll from one of those old-fashioned fortune-telling machines. It comes from somewhere between my diaphragm and my collarbone, and always seems to have the just-right idea for right now. And when I listen to this voice, somehow everything gets done and everything is just fine and there was no need to worry.

I think God wants me to listen to this voice more often, and to hear it, I need to enjoy myself more often.

So, today I spent 2 hours in the garden clearing out dead stuff and noticing little green shoots and weeding. And I’m writing to you, and I had biscuits for breakfast after jumping rope at booty camp. And life is good. And my to-do list is shrinking.

Does this ring true for you? How would you answer this big question? Love to hear from you!

Special audio blog – faith in life during dark times

I wanted to send you a special audio message during this dark time of year, whether you are filled with joy and surrounded by healthy loved ones or grieving a major change or loss…or both.

2010 has been a big year for many of you. Our world is changing rapidly, and sometimes change is painful, even as it brings new vision and possibilities to light.

My wish for you as we close out this year and prepare ourselves for a new one is faith. Not the kind of faith many religious institutions demand, where you are asked to believe in what you can’t see or know first-hand.

But faith in life itself – that you as a blessed recipient of life can rest in the knowledge that you are loved and needed. NOW. Not later after you become more successful, a better partner, thinner, healthier, kinder. NOW.

Life has been unfolding for millenia without you worrying about a thing. Life doesn’t need you to worry, it needs you to have faith.

It needs you to notice that bright blue stellar jay foraging around in the un-raked leaves in your yard, the extra-yuminess of that third cookie, the sheer bliss of a kid anticipating.

I was out in my yard yesterday in an unexpected spot of sunshine. I noticed that there are already buds on some flowering trees. They have faith in spring. Trust them.

In 2011 may you find many occasions to remember, embrace and embody your true calling. Because life needs you NOW, as you are, in your full glory, uniqueness and fragility.

And thank you for the amazing and life-giving opportunity to ride shotgun with you on the Open Road!