Committing acts of service

Last month, Ted Osler, one of the partners at Six Degrees, an audio, music recording studio here in the city, offered to record the one page story I’ve written on Joanne, a young 17 year old girl who was murdered several years ago. Joanne was in the process of leaving street life behind when she made a decision that cost her life. We are telling Joanne’s, and other stories of women murdered on the streets in the project, and My Name is… which the planning committee is currently in the throes of defining, creating, organizing.

When I went to the studio for the recording session of the story, Andrea Wettstein, the composer and voice coach we were working with, became interested in the project enough that she asked to be involved. Yesterday, she came to the meeting with me and will continue to volunteer her energy and talents towards moving it forward. Six Degrees has offered to stay involved as well as we continue to prepare for the official launch of the project this fall.

It is the selfless giving of organizations like Six Degrees, city employees like Beth and Dawn, Jody, Rebecca, Quyen in the Arts & Culture Department who go beyond the call of duty to ensure Calgary’s cultural essence continues to thrive and individuals like Andrea and Helen and Sue and Bev and Jane and all the police working with us to create the substance behind each voice in and My Name is…, that great acts of service are committed in the world, everyday.

If you volunteer, whether it be your time, talents, treasures or the resources of your organization, I invite you to take a moment today and say, ‘You’re welcome world’. Acknowledging what you do as a volunteer, honouring your contributions is as important as honouring the contributions of others. Your willingness to contribute acts of service to the world, makes a difference.

Give yourself a pat on the back today — you deserve it and the universe deserves your gifts.


A different POV

Yesterday, I chatted with a friend who is building his own website. What do you think? he asked. Please give me feedback.

I hesitated. Did he really want to hear what I thought? And then I remembered —  I am not responsible for what he does with feedback. He asked for help. I can help him with an open heart, giving my perspective without being attached to the outcome. I can lovingly allow him the grace to find where my feedback fits, or doesn’t, within his mind/being/doing. I gave him my feedback. Looking at his edits, he valued his own efforts to create ‘his best’ by hearing with an open mind suggestions from a different POV (point of view).

Yesterday I received an email from a friend whom I had invited to join me in a project I’m involved with. She wrote back to say she wasn’t comfortable with the underlying message she perceived in the materials I sent. I meditated on her feedback and realized — her feedback had great value, her words resonated. By including the broader message she suggested, the project will have greater depth, a deeper vision and will ultimately, be more healing for everyone involved. I made changes.  I appreciate the difference she made by speaking her truth with a loving heart.

Disagreement does not equal rejection.

Often, when we first hear ‘criticism’, our minds leap to defending our position. Criticism/feedback/other POVs make a difference. To find the value in other perspectives, we need to be open to receive, without giving back resistance. Sometimes feedback unsettles the status quo, shakes up our perceptions, shifting us to another POV we don’t really want to see because we’re so attached to the one we’ve got.  It is from that ‘other’ POV however,  that the difference can become a force for change. For, when we shift our perspectives, when we broaden our POV and see possibilities through eyes that are not limited by the belief, this is the only way it can be, we open up the pathways to communicating our vision, to engaging people and ideas in ways we never before imagined.

Sometimes, the difference comes in our willingness to be open to feedback without closing in on resistance.

And always, the biggest difference I can make is to turn up, pay attention, speak my truth (in love) and stay unattached to the outcome. And to listen to other’s with a loving heart.

May your day be filled with the wonder of different perspectives opening up your eyes to new possibilities.