Tag Archives: authenticity

Rough: A Social Entrepreneur’s Journey

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I’ve often spoken about my journey in finding my calling. I am so fortunate to love what I do, every day.  And with that gift, I want to vigorously help others.   I am passionate about serving UniversalGiving every day, helping people connect with quality ways to give and volunteer all across the world.

I am equally passionate about helping others find something they love to do.  It lights up your life. You become the best, most sincere, intelligent, fun, and delightful person if you can engage with your calling.

People hear me speak with joy and clarity about my calling, yet they think my life to social entrepreneurship was easy.

It was the “Rough” of my life.  It was excruciating. I fought to find work I loved to greet every day.  There were some really, really low times, over many years.  In fact, I don’t like to talk about it, because I enjoy focusing on the positive.

So “Rough” is in response to many people’s request:

“Pamela, tell me what it was like. I don’t know where to start. I need encouragement.

“Can you help me?  I need to know I can make it…”

or

“Pamela,  you had it easy.  I wish I could have found my calling as you did!  You’re so lucky.”

I write this for all aspiring social entrepreneurs. Persevere in getting to know yourself and carve out your pathway.  You will find it. Even if takes years. It’s worth it.

Just as we should love who we marry, we should love what we do.  I’m still working on that first one. So for all you moms who crave meaning, and come to me dying for a purpose, I have that purpose, and I also will be grateful to find what you have too: precious family and children. We deserve both, and we can help each other.

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If you hear me speak or read my writing, I focus on the positive. It’s imperative to be a solid, move-forward-and-make-it-happen entrepreneur, and a happy person. I am grateful for all the good Life has opened up unto me, in conjunction with the human effort and striving I put forth.

But if you need to know my journey, so that you know it is possible for you, I will share. Here is where my story started. But my vision of social entrepreneurship didn’t manifest itself until 14 years later. And I am still working on my next vision of serving… stay tuned.  Team, we don’t stop growing, ever.

An Entrepreneur’s Journey

There are people who are bootstrapping on a vision. And there are people who don’t yet have a vision. Both are in a glorious battle.

One is striving to achieve and live their vision, to build a new way of doing things in the world. The other, I think, is in more pain because they haven’t yet found that calling.  At least the former, despite formidable pressures to launch, fundraise, hire the right people, (fire the others who need to be the right people elsewhere), fight legal battles, meet payroll, is in love. They like their day to day.

I can’t emphasize how important this is. If you dread each day, feel dead in your skills, and unappreciated, it starts to wear off everywhere else. It impacts your whole life.

Build towards vision, positive growth, enthusiasm every day. This is what you must do. Equally important is who you surround yourself with. You are building your future right now. No, it is not off two years from now, or 20. Your future is everything you put your thought and energy into, right now. And right now, and now, and…now.

ROUGH: Try

So you have to keep trying.

I leave four jobs in two years out of college. I am in sales for a company for one year.  I am out of work for a year. All my friends are on a track, on track: MBA, Doctor, Lawyer.  I feel embarrassed. I am from a smart school, with smart colleagues, and I don’t feel like I am living a smart life.

I pick up any jobs I can, while still trying to pursue a love-of-my-life calling.

I work for a man who wanted an executive assistant but says I don’t deserve to be paid. He says I’m too green. I work for the experience anyway.

I work as a step aerobics instructor. I am hired and pushed out as a waitress by a frustrated restaurant-owner in Venice Beach.  I always wanted to serve others, but my hands shook while I carried the plates.  I volunteer with alcoholic men in Skid Row, helping them with life skills. I interview to sell insurance. I do real estate research for an independent couple, a marketing brochure for a nonprofit. I do all I can to provide for myself and try to make it.

Still, all the while, I was learning more about our international world, understanding social entrepreneurship and helping pave the way. I studied The Economist, read about the world, prayed, cried and asked for my life to be used.  On my knees I prayed and cried for it. The drive was that strong, as was the depression in not finding it. Ask my roommate at the time – who is now UniversalGiving’s COO. She saw it all, and it was excruciating.

