Share your Smile | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 1

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On January 1st, 2012 when I began this blog (originally called, A Year of Making a Difference) my intent was to explore what it means to make a difference in the world.

Working at a homeless shelter for 6 years, it was fairly easy to make a difference every day. It was fairly easy to feel like I was living on purpose.

But what about when I wasn’t at the shelter? What about when I wasn’t working in an environment that naturally brought countless opportunities to make a difference just by being present to those around me?

Ahh, now there was a challenge. Or so I thought.

Making a difference is not a choice. It’s not a ‘thing’ we do or way we act.

We are the difference we make in the world. By the very act of being present on this earth, we make a difference. The air I inhale came from the air you exhale. The air I exhale becomes the air you breathe in. When we move, the space around us moves too.

Like a butterfly’s wings fluttering in Africa creating waves on other side of the globe, our presence in this world makes a difference.

The quality of our difference is created in the choices we make. It is in how conscious we are willing to become of how we express our difference that we create change for the good, or not. To be the change we want to see in the world, we must know what that change is.

I believe we are all born magnificent. That our birthright is to shine, to radiate, to be lights illuminating the darkness.

I believe we are all capable of greatness because greatness is inherent in our human nature.

I believe we are all connected through this condition called being human and in that connection is the capacity to make a difference for one another by being present to one another.

How do I want to express my difference in this world? With grace and ease.

Living in grace and ease does not always come effortlessly. Some days, when the sky is dark and shadows are long, it is easy to forget my desire to express myself through grace. Some days, it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of life and forget all about rising above as I sink into the quagmire of being busy, or letting doubt, fear, confusion and a host of other non-productive human conditions pull me from my path.

It is in those moments I must stop, and breathe and act out — with grace.

For the next 52 weeks, every Monday I will be sharing one act of grace to inspire your every day living.

My goal is to practice each act of grace in my life every day. Some of the ideas I share may be things you do everyday, or maybe what I share will ignite your imagination to share some of your own acts of grace. I invite you to share them with me and everyone else here.

I hope you join in. I hope you share your ideas so that together, we can be like the butterflies and create waves of change all over the world.

Who knows what magic and wonder will arise as we delve into the joy of inspiring acts of grace in every day living.


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There is purpose in everything.

Beaumont helping me write

         Beaumont’s purpose is to help me write

Over at Leading Essentially, my friend Ian Munro has been holding a conversation on living on purpose. He is intentional in his approach, organized in his thinking around the subject and has created a pyramid to depict what he describes as the Four Levels of Living Purposefully.

In his post on Saturday, Four Levels Of Living Purposefully, Ian describes Level 1, Perform tasks, as that place of our to-do-lists. Getting things done.

Level 2, Self-awareness, is about being conscious of the demands on our time, internally and externally, and making conscious choices that support our sense of purpose in the world.

Before we can manifest our purpose in Level 3, Embracing purpose, Ian says we must take the inner journey to truly feel it, breathe it, know it so completely that its pull is ever present in everything we do.

The fun begins in Level 4, Engage. The ability to live and work in a way that is completely fulfilling to us.

I love how Ian is so clear on living purpose. In his post, he cautions that living through the four stages can be cyclical. We’re not on purpose at all times, and we’re not clear on how our purpose is being manifested at all times. We move back and forth through the stages.

For example, yesterday I cleaned my office at home. The inspiration to get rid of clutter and excess paper came from next weekends neighbourhood clean-up — deliver your junk and unwantables and give-aways to the community centre on Saturday and they will haul it away. How perfect is that? And what a great reason to get busy getting rid of things we don’t need.

Now, cleaning my office doesn’t sound like it’s very on purpose. It’s more a Level 1, perform tasks kind of thing.

But, there is a deeper reason for doing it, a heart-calling, purpose driven motivation.

I don’t work well in cluttered space. I know. I know. I can hear my sister Jackie spluttering into her coffee as she reads that and I can see my daughters rolling on the floor, laughing out loud right now.

I am known for my clutter. And it’s true. I love the ‘Zen’ look, I just don’t create it very well!

Regardless of my comfy environment-seeking soul, I like to work in tidy. I think more clearly, create more freely when my senses are not constantly bombarded by clutter flowing all over my desk and in the room around me.

And my office was cluttered. Very cluttered.

So I cleaned.

At the time, I wasn’t creating a difference in the world, or living on purpose, or so I thought, until this morning when I read this quote from 18th Century educator, Horace Mann, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

And I rethought my cleaning yesterday.

