My friend Kimberly said to me before the Sunday morning dance this morning, “I’ve been reading your blog and I love it. It seems to me that it’s important for your own healing.” When I pressed her for more detail about this last part, she said it was “just a feeling”.
This was a new one for me. I have known that I love the blog, that I am devoted to it, that I get tremendous satisfaction and self-expression from it, but – oriented as I am towards healing and familiar with that language – I hadn’t yet applied it to the blog. But Kimberly is one deep soul, so what she says is tough to write off.
Is not all of life for our healing? Kimberly and I share a spiritual teacher, the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, who has said, “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” I think the blog may be doing some of that. The comments I get from people – here on the blog, in emails and face-to-face – say to me that what I am writing is reaching them, is helpful, touches places that are useful for them to go…that somehow they feel connected to it and to me. I have a vision of those of us who are sharing this blog experience as a community. That community especially lights up when people write comments on the blog where everyone can see them – but is equally present when people are in their own homes, silently reading the posts and connecting with them, responding to them.
I recently went through a powerful personal growth experience called The Shine Expansive. My biggest takeaway from that three-day workshop was a personal mission statement: “I shepherd my flock.” It’s easy to see that this has been the life purpose that has followed me from my teens in the Catholic seminary, studying to be a priest. When I was an organization development management consultant at AT&T, my role felt very pastoral – I used to whimsically say that that 400 thousand person company was my flock.
So what if those of us who share the blog are one flock for me? And what if the community of people around my grocery store are another flock? It’s clear to me – if not to all of them – that the staff are a community. And it’s also clear to me that the bigger group of staff and customers are a community. What if my purpose there is to build community among staff and with customers – to help us connect with each other, to help us awaken from the illusion of our separateness? And then there are the cashiers of the world – another flock to whom I feel a calling to minister with this blog.
If I think about it that way, then there’s no question that my cashiering job – and the blog which has sprung out of it – are healing for me.