She Dares To Follow Her Own North Star – in Loving-Kindness

When my youngest daughter was about 9 months old, I enrolled the 2 of us in Gymboree. I wanted time with her alone and this seemed like a good option.

The first session, we sat in a circle and talked about how challenging being a parent was and how easy it was to lose our identity when faced with the 24/7 demands of parenting.

“What’s something you do to retain your ‘identity’ outside of being a parent,” the facilitator asked each of us as she went around the circle.

It was a good question, except, by the time she got to me, I was vibrating at too high a level because of what I deemed the ridiculous way she framed her lead-in to the question. As in, rather than use each person’s name, she started the question with…

“So, [Insert baby’s name} mother/father, what’s something you do to retain your identity outside of being your child’s mother/father?”

I admit, I probably could have framed my response a little more gently, but I had a point to make and after listening to her ask the question of about 10 people before me, I wanted to get my point across. So, I began my response with, “Well… the first thing I do is make sure people use my first name, Louise, rather than calling me “Liseanne’s mother.”


I know. Not gracious. Not kind.

So, here’s the deal. I believe I had a right to my position. However, I did not have the right to be rude. And in infusing my response with my flippant and sarcastic ‘attitude-driven’ nature, I veered from the underpinning value I want to use to light up my own North Star — to BE KIND.

To dare to follow my own North Star is to always be true to my values. And kindness is a value I cherish.

I value walking in my integrity. Speaking truth to build bridges, not tear apart the hearts and minds of others.

I value treating everyone with respect and doing no harm.

I value doing things to create better. Being fair and above all, I value walking with Loving-Kindness as my guiding light.

Sure, I got my point across that day, but in the making of it, I became the problem. That woman leading the group and I never did forge a strong relationship – to the detriment of my young child and the very reason I joined the group — to spend quality time with her amongst children of a similar age and other parents. I eventually left the group because I never did feel like I fit in — all because being ‘clever’ superseded my need to be understanding and kind (it was our first gathering and she had a lot of names to remember – I could have given her a break or at least a kinder response). In my need to be clever, I acted out with little regard to the woman, which means, in the end, I carried ‘the shame’ of my bad behaviour within me – which led me to leave.

And while I’d love to go back and apologize to that woman, I have no idea who she was. To make amends, I see to find value in the many lessons my bad behaviour taught me.

  • When I think I’m being clever and am coming from that place where the chip on my shoulder is digging a hole in my values, it’s time to take a step back and give myself a reality check.
  • Being right doesn’t make me or anyone else happy when my being right supersedes being kind.
  • Daring to follow my own North Star doesn’t give me the right to be a problem for everyone else. it does give me the right to always create my own path, as long as my path is built on Loving-Kindness of myself and everyone around me.

Do you have a memory of something in the past that taught you an invaluable life lesson you still breathe into today?

I’d love to hear your stories!




I’ve posted my She Dares Boldly 2022 desk calendar on my Etsy store.

You can check it out and order it HERE... (and for those ordering from outside Canada — Etsy’s shipping fees are out of whack — the only thing I can do to fix it at this point is to refund some of the shipping after you pay it — my apologies. It’s really weird!)

15 thoughts on “She Dares To Follow Her Own North Star – in Loving-Kindness

  1. Strange the things that stay with us in 60+ years of living. Yes I do indeed. We’d scoped out the spot to stand to see the race early and someone came in at the last minute and stood right in front of us and the stroller. I was rude and obnoxious and loud. I know there were better ways to handle it but somehow it didn’t happen that day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Valuable lessons learned – there were a few. The one that stands out and one that spawned my mantra, sort of, “Never take anything for granted.”
    In 1990 I was informed by a senior colleague that I was to be posted abroad. I had three weeks to get my ducks in order, and it was the Christmas / New Year’s period. Suffice to say, I did not go. A male colleague did! About 8/9 years later, same scenario. Your language skills are needed. Start the process! Well I was not too hasty, and yes, another male colleague went. To add insult to injury I was then called upon to be the translator, via conference calls, as this particular colleague had enhanced his language skills but failed miserably when reality set in. Yes, there was a third time. This time I looked the senior officer in the eye and point blank stated, show me the paperwork authorizing my transfer abroad with the director’s signature and I just might consider it. Needless to say, it did not materialize. The first time I was gung-ho. A female officer going abroad, a first. Second time, the political winds had changed for the better, almost, and I could be at the forefront of new international alliances. Not to be. Third time, I simply waited, did nothing and nothing materialized.
    Patience is a virtue, also saves a lot of grief.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well I laughed out loud reading your response, and couldn’t stop smiling still as I am typing this πŸ™‚ I understand how kindness as a value would be the first to uphold – somehow I am feeling good about the honesty in your response πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability with us Louise!

    When I was winding through my undergraduate years, I found myself in an Art and Architecture spring course. These courses are rapid as they are completed in less time. The course material was heavy, I was lost in my educational and life journey, and was working with someone who was not a good influence on me. I was not doing well in the course and found myself drawn to others who were in a similar situation.

    Long story, but I did not get a very good grade in the course and decided this was the instructor’s fault. Me and the others who I was connected with in the course gave a pretty rough evaluation – it was anonymous and we all apparently felt that we had something to prove. It stuck with me for a lot of years. As I grew, I came to clearly understand it was not the instructor’s fault at all – I was just embarrassed by my own shortcomings and found someone to unload on.

    Years and years later I found the syllabus. I went on the university’s website and found the instructor. I drafted a long email with my deepest apology – I’m sure she would never remember me, but I can only imagine that the words of me and my classmates stuck with her. I never heard back, but did not expect to – in many ways I don’t feel that I would deserve a resolution.

    The one healing and beautiful gift from the class was my discovery of Among The Sierra Nevada. I was introduced to this painting in the course. I was immediately drawn to it and forgot about it – often searching to try and find it again, but not having the name of the painting was difficult. Eventually I came across the painting in Washington D.C. – it was just there. It was the first time art literally took my breath away. There was a bench in front and I took time to reflect on my time in the course, who I was and how I had changed, and let the art bring some healing for me.

    Taking your recent Art Journaling course provided a similar interaction with the healing power of art – for both myself and my wife.

    Thank you for being you, and for all that you do!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Breathing now — thank you Dustin for your beautiful sharing and words — I went in search of the painting online and I can understand why it would remain with you — there was a sculpture I saw in San Francisco many years ago that has the same effect upon me!
        I am so grateful to have met you both in my workshop — I was taken with your willingness to explore and be open to the process — and I truly did go away thinking… now that’s a young couple I’d love to know better.! And here you are.
        Your words and insight are powerful — we can never know how our words affect another and though you did not hear back from the professor, you did the right and kind thing — which creates space for healing for everyone. That’s powerful.
        It is your words about finding a similar healing in my course that took my breath away. They feel like a precious gift lighting up my heart.
        Much gratitude! I do hope our paths cross again..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for the reply Louise! It means a lot.

        Words definitely are powerful and I’m really happy that what I wrote resonated with you, and that I was able to give back a little of what you gave during the workshop!

        We are truly glad to have met you to and are so grateful for the experience. Your process and approach has stuck with us and you made the entire experience comfortable enough for us to feel that we could open up and express what needed to be expressed.

        We will definitely be looking for other opportunities to learn from you and share in these experiences again – we would love to get to know you better too!

        You have so much to share and I’m looking forward to continuing to follow your blog and read your powerful words!!


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