What if, cleaning my office was necessary to get clean on something I’ve been niggling away at but never completed? What if, to clear my mind and make space for my creative writing process to awaken, I needed to unclutter my writing space?


The book I have been sporadically working since leaving the homeless shelter where I worked 3 years ago, still calls. It still pulls me with its desire to be expressed.

It is part of my purpose “to touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free”.

As Ian says in his post, “We can’t actually live our purpose if we aren’t willing to do any work to make it happen.”

How we express ourselves in the world is a reflection of our understanding of living purposefully.

What is ‘the victory for humanity’ I want to win before I die?

That’s in my intention statement which follows my contract and purpose — “to create a world of peace, love, joy and harmony.”

“I am a trusting woman touching hearts, opening minds and setting spirits free to create a world of peace, love, joy and harmony.”

And I can’t do that if I’m not writing, not sharing my experiences and the lessons I learned about love and life and compassion and kindness working at a homeless shelter.

And I can’t express myself clearly if my work space isn’t clear.

So… it’s all about purpose, just expressed differently in everything I do.


Beyond purpose, what are you here to give?

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The question slipped through the cracks of my mind, deepening into the silence of my meditation. “Beyond purpose, what are you here to give?”

“Your whole heart,” soul whispered. “Give whole-heartedly and you will be living into your purpose.”

It is not a thing, this giving whole-heartedly. It is a way of being.

Purpose is not something to be on, or off. It is something to live and breathe into. To live within.

And my heart breathed deeply into the elegant simplicity of knowing. I am living my purpose when I engage whole-heartedly with life, fearlessly shining my light for all the world to see, there is light beyond darkness, hope beyond despair, love beyond fear.

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Source: Sojourners Path talesfromtheconspiratum

In the third segment of the Choices program that I coach in, trainees spend the Sunday delving into their Purpose, crafting the words for their own personal statement of what they do in the world, naturally, intuitively, effortlessly.

Sometimes, people ask, “What if I don’t have a purpose?” or, “How do I know what my purpose is?” or some other question that speaks to our learned-fear of not being here on earth for a reason beyond, we’re here taking up space; and then we’re gone.

I love the purpose process at Choices. It is an engaging, loving, and whole-hearted exploration of the small, and large, significances each person creates in their life, every single day, often without thinking. Diving into the purpose process, trainees are often surprised to discover, they have been living the expression of their purpose all their life. It isn’t necessarily something grand like ‘make world peace’ or ‘find a cure for (name the disease or social cause or issue). It is in fact, every small thing they do that expands their heart-felt living into the mystery and wonder of feeling alive and passionately engaged with living life through their own unique expression.

Purpose is about all areas of our life, even though people sometimes want to limit their purpose statement to just one group, like children, or just one area of their life, like music. Once they explore all the ways they express themselves through living their purpose, they inevitably discover

How you do one thing is how you do all things. What you do for one, you do for all.

Each of us will have passions, areas where we completely, totally engage our entire beings in the fulfillment of some idea or dream of what the world would look like if…. we ended poverty, had world peace, treated every creature, big and small, with kindness and respect…

Purpose isn’t about proselytizing ‘the mission’. It’s about our way of being in the world. Aligned and integrated with the deepest expression of our heart’s desire to live beyond the comfort zone of playing small or quietly. It’s about shining our own, individual and unique light, as brightly as we can.

And in our brilliance, inspiring everyone around us to shine theirs, so that everyone they meet will shine theirs and so on and so on until all around the world, we are shining so brightly not war, not hatred, not anger nor fear can overshadow our light.

Mind asked, “Beyond purpose, what are you here to give?”

Soul answered, “Your whole heart.”


To contribute my best I gotta give up my worst

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I am off tomorrow to be in that place where hearts break open with every breath and miracles unfold with every heartbeat. I am off to coach at Choices for five days.

I am happy.

I am excited.

I am relieved.

Yesterday, at a team meeting, Mary Davis, Choices founder Thelma Box‘s daughter and the facilitator of the program, asked the group, “Why do you commit so much time to volunteering at Choices?”

Everyone of the 8 – 10 core team members present shared along similar lines.

We love being in a place where miracles unfold, and, where we get to live on purpose, every moment of every day.

I also like being in a place where I know everyone around me is supporting me in contributing my best, just as I am supporting them.

