Do you love your country?
I do. But so often I also find myself shaking my head. And making amends.
As an American girl, born and raised in a steel mill town in Western Pennsylvania, I strive to love my country, but maybe not in the way that some people would think.
And I do have gratitude for the blessings it affords… but with a whole bunch of caveats that keep me on my toes every single day.
The thing about our country is that we’re built on the old-paradigm kind of freedom –
- Where freedom for some has also nested inside of oppression for others.
- Where our greatness has been dependent upon somebody else falling, suffering, giving too much or even being used.
- And sadly, where rather than celebrating whole-heartedly with each other, we find that our joy also has a cost.
Inside of this kind of freedom, it’s easy to judge.
To stand on one or the other side of a divide and shake our heads, or shake our fingers.
A friend recently shared this patriotic music video, and it brought up a host of feelings. What do we stand for? What are we doing this for? And who?
It can be hard to find a win-win inside of this kind of freedom. But I’m not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I still believe – and still fight for (not against) – our freedom every single day.
And in that fight, I’ve been honored to experience small but earth-shattering examples of what I think a new-paradigm freedom could entail.
For example, over the past six months I’ve been blessed to have:
- Spent a few days in the home of a man, a friend and teacher, who hopes to someday run for president, whose values and more conservative than mine
- Sat in a plant medicine ceremony, where Jewish man and a Muslim man both sang hymns from their religions, cried, and came together in a giant embrace
- Held healing space for a friend in an embodiment training who travels around his home country of Ethiopia to gather leaders of tribes to practice martial arts, leadership and peace
- Sat in the presence of indigenous elders from Peru, Hawaii, and Brazil and listened to their stories of how they’d lost and fought to recover their culture, their spirit and their way
- Led a transformational workshop with a man who saw me as racist and experienced harm as a result of my actions, but was willing to show up and facilitate with me anyway
- Broken bread and celebrated spiritual growth with a woman who voted a man into office with whom many of my own beliefs are diametrically opposed
- Supported an Iranian wine maker to reclaim her birthright and her heritage while grappling with sexism and racism in the wine industry
- Run a 12 month-course where a conservative Christian woman, a liberal politicized Muslim woman and an agnostic Chinese woman were able to feel safe enough to learn together
- Hosted a retreat where twelve women of all ages, from ten different ethnic and religious backgrounds danced together, held hands, and designed impactful empowerment rituals for one another…
I’m not sharing to muse or to brag, but instead to offer some concrete examples of what’s possible when we decide that it’s worth it to bend a little, for the sake of our bigger why.
You see the spirit of Guts and Grace is about dissolving polarization.
NOT letting go of difference. But at least acknowledging that, like the white eye in the black swirl of the yang, there is a little bit of each other in each of us.
Guts & Grace is about learning and embracing both sides of a conversation, for the sake of becoming stewards of the bigger picture. And acknowledging that no matter how much we love our own point of view, too much of anything (especially with absolute certainty) is often not a good thing.
Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a project – in the form of a live event in October – that brings all of this work together to create some bigger ripples.
I will be sharing more about it over the next few months.
You see, while these kinds of conversations and shifts in perspective aren’t easy, I believe that they’re absolutely necessary at this time.
In fact, I’m not sure if we’re going to make it as a species unless we learn to have them.
But that’s just me.
If you think our world, our companies, our innovation, and our society would benefit from more of this type of learning, I invite you to stay tuned in