I see an idea.  I get inspired and do the full business plan for a Gift Basket company that would give back to nonprofits, early CSR before I know it. I sneak into a manufacturer’s conference for Gift Basket vendors of 1000 people, to find out all the suppliers of foods and gifts. I prepared inventory, storage, a marketing plan, and first customers.

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And then…

I had to give up.

It just didn’t feel right.  I just wasn’t prepared to do this on my own. I needed a partner.

I was devastated.   I had started… another non-starter in my life.

I called my Dad and let him know I was abandoning the Gift Basket business plan. What would I do next, he asked?

I thought…..I might like PR.  That’s the thing…you often just don’t know.

You have to try, and believe all the things that don’t work are gearing you exactly into what does work.  Don’t worry.  Keep going.  Keep trying.  Learn.

I tried to get into PR. I was told I didn’t have any experience. I was told I didn’t have an internship on my resume.

So I went — and got experience, for ten days. I got into Chiatt Day, and beat out college teens for an unpaid internship. After a week-plus, I put it on my resume, and was then able to get a job with a PR agency because I had ‘experience.’

I entered data for them. I was praised with the company record of stuffing the most press kits. I was so mind-tired, so exhausted by not using my mind, that I had to run up and down the stairwell to stay sane.

I went from sales, to being out of work for a year, to odd jobs, to a 10-day internship at Chiatt Day, to 8 months at a PR firm, into a Masters in broadcast journalism.  I hopped and hopped.

Then I met Peter Samuelson, and he helped change my life course. He was doing it, and he really lived.

ROUGH: Your Calling

How Do You Get There Once You Know What It Is?

Just because you have a calling doesn’t mean there is an easy way to get there.

At the age of twelve, I was struck with an early vision. In my post “To Be of Service,” I speak about witnessing poverty in Mexico with my father, and how that changed my life. It set me on a pathway to service and ultimately entrepreneurship.  However, the challenges to get there, and to understand my unique path as a social entrepreneur, were many.

I had always been very entrepreneurial. I loved to create little businesses. For some, there is a time when we move from being an entrepreneur, to being a social entrepreneur.  Peter Samuelson, film director and founder of Starlight Children’s Foundation, encapsulated that pivotal moment for me.   I first met Peter through the Leadership Institute, started by management leader Warren Bennis at USC Business School. Here’s how Peter sparked me on my path.

While the thread in my life was about helping, I was having a hard time finding an outlet. At the time, I was in graduate school, heading into broadcast journalism with the goal of changing the tenor of media news.  I wanted to see a world where we could emphasize positive developments in our world.

It’s not that we ignore the tough situations, but the murder rate is not always going up. There are places it has gone down.  Positive solutions helped get us there. Why not cover that news?

If you focus only on the negative, you’ll stay there.  Move into the new world you envision.  But news directors told me it wasn’t possible. “We operate off of eye candy, what will bring the most viewers. What you’re proposing doesn’t drive eyeballs, Pamela.”

So I was feeling blocked again. Four “careers” in four years. Now what do I do?

Peter got up and spoke about “entrepreneurial philanthropy” or “social entrepreneurship.”  “We need to make a difference in a strategic, business-like way, while serving our communities!” he proclaimed.  He essentially galvanized us with his relentless passion. I’ve never seen anyone speak like that.

My heart dropped. Tears filled my eyes. At that point I was going through my mid-life crisis at age 25. And in an instant, I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a social entrepreneur. Peter brought my vision of how I wanted to serve – with compassion and business principles – to life.

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The relief, the joy, the glory…to know… that I was made to be a social entrepreneur.

I left the Leadership Conference and ran to a payphone (yes, a payphone) and called my Dad, “Dad, Dad, I know what I want to do!” I excitedly explained. He listened with joy and support as he always does.  “That’s great, honey!  And…how…do you get paid?”

Rough.

Social entrepreneurship was not a developed concept — let alone a field. There were NO:

social entrepreneurship blogs or books

social entrepreneurship job listings

social entrepreneurship events, certificates, programs, classes…

or  degrees….

or conferences.