It is easy in the busy, crazy, schedule-driven competitiveness of everyday living to criticize, condemn and complain. My hair’s a mess, the price of gas too high, too low. I can’t find a parking spot — really, does that guy have to take up two spots? Governments are blind, bosses are stupid, co-workers lazy. The world is going to hell in a hand-basket. The world is falling off its axis.

It’s easy to see and speak of what’s wrong, what’s not working and what we’d do to make it different, better, other than what someone else is doing.

It’s also easy to forget that those we criticize did not get up this morning and say, “I’m off to do a horrible, piss-poor, really rotten job at whatever I do today. I’m off to make the world a worse place than it already is.”

I don’t believe any (or at least the majority) of us get up with the intention of creating worse. I believe we set out into our days to create better, or, in some cases to at least uphold the status quo if only so we don’t have to face the consequences of the changes we’d like to avoid.

Why is it then, that at water-coolers, in quiet corners, on transit buses or where ever two or more of ‘us’ are gathered, conversations often focus on what others are doing so badly, at least according to us?

When I get up in the morning I make a conscious decision to contribute my best throughout the day.

When I criticize, condemn and complain, I am not contributing my best.

So, if a + b = c, when I engage in C I am undermining my best and robbing myself and the world around me of the very things I want to contribute to make the world a better place. Engaged in the 3C’s I am actively engaged in doing the opposite of what I want to do because, whether actively engaged in A or B, I am making a contribution to the world. The one I focus on the most determines the outcome of my efforts.

Which do I want it to be?

I am off tomorrow morning to contribute my best in a place where the vision is to “change the world one heart at a time.”

It’s a big job, but, the more of us engaged in changing hearts and minds to see we are human beings filled with infinite possibilities and the capacity to create the world we’ve always dreamed of, the more possibility there is of living in the kind of world we dream of. The kind of world where Love and peace and compassion and joy and harmony co-exist without fear of being condemned for the colour of our skin, the God or gods we do or don’t worship, the pedigree of our family tree, the depth of our pockets and the trajectories of our past.

The more of us who give up the 3Cs, the less we’ll be contributing our worst and the more time we’ll have to give everything we do and say and create our best.

I’m off to coach at Choices. See you next Monday.


The world is a different place today. What a blessing.

There is truth in everything. But not all things are true. It is not true that we are born for no reason, and no matter how much we fear we do not have a purpose in life, it is not true.  Everyone of us has a role to play on this earth. Everyone of us has a purpose.

Mark Twain wrote

“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”

Yesterday I was blessed to be present as 67 people found their ‘why’. Yesterday I sat in a room filled with the excited voices of  67 people exploring their hearts in order to find the words to express their purpose in a simple, succinct statement that has meaning for them.

They delved into the times that they felt special or important. They tread gently into those spaces where they found value in making a difference. They shared their small significances, their big differences. They shared stories of lives they’ve touched, of moments that moved them deeply, of instances where they felt on purpose, on course, present and accountable for their journey in life and their impact on others. And as they sat with their coaches and shared their memories of those times, the room came alive with our human condition expressing itself in the wonder and awe of the significance and magnificence that each of us contributes naturally and effortlessly to the world through all that we do and every action we take that creates a difference for others.

In the Purpose Room at Choices we tell trainees that our purpose was written on our hearts when we were born. We all make a difference and we all express it in different ways. Our purpose is visible in the little acts of kindness we share, and the big acts of significance we create.

Our purpose is not ego-centric. It is heart specific. It is defined by what lays in our hearts, what rests easily in our spirits, what expresses itself naturally through our being present, every moment of every day.

Our purpose is felt in the smiles we share. The hands we warm. The bellies we feed. Our purpose is felt everywhere, known through everything we do.

For some it is expressed through their capacity to touch hearts, minds, spirits. For others, to create joy, love unconditionally, accept completely. For some, it is found in their capacity to guide, to inspire, to motivate, to lead, to help, to illuminate, to empower, to propel.

We all have an action word connected to our purpose and we all have values we uphold in the actions we take to live it.

I was blessed yesterday. 67 people sat in small circles with their coaches and shared the stories of their lives that illuminated the path for them to find the words that have been written on their hearts since they were born. And in their truth, I stood in the brilliance of our shared human condition and felt the power of our being human radiating throughout the room. In their truth coming alive through acknowledging and claiming their purpose, I felt the true capacity of each and everyone of us to make a difference in this world.

