Welcome to Living Your Intention!
On Thursday, November 24, each of us, in very personal ways, will reflect on that for which we are thankful. While every day of the year offers the opportunity to give thanks, the positive energy that is created when collective thoughts and voices express gratitude within a specified timeframe is especially powerful.
Among my many blessings, I feel a special gratitude for this year in which old friendships were deepened and new ones formed. New friends, like new experiences, enrich the tapestry of our lives.
It was at the home of long-time friends, that I was introduced to one of these new friends, Nancylynn McCoy. The occasion was a fund-raiser for a computer technology school in San Pedro, Guatemala.
Several years prior, we had contributed children's shoes for our friend to take to Guatemala. We learned Guatemalan children were not allowed to attend school without shoes and many of the children could not meet this minimum requirement. I will never forget the photos of the children's faces as they received their very first pair of shoes! Those beaming faces were, to me, the epitome of the joy of gratitude! The shoes were not a luxury; they represented access to the world of learning!
At the fundraiser, we had the opportunity to meet Juan Manual, founder and director of that school. Accompanying him was one of his board directors, Nancylynn. I felt an instant connection to her. I sensed a woman of great passion and compassion. Within fifteen minutes of our meeting, I invited her to write her story for Living Your Intention, which she graciously accepted. We have subsequently been corresponding and a friendship is developing.
Nancylynn's story is one that speaks to "the journey" that tugs at each of us. For some, that journey is one of self-discovery; for others, it is the journey to a new place longed dreamed of. Often, they are the same.
I remain thankful for life's abundance in all its forms, our connection to one another and celebrate another year's harvest of love for life, family, old friends and new, be they near or far away.
"Your friend is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving." - Kahlil Gibran
"The world is your nest."
The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what to hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. - Barbara Kingsolver
I am often asked why or how I decided to come to Guatemala. The curiosity is understandable. I am a 60-something woman who up and left her quiet, simple life to journey into the complete unknown, and alone. (Though, really there are many of us now. We are becoming less rare, though certainly always brave. We are finding our way by listening to a voice deep within.)
I usually try to condense my response down to a one or two minute story, and always I include the beginnings - the seeds that were planted by two friends over 30 years ago. But really, it is the story of my life - the lessons from certain "teachers" along the way, from the amazing twists and turns of my path, and a deeply buried growing awareness - that finally spurred me on.
My friend, Sybil was coming to Guatemala in the early 70's, spending time in Antigua, often with her children, learning to weave and then bringing textiles from her Mayan weaver friends back to the States to sell for them. I remember wearing my first huipil (typical Mayan woven blouse) while I carried my first child in 1977 - a gorgeous and unique maternity blouse. I deeply admired and envied Sybil's bravery then and listened carefully to her stories.
Meanwhile, before the birth of my children, I began working with a former priest in a Seattle City program for youth. Jim, who is deeply committed to social justice, graced my innocent ignorance with his passion. He left the States to join an international effort in Guatemala during their civil war, providing "witnessing" for the families who had members killed or missing. I received a few letters from Jim during this time, (long before the internet) and began to search out any news I could find about the war. Nothing. And no one else I talked to knew anything about Guatemala.
When I finally did uncover some its pieces, the story seemed unbelievable: the U.S. was involved in overthrowing (via C.I.A. covert operations) the first democratically-elected Guatemalan president, Jacobo Arbenz. President Arbenz had initiated a land reform plan to return farming land to the Mayans, and instigated other reforms that were contrary to international corporate agricultural interests. (Just last month, the current president of Guatemala issued a public apology to the family of Arbenz.)
So Sybil and Jim planted the seeds, but still, seeds need to be nurtured, and mine lay dormant. I thought it impossible for me to be of any "use" in this dangerous time as I was busy with my first child and dealing with a marriage ending. And so I became swept up in making a new life out of necessity . . . not an easy job it turns out. After a second marriage and the birth of my daughter nine years later, my path seemed like a river flowing, always moving me toward this story. By giving me the courage to hope and dream, my children were a powerful driving force that inspired me to make choices for growth and learning.
We lived for a time in a multi-cultural neighborhood in Seattle where I studied Buddhism, and returned to finish my education at the University of Washington in women's studies. There, I found answers to the puzzle of my own life in the context of race, class and sex, by studying the history and stories of women around the world. Connecting this "big picture" in my work with homeless and abused women and children in Wenatchee, Washington provided me a profound opportunity to learn from some of the most vulnerable of our society.
