Come Together [on Merely A Thought Monday]

My theme of life-as-a-circle is still with me. Today, this Labor Day, 2020, bubbles with portent. Unlike any Labor Day in my lifetime, this day seems to dip its toe into the cold origins of this national holiday celebrating laborers but also serves as an omen. An augury.

This holiday, so benign as we now practice it, was borne of fire and conflict. It seems our nation is only capable of learning through the violence that it inflicts upon itself. Waves of riots, years of bloodshed as laborers as young as 5, worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week, and barely eked out a living. The income gap in 2020 mirrors that of the 1890’s, America’s Gilded Age. As historian Nell Irvin Painter explains, “‘Gilded’ is not golden. ‘Gilded’ has the sense of a patina covering something else. It’s the shiny exterior and the rot underneath.” The violence in the streets, the frustration and anger, riots and protests by the common working people forced the government to act. Among other things, Labor Day came into existence. A day off.

“We’re in these cycles in which we learn and forget and learn and forget,” Painter says.

We are in the ‘forgetting’ part of the cycle. It’s Keynsian economics: a capitalist economy can only thrive with the existence of a healthy middle class. Consumption requires capable-and-able consumers. Investment crumbles when consumption stalls. We’ve been here before. We don’t need a crystal ball to see where our unsupported gig economy is taking us. On this Labor Day it is fair game to ask, “What exactly are we celebrating?”

We cycle into remembering when we need to pull together. When we start considering the interests of the whole over the few. When, as the sign says, we remember to take care of one another. During this Labor Day there is a true tell of our capacity to consider one another: a pandemic rages. The estimates top 400,000 deaths by the new year. The only force that can reduce that number is our capacity to consider one another.

Life in the forgetting sweep of the cycle: the streets are alive with riot and protest. People by the millions are losing their homes and their jobs. Desperation and division reign; panicked people rarely think straight.

Life in the remembering sweep of the cycle: people pull their energy and resources together remembering that no one can thrive in a vacuum. A united workforce is capable of reminding “the system” that it was meant to serve them and support them in a shared prosperity. Not to use their labor to benefit the few. Coming together for the betterment of all: it is the original impulse and meaning of Labor Day.

read Kerri’s blog post about LABOR DAY

Take It In [on KS Friday]

The morning air was cool and crisp. When I let Dogga out I stood by the back door and breathed in the hint of fall.

I laughed as I lingered by the back door because I had the revelation. It’s the revelation I have every year, the revelation that signals not only the change in season but a truth I wish I could hold onto throughout the year. It’s simple: life is a circle, not a line.

It’s useful, when so much of our unease is about “getting there,” about being some place other than where we are, to realize that it is not a line we walk, but a loop. Hurrying to “get there” when looping is nonsensical. Life as a cycle is much more amenable to presence-in-the-moment. It cracks the hard bark of desire and allows space for insight, gratitude, and appreciation.

Yesterday I read that this year, 2020, has been a decade long. I reminded myself, standing at the back door awash in my yearly revelation, not to wish a moment of my life away. To stand in it – all of it. This is certainly a time of disruption and the fatigue that comes with loss of balance and the comforts of the known. This IS the experience. This is life. This is what change feels like. Pattern disruption is meant to be a slap into awareness.

And, as it turns out, for me, that hint of fall in the air comes as a gentle seasonal slap. Slow down. Do not rush to get through it. This is precious life – all of it – no matter the circumstance. As Chris wrote months ago, “So, this is what it feels like to be in a pandemic.” Yes. This is what if feels like. We are in it.

It is the call of Kerri’s Millneck Fall. Stand still. Take it in.

Dogga races with great zest around the yard, protecting us from marauding squirrels. The frogs in the pond sound out, morning roll call. The smell of coffee pulls me to the kitchen. There will be plenty of time as we cycle around to make meaning of these days.

Millneck Fall on the album Blueprint For My Soul is available in iTunes

read Kerri’s blog post about MILLNECK FALLS

millneck fall/blueprint for my soul ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

Feel The Possibility

650. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am in the backseat of Lisa’s car. It is night and we are driving one of those amazing highways that knows no large city. This road is a ribbon connecting the occasional community, none with more than 10 stoplights. It’s been several miles since we passed through the last town and it will be many more miles until we see another light. My face is resting on the window because I cannot believe how many stars are visible when not obscured by the glow of a city. And I am counting my great good fortune because on this night there is a meteor shower. It looks as if stars get so excited that they have to flame and run. “There’s one!” Megan calls. “Where?” Lisa says, peering over the steering wheel. “You missed it.” I rest my face on the glass so in love with this moment and my two companions that I can barely breathe.

We pull off the road so we can gaze at the stars without worrying about driving. We stand on the edge of a fallow field, shivering in the cold winter air, necks craned to the sky. It is not lost on me that we are returning from Kansas where we attended a Launch for presenters; a workshop that, when we are old and rocking on the porch, we will look back and say, “That two days with Kevin Honeycutt changed the trajectory of my life.” And on the way home from a life changing experience called a Launch, the universe decided with great humor to coordinate with Kevin and gift us with a meteor shower. “This is what love is supposed to feel like,” I think to myself, linking arms with Megan who gasps, exclaims, “Oh My God!” and points to the latest sky streaker.

Shivering, I remember Holly from my coaching class having an epiphany, saying, “I feel possibilities. I make lists of them, all of the endless possibilities! They are visceral, like stars! It’s like, constantly discovering a new star, feeling the possibility – the gratitude extends to the possibility and the possibility extends to helping someone and the helping circles back to me! It’s a cycle. It’s an adventure and I feel it!”

“OH!” Lisa, Megan and I gasp and point at the same moment. “Did you see that one?” we chime in unison.