And I am in awe. I am grateful. Because I know that this morning, setting out into the world, there are 67 more people living on purpose with passion and love, with joy and conviction. I know there are 67 people doing their best, giving their all as they consciously set out to make this world a different, more loving, accepting, joyful and compassionate place for all of us.

The world is a different place today. What a blessing.

My Contract

I am finally feeling as though I’m catching up on lost sleep. Finally awakening without rolling over and hitting snooze. And that little voice within me wants to whisper, in it’s oh so critical way, “It’s about time, you lazy bum. There’s no time to be tired. Get going.”

And I push it away (the voice that is) with a loving touch and remind myself, “It is as it is and as it is and as I am is all okay.”

One of the areas we spend a lot of time working on in the Choices training room, and an area that trips most of us up, is our tapes. Those thoughts we repeatedly cycle through our minds that tell us we are failing, falling, losing our grip. Those messages we’ve carried from the ‘then and there’ into the ‘here and now’ that would have us believe we can’t, don’t, won’t, will never, measure up, be enough, have enough, do enough, give enough.

And telling myself there’s no time to rest, no time to take time for myself, is a tape I’ve carried a long, long time. It doesn’t work for me very well, but a tape doesn’t care about how well it works for me. Like most lies, it only wants to be believed.

I have a lot of tapes. From I’m too short to I’m too loud, to I can’t do it, to I should have known better or it’s all my fault. My tapes are not my friends. Though often, they’ll dress themselves up under the guise of being good for me, they always hold me back with their limiting belief that I am not enough just the way I am. They are always critical of the work I’ve done, the place I hold, the way I am. Tapes limit the expression of my magnificence because they would have me believe, I am nothing but…. a loser. A lost cause. A failure. A fraud.

The gift of knowing I have tapes is that when they do arise, when they do leap in to fill the gap or trick me, I catch them before they push me down. And while sometimes I don’t see them until they’re front and centre and screaming in my mind, I am better able to redirect their intention to shut me up, or shut me down. I am better equipped to recognize their lie and override them with the truth of my contract statement — My personal statement that connects me to the pact I made with myself to always live my more, to always live leaning into the unknown of who I am in a world of wonder — I am an alive and radiant woman.

Living my contract is a personal commitment I made when first I went through Choices and claimed the more of what I want in my life — more joy, passion, love, commitment, happiness. To  live it, to be it, I needed to arm myself with the strongest statement I could make that would remind me — I am not my tapes. My tapes are not my friend. And today, stating, I am an alive and radiant woman, awakens my passion, my awe and my desire to express my magnificence with every breath, every step, every thing I do and say and create.

Living on contract keeps me dancing with joy, no matter the weather. It keeps me singing as if the world is singing with me. It keeps me living in the radiance of being alive, every moment of every day.

It is a beautiful morning today. The sky is clear. The snow has melted and though the grass is brown and the trees still bare of leaves, the promise of life shimmers in the golden light of sunrise breaking across the horizon.

It’s a beautiful morning. Time to live it up on the other side of my comfort zone. Time to laugh and dance and sing and kick up my heels and be all that I am when I let go of believing who I am doesn’t make a difference.

We all make a difference. What that difference is, is expressed in how we live each day.


With All My Heart

There is a civility to life here on the west coast. A politeness that superimposes itself on everyday living, infusing each breath with ease.

Unless you’re a driver, or pedestrian or anywhere near a thoroughfare — but that’s a whole other story.

Heck, even the buses are polite in Vancouver. When out of service their electronic banner doesn’t just read “Out of Service”. The story of their status begins with “Sorry”

See what I mean. Polite.

And see, there it is again. Story.

Story is everywhere. I’m writing a story right here, right now. Sharing with you the story of my life, of where I’m at in this moment, how my story is unfolding for me right now.

Perhaps you can see the chips in the wood of the round table I’m sitting at in the coffee shop down the street from my daughter’s apartment. Can you hear the music? A blend of Indie and folk? Pleasant. A slice of thought-provoking lyrics, just not too harsh for awakening minds to hear on this cloudy west coast morning. Can you see the two men chatting at the table by the window. Grey-haired salt and pepper man standing beside bald man in black. I wonder if salt and pepper regrets his decision to step over and say hello. He keeps trying to interject some positivity into the story of woe the man in black is telling him about how ‘bad it can be’. I hear them both. I know there are multiple sides to every story. Many dimensions to the same situation. And in the end, they are just stories we tell ourselves and each other.


