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    Our Story in Failure

    Our Story in Failure

    We belong in a story of hope... yet there’s a very real story of division and misused power all around us.  Today I drew a Storm Journey story card to share, and it turned up this reminder that sometimes we and our systems fail.  I know that this failure can be a mercy or essential learning in disguise, but it usually feels awful— or at least really, really uncomfortable.  

    I’ve also been hearing this week about the natural and necessary decline and death of human institutions.  So I’m wondering: what are we building now that will be ready to rise up when failure makes way for change?  There’s so much to our story beyond the storms and failure!

    Together— especially in times of stress or when things fall apart— we can invest in friendships and community, create new ways of using power, collaborate around resources, invent fresh spiritual practices, and more.  In our own hearts, we can focus on what’s our part to be or do, practice whatever keeps us resilient, raise our awareness of privilege and injustice, show up for our souls, be diligent and serious about our prayers/intentions, have fun on purpose, and ask for help to find enough joy to keep going.

    I don’t at all mean to be fluffy or less angry about how we are failing and harming our neighbors, our unity, our spirits, and our planet, right now.  I mean to en-Courage myself, and all of us, to keep moving alongside our anger and panic.  I want to be and to live in ways that help us all flourish— right now, in the midst of the word as it is.  I want to stay ready and give what I can toward healing our communities and our world.

    Failure is always coming, and change is always coming.  Yet fierce love and healing creativity are always with us.  

    Let’s keep practicing. 

    If a story of hope would help to keep you going, check out the Storm Journey Story CardsIt’s a spiritual story book for all ages, made into cards in a deck that you can pass around a circle or pull out one at a time.  

    Consider ordering a deck for yourself, your clients, small group, or community to create a fresh conversation about what matters most.

    Here's the booklet page that goes with the 'Fail' card, and a picture of the deck set: 



    Time to Practice Calm Again

    Time to Practice Calm Again

    It's time for me to practice calm again. 

    I always feel a bit lost after the holiday rush, and this has been a rough year for so many of us.  So I want to slow down, feel my feet and my heart, and make some good prayers and intentions for this new decade. 

    To start, I want to be more fully present, in my body in the moment.  I got the hint when the big X in the sky today said, “You are here.”

    Maybe you want to practice calm too, even in feeling-lost moments?  Peace to us all when we have the courage to slow down.  And may we be curious about our feelings of loss or grief.

    Blessings for 2020.  --Melanie


    See more about the Storm Journey Story Card decks.

    My Gratitude Goes a Little Deeper This Year

    My Gratitude Goes a Little Deeper This Year

    Gratitude notices what I hold dear, and asks me to wonder why.
    Gratitude considers what I think I lack, and shows me life's gifts more clearly.
    Gratitude receives my life exactly as it is, and knows that all of it is worthy treasure.
    With a Thanksgiving blessing for every one of us,

    I Don't Want to Write About Surrender

    I Don't Want to Write About Surrender

    I give up.  

    I just spent 2 hours writing a lovely blog post about Guidance, following the leadings of our souls.  I talked about the Quakers teaching me at age 13 that I could hear the voice of God, and how I believed them.  But then I added a metaphor from my new project, Storm Journey Story Cards, about letting go of control when we are guided or sent by Love or the Spirit... how our preferences and panics get to fade back as we more deeply say "Yes." 

    I hoped it was a sweet little article that might be helpful.  I always want so badly to be helpful, not sound stupid or schmaltzy.  As I went to save the post, I must have swiped the wrong way on the laptop trackpad-- poof.  Gone.  Seriously, after the shock, brainstorming, and clicking the same thing 12 times, my lovely post was still gone.

    My wife, Hol, left a respectful bit of silence and then said, "Well, maybe you could write about losing your blog post."

    But I didn't want to write about surrender.  I'm typing this at 11:58pm, not wanting to write about surrender.


    Admittedly, smack in the middle of the Storm Journey story is the Surrender card.  And actually, that's one of the key turning points where the impossible opens up.  

    [I just clicked the SAVE button for the third time so far writing this-- I don't like surrender.  Or pivot moments.  I like control.]


    I've had the hardest time editing the conversation questions for the guide booklet page on that Surrender card!  Of course I'm trying too hard... surrender is hard there too.  And of course I can't possibly find the perfect question to make room for someone to be vulnerable and honest about that deepest dark moment of an anguish of admitting the plan is gone.  And maybe the hope is gone.  That lovely article is gone, my wife's health, or your future as you knew it, or your trust in government, or the house you grew up in, gone.

    Then what?

    I hate typing this because truth bugs me when I'm still upset about that lovely article, and cancer, and climate change: 

    Then what?  What's next is Surrender, the real kind.  Bare truth "I can't fix this anymore," "I'm lost and scared," "I can't possibly start over" kind.  The kind that's deeper than my words can go right now, but maybe you know what it is to lose this much-- that kind of surrender.



    A couple of months ago I was completely lost, bereft of clarity or energy.  I couldn't for the life of me hear the Guidance about what project was next, and I was scared.  I went out to a special place to pray because I was angry and frightened and other times I'd had found better luck listening out there among the ancient rocks.  But nothing came.  And more nothing.  Ok, plenty of anguish and a little bit of Sacred Presence, but the Guidance was gone.  

    In frustration, I gave up.  Seriously, I decided to go home, to quit listening since it was gone.  I even got dramatic and waved the yellow towel I was sitting on like it was a white flag.



    I swear it, that Surrender art flew right in and I got it-- all in a flash-- 

    Giving up put me smack in the middle of a story of hope.  

    Suddenly, I belonged again, in the very center of the Storm Journey vision I'd been given 9 years before, where real Surrender turns out to be a doorway to Insight.  I wasn't actually lost or abandoned once I surrendered to the truth that I couldn't find my own way.  Then I was open.

    [Oh dang it, I'm crying as I type.  Why doesn't God want to remember that I like control and not this much vulnerability?!]

    Right.  Open.

    The message flew in easily then, the Guidance was clear.  I hope it doesn't sound cheesy, but it was time to reprint Storm Journey.  

    On my drive home, I understood another layer of why Storm Journey wants to be out in the world again.  Truthful art, poetry, writing, and songs are ready to remind us that we belong in the stories of our lives.  We most especially belong in the hardest parts, where surrender is a doorway with hope on the other side.

    I'd tell you the rest of the story, but I don't want to wreck the surprise. 




    PS- If you'd like to take a chance that Storm Journey Story Cards will inspire you and spark conversation in your own heart and your community, please join the reprinting campaign and pre-order decks on Kickstarter.  I'd appreciate your help to share this spiritual tool more widely.  

    Thank you to the 114 people who have already supported the campaign-- we're 83% funded as of tonight, with 7 days to go.  THANK YOU!


    [So.  Whew.  That's not what I expected to write.  But in a fit of Guidance and  shaky faith, I'm gonna trust this and post it.  I offer my solidarity with whomever of you are in your own Surrender moments.  Bless us all.]