Also, over these years I gathered an amazing circle of friends. They became my true family, as we gave each other that rare kind of unconditional love and support to move toward being all we could be. These friends have cultivated strength I was unsure of and trust in my own voice. Even now across so many miles, and after so many years, their faith in me remains a constant presence.
As my dream job of working with a non-profit retreat center ended in 2007, (one door closing), I realized that I had an opportunity to leap (another door opening). The idea floated up from deep down, and I couldn't let it go. It was time for me to follow the long-buried dream of going to Guatemala. Looking back, I am sure I can pinpoint all the practice smaller leaps I have taken that prepared me for this big one. Still, it was terrifying. To leave my sweet community, my dream country home, my family and truly wonderful circle of friends, seemed daunting. I had a moment of doubt and panic as I was selling the house I had waited most of my life to own. As always, there was my wise, dear friend Jewel to sort things out with, and with her guidance, I embarked.
My astrological birth sign is "Cancer" - fundamentally home-loving in nature. And it is true that making nests is a deep part of my personality. I have made them in a wall tent in winter and in one-room cabins, and over time I found that this was one way my creativity found literal and metaphorical expression. (I intuited the art of Feng Shui long before I knew what it was!)
Leaving all this behind, especially this last nest, where I could have lived out my life, planting flowers and hiking the northwest mountains I so loved, was frightening. I expressed this question to Jewel: "How can I leave my beautiful nest?" Her immediate reply was "The world is your nest!" And my heart burst open with the rightness of these words. Still, even now they make me laugh out loud!
San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala
30 October 2011
NEXT: Nesting in a Mayan pueblo on Lake Atitlan
Do you have a story to share about a personal leap into the unknown?
Have you re-connected with a deferred dream, or made changes or plans that took you from your traditional nest? I'd love to hear from you!
Please email me or visit on Facebook with your thoughts!
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"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware."
- Martin Buber
Voluntourism - The Act of Giving
Nicaragua ($699 March 3-11) On this 9 day/8 night service trip, you'll stay with a host family, interact, eat, dance, laugh, and contribute your time and energy to improve their circumstances and fully experience what life is like in the region.
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Mexican Riviera Cruise ($480 includes all port fees and taxes, Jan 8-14) Long Beach, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta includes several fun days at sea aboard the CCL Splendor.
Baja Mexico Cruise (less than $280 including port fees and taxes - OR - qualifies for one of two cruises per year DreamTrips members can take for $69pp Feb 24-27) Los Angeles, Ensenada and fun day at sea aboard the CCL Inspiration.
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Thank you so much for your interest in Living Your Intention!
I welcome your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you! Please know that I am grateful for your presence.
"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
|Someone You |
An influential editor, prolific writer, champion of women's rights, promoter of child welfare, fund raiser for civic causes, author of "Mary had a Little Lamb," and the person responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday!
After a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, Hale's obsession became a reality when, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
The date was changed a couple of times until 1941 when Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday to be held on the fourth Thursday in November.
Passionate about Feng Shui
Certified in Western Feng Shui, Traditional Compass Feng Shui and Fashion Feng Shui, Hinda is a founding member and President of the Feng Shui Institute.
For residential and business consultations, speaking engagements, or customizing a workshop for your group, contact Hinda at (952) 938-0894 or email:
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Bucket List Trip Update
Simply Italy Tour 9 day/8 night Rome, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Umbria, Tuscany, Bologna $1269.99
Irish Spirit Tour 7 day/6 night Dublin, Blarney Castle, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, and Guinness Storehouse $790.99 This trip will close for bookings by December 31. Stay an extra day and be in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day!
Southern France River Cruise - 7 nights Lyon, Burgundy, Vienne, Tournon, Viviers, Arles, Avignon, Marseille$2050
Rhine River Cruise - SOLD OUT -7 nights Amsterdam, Cologne, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Black Forest, Basel less than $1900
Australia and New Zealand Cruise - 7 nights departs from Sydney $799
Alaska Inside Passage - 8 day/7 night Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria - less than $825
The purpose of this newsletter is two-fold: to share ways to incorporate the art of Feng Shui in daily life and to share travel experiences and opportunities you can access.
Each of these, in its own way, can
support mindfulness and intentionality
as we navigate life's journey.
I hope you encounter a new idea, a new resource or a new viewpoint. Perhaps some small insight will answer an unspoken question, provide a helpful tip, motivate or inspire you,
or simply give you a moment to escape from the day's demands.