Those two men are wrapped up in theirs. Each with a different perspective. Each with their own POV of how life is meant to be, really is and can be, or can’t possibly become depending upon the ground on which they stand.

Yesterday, as I walked back from the SeaWall a man approached me. Toothless grin. Orange hair rising in messy spikes from above a furrowed brow. He was dressed in a long down coat, clean, no tears. It was the shoes that gave him away. Tattered runners, the logo long since worn away. The laces long since disappeared.

“Oh thank you for stopping,” he said as he stood in front of me.

I hadn’t really had a choice. He had planted himself directly in my path on a narrow part of the pathway.

And he went on to tell me his story of arriving in from Australia in the early hours of the morning. Of sleeping in the lobby of a posh hotel as they searched for his luggage, his lost passport, missing wallet.

He showed me the tattoo on his arm. A kangaroo with the words, “Down Under Is Tops”, printed in black.

He told me how I reminded him of his mom. Kind eyes with a koala bear in their light. That one confused me but I wasn’t about to ask for clarification. He shook and jittered as he talked. His hands flying around his head as if shooing away pesky Australian flies.

I don’t shake because I’m a junkie, he said. I’ve got MS. And he told me how he needed to get out of town. How he couldn’t take it anymore. Tears welled up in his eyes. Rolled down his cheeks.

Please help me, he pleaded.

I offered to take him somewhere he could get help. (a shelter, a drop in centre where he could get help. Maybe even a place to clean up and… change his story.)

He shook his head vehemently.

No. No. No.

I need $48.00 to get out of town.

I sighed and gave him a gentle smile and shook my head. I can’t do that. Give you money.

There’s a bank machine downstairs in the building, over there. And he pointed to the left of where we stood.

I’m not prepared to do that.

And his shoulders slumped as he realized I wasn’t buying his story.

Story. It is everywhere.

A man at the Art Gallery tells me how he doesn’t take phone calls anymore. Text me. Email me. But please don’t phone me. I wonder what’s his story.

I walk past the Coal Harbour Community Centre and watch a group of mostly women bend and stretch and lean into downward dogs and stand up to welcome in the sun (it didn’t work — it rained most of the day) and I pass people walking dogs and riding bicycles and hear the flap flap flap of joggers shoes running past me on the wet pavement. Carrying their stories with them. Bending them. Shifting them. MOving them along.

I sit and sip a Chai Latte in a coffee shop overlooking the harbour and hear the metal on metal chatter of boats bobbing, a float plane’s engine revving up in the distance. I walk past a public garden space and hear the sound of a shovel as a man tenderly prepares the earth for spring flowers. I walk along and overhear a woman on her cell phone laughing as she tells her listener, “He wants a divorce he can have one. But if he’s driving away in a Porsche so am I.”

I listen to my daughter share her story of dreaming and waking up and seeing life in a whole new perspective as I sit over lunch with her sharing a glass of wine and an assortment of Greek dips. Later, we sit in an oyster bar and laugh and chat and share another glass of wine (Prosecco this time) and chat with our waiter who is from Saskatoon. He’s an actor here, but somewhere within him that prairie boy still yearns for the wide open spaces and clear blue skies of his home, that place where his mom and dad still live. And as we leave, we fall into the lyrical notes of the voice of the man giving us directions and sigh deeply into the sensual textures of his words. His Irish accent lures me into remembering the stories of a distant green island where my roots run deep into the earth of my father’s Irish ancestors.

An then, we join 30,000 people, mostly women, to hear a woman share the stories of her journey out of the poverty of rural Mississippi onto a global stage where her story of the redemptive power of forgiveness and gratitude reigns supreme.

Oprah rocked the house last night. She moved about the stage, sharing stories, sharing laughs, connecting. The dots and so much more. Connecting hearts and igniting minds to the majesty, the wonder, the amazing grace of being alive.

Who are you? she asked and my answer was right there. I’ve known it for some time now. I’ve felt its call rising within me, stirring me up, igniting my passion to be present, alive and inspired in this moment right now.

I am the divine expression of God’s amazing grace.

And in that answer I will do as Oprah suggests. I will live my truth with every breath, with every act, word, thought. I will be who I am with all my heart.


Let’s be purposeful.

Ellie recognizes him from afar. She begins to tug on her leash and whine in anticipation. She’s a strong girl Ellie, even though she’s getting on in years. She’s strong and pulls on the leash, pleading with me to go faster.

When we reach him, he is smiling. Laughing and just as eager as Ellie to connect.

