we foster & ignite connection with purpose

Feasting.  

What a night at our Seeds of Exchange Uganda Storytelling Supper this week!  A remarkable group of women came together to share stories of their impassioned work in Uganda as filmmakers, NGO founders, and community collaborators, each with a heart set on the flourishing of women and their communities. We feasted, envisioned, encouraged, and basked in ripples of connection until we carried on the Seeds’ tradition of dancing each one out the door: East African beats thumping while we laughed, hugged and said goodbye.

To open our supper, we basked in the words of the remarkable Margaret Wheatley:

I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive.

Such a foretelling of our evening together.

Each one shared a lightening-fast, 10 minute-glimpse of her fiercely committed vocational endeavors. With love, I chimed our Nepali singing bowl when time was up – and, everyone groaned when I did. We knew we only heard and saw a fraction of each one’s extraordinary story, but also understood that this would not be the last time we would be together.

Our kula community expanded its circle that night ­– a night full of the sense that this is one of the great gifts of life: to share, build and live it…together.

 

Floundering.

And, yet, within all of the goodness, I discovered a dark moment of dissonance in me. When it came time for me to share my story and talk about Seeds of Exchange, I spoke about my passion, the roots of Seeds that go back to when I was a girl, my love of the kula – celebrating, bridging and igniting people all over our globe.

After my storytelling, one sister asked, “So what exactly does Seeds of Exchange do?”

Gulp. I wasn’t quite sure what more to say. I rarely, if ever, swear aloud. But, I did inside, just then. Next came the familiar taunting whispers:

Seriously, Sarah – how long are you going to flounder at this question? It’s been 20 years– 20 years of community work you love that you cannot explain. How can you not know and be clear about this work after all these years?

The whispers work well to not only diminish and shame me, but also to frustrate and anger me. Thankfully, I am reminded that they are not the whole story.

 

Flourishing.

I love this work.
I believe it is important.
I’m giving it everything I’ve got.
In the depths of me, I know and trust that I will receive the support to do what I need to do when the time comes to do it. The clarity and focus part of my vocation won’t remain elusive forever.

To everything there is a season: a time to plant and a time to harvest. -Ecclesiastes

Ahhhhh, yes.
I feel it.

In this season, I say a wholehearted yes to being and doing my unique and one-of-a-kind thing in the world. I sense it has to do with speaking, writing, and amplifying my presence and that of Seeds of Exchange so that I can reach and encourage the same in our ever-growing kula. It will take work to communicate and deeply connect with my sisters and brothers such that they feel seen, worthy, and empowered.

And yet, I know that this nudge to be brave and courageous is rooted in a real sense of belonging and worth that has nothing to do with my doing. I do not need to do more to be valuable or worthy. Nope, not one thing.

But, what is also true and breathtakingly powerful is that the more valuable and worthy I find myself to be, the more I sense the work that is mine to do and the more energized I am to do it.

In these moments of freedom and openness, I hear the voices of our sisters and their communities – sometimes laughing, fierce and united; other times, whispering, terrified and silenced. They call me – and, the kula – to rise up. To be and do what is ours to be and do with purpose, passion and courage.

Friends, it has been messy and murky for me to discover and uncover my work in the world. There are days I am filled with fear and feel shrouded in a shadow of incompetence.

But, when I bring those places of brokenness to my kula and to the exuberantly loving gaze of God, something happens: It doesn’t go away, but it doesn’t stop me from taking my next step.

Some days, I pick myself up (or get pulled up by one of you, the kula), step out of the safe shadows, take a deep breath, and march on.

Dear ones, let’s do this,

together.

Grab the arm of another,

pull a sister or brother up who’s down,

take a deep breath,

and march on.

We sing, laugh, cry, dream, ignite, and enCOURAGE.

This is our kula.


 

A glimpse of our Uganda sister kula who came together this week:

*A shout out to the youngest in our kula – Lily and Gabbie, each in ninth grade and both deeply inspiring the elder sisters.

uganda-storytelling-supper-sept-20-2016

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