Ellie does her dance of “Oh thank goodness. Finally, someone to pay attention to me. You know she beats me. She keeps me locked in a dark room all by myself. She never feeds me (that one’s a little harder to belief given her bulk — though all of it is hard to believe come to think of it. She’s far too friendly and welcoming to be as hard done by as the picture she likes to pain to strangers.)

Except, this man is no longer really a stranger. We’ve passed eachother on the walk for many months. Though, we’ve missed seeing him and his wife for the past two or three months. He mentions it.

“We thought you might have gone south,” he says as he rubs Ellie’s ears. “Or perhaps something had happened to the old girl.”

And I told him how I’d re-jigged my walking time now that I’m working from home. We laughed and chatted and parted ways and I was reminded again how simple it is to make a difference when we walk through the world conscious of the fact, We are All Connected.

Connecting with this man, his wife wasn’t feeling well yesterday, and spending just a few moments sharing little tidbits of our lives, lightened both our days. We parted, our smiles big and the world looked less lonely, less intimidating.

On my drive home, I passed a woman pushing a baby in her stroller. She passed a plastic bag trapped against the trunk of a tree, stopped, picked it up and stuffed it into the bottom of her stroller.

I saw a young man helping an older woman navigate the curb with her shopping cart.

And I smiled again.

What an amazing world we live in. Sure, there turbulence and strife also abound in this great big world of ours, but, there is also beauty. Imagine what kind of world it would be if today, each of us chose to do one thing that made a difference.

Smile at a stranger. Pick up garbage we spy on the sidewalk, help a stranger.

Just imagine what a ripple of change we would create.

Why not try it? Purposefully step out into your day and chose to do one small thing to make a difference. Something you don’t normally do. And, if you spy someone else making a difference, make sure you acknowledge them and the difference they made. I promise you. You’ll be making a big difference in the world today!

The difference when I stop, look and listen

I am standing by the Navel Orange bin, focused on picking just the right ones when I feel someone watching me. I look up and see a man, walking towards me, his eyes focused intently on my face. I recognize him as he approaches. Smile and give him a wave.

“I know you,” he says, the rubber stopper on the bottom of his multi-coloured metallic cane making a soft thump as he plants himself in beside me. “Why do I know you?”

I know him from the homeless shelter where I used to work.

In a public place like a grocery store, it’s not always caring of the other to tell them that.

“I was the spokesperson for the DI (the street name for the shelter where I used to work),” I tell him. “I was on television a lot. Maybe you recognize my face from there?”

He gives his head a quick shake from side to side. Then nods it up and down. “Yeah. That’s why I remember you. You were one of the nice ones.” He pauses, lifts his cane and thumps it on the ground. Not loudly. Just a gentle statement of fact to punctuate his words. “I didn’t like it there. Who could? Full of drunks and drug addicts. And the staff…”

He looks away.

“Glad I’m out of there now.” He finishes his statement and looks me in the eyes. “I’m gone you know.”

“So am I,” I tell him. “How are you doing?”

And he rushes into a story about an accident that broke his hip. A two month hospital stay. A landlord who ripped him off and a host of other sad events that have brought him down.

And  I listen. It is all I do. Listen. Deeply.

It is what he needs. Someone to listen to him. To give him space to give voice to his pain, his fears, his sorrow. And, his possibilities.

“I worked construction you know,” he tells me. “That’s over with now. But I can cook. Got a friend who’s got a friend who owns a restaurant that’s just opening up. Gonna go submit my resume. You could come visit if you want.” And he gives me the approximate location of the restaurant. “I can’t remember the name. But I’m sure you can’t miss it. It’s the pub right beside the gas station.”

I tell him that I’ll definitely drop by sometime over the next few weeks. Check if he got the job. See how he’s doing.

“What I really need is better housing,” he says. “Someplace where I’m not sharing space with others. I talked to Calgary Housing but their wait list is too long.”

“Have you spoken to the Homeless Foundation?” I ask.

“What’s that?”

And I explain about their housing programs and find a piece of paper and write down their number and pass it to him.

He’s excited. Another path to explore. Another possibility opening up.

And we part and I am grateful for our encounter. He has reminded me of the importance of seeing people. Of honouring the human being through creating space for story-telling to happen, of listening to the stories that are shared with an open mind and loving heart and a belief in the sacredness of the truths that are revealed when we take time to see and listen to the story-tellers.

Thank you John. You made a difference yesterday by giving me the gift of listening on purpose.