Or thought leaders.  Or experienced social entrepreneurs, proven track records, or just any example.

Now try explaining to everyone you want to be a social entrepreneur.

“You mean a social worker?”

“What’s a social engineer?”

“Oh cool!  Wait, what do they do?”

“Oh… well, good luck with that.”

It was lonely.

What was the next step?

While still excruciating, that year I found the right people and the right idea. VolunteerMatch came into being. It was a ‘lucky’ confluence of the Web (I love scale), do-gooderism, and providing a solution to people finding quick, accessible efficient ways to volunteer. Even then, it still wasn’t my full calling, because it wasn’t global. While grateful, I had more work to do to find my true purpose.

So while I was struck with a wonderful devotion in life, it took years to manifest it. Four to reach VolunteerMatch. And then for my true calling, international, through UniversalGivingthat would take ten.

Ten years.

What you have to remember is, every passionless dead-end is still a precious part of your process.

You must commit to serving and helping others in your current situation, even when you don’t want to be there.

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In so doing, you commit to good values and build your strength. You also meet helpful people. You meet people you can help.

You learn many valuable skills. In my case, sales, PR, broadcast communications, international on the side.  All of those experiences came back into play in my effective governing of UniversalGiving.

This fight to find what I love to do, enabled me to go through my midlife crisis 25 years earlier than most. I am clear, pure and passionate about what I do and the meaning in my life. It has led me to fight for others, so they can have this too.  I am almost equally passionate about UniversalGiving, as I am about helping people find their pathway in life.

I wake up in love to live each day.  I know what it means to me, and I don’t take it for granted. Every day I get to help others, with my heart and with my mind, for the community and in business. That is what I get to do with a wonderful team. Every day.

So my efforts to serve certainly started with poverty, but now extend into striving to be a great social entrepreneurship leader; and to be available for anyone who would like to talk about their pathway. I hope to serve not just my industry and global social entrepreneurship, but also the entering leaders, to help them.  One of the greatest joys has not just been being a social entrepreneur, but also helping pave for others, for our social entrepreneurship industry.

ROUGH: Continue Giving

In my final notes to all of you who wish so sincerely for this meaning…

Please, don’t give up.

DO NOT give up.

The joy you will find is lovely, fruitful, fulfilling. It is life-giving to yourself and others. It will build you in ways you will never imagine, and bring the right people into your life. And it might be much simpler for you. If so, cherish it.  We all receive our challenges in life, in different ways.

Mine wasn’t an easy journey, but it was filled with joy despite the challenges. Making it big is not about money.  I am “wealthy” because of the joy-filled, purposeful life that I lead. I am alive, not just because I breathe. I am alive because I truly live.  I hope I can help others become “rich,” too.

From Rough to Joy.

Dear reader, I hope this helped you. It wasn’t easy for me to write, but I did it.

Love, Pamela

The Classic Pamela Positive: “A Selfless Person Is More Concerned About the Happiness of Another…”

 

“A selfless person is one who is more concerned about the happiness and well-being of another than about his or her own convenience or comfort, one who is willing to serve another when it is neither sought for nor appreciated, or one who is willing to serve even those whom he or she dislikes.

A selfless person displays a willingness to sacrifice, a willingness to purge from his or her mind and heart personal wants, and needs, and feelings. Instead of reaching for and requiring praise and recognition for himself, or gratification of his or her own wants, the selfless person will meet these very human needs for others. ”

–H. Burke Peterson

 

 

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What a great lesson to learn today, team Living and Giving. You need
to think about how you can think about others. 

We all have a tendency to think about our lives, our pathway, our job,
our marriage, our date, our dog, our, our, OUR!

Get off yourself and on to serving others.   You will feel an
indescribable joy, and, relief!  Life is not just about you. Start
living… for others.

I love you,
Pamela


 

 

H. Burke Peterson was an authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the author of “A Glimpse of Glory”. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. In World War II, he fought with the American Navy in the Pacific theatre.  After the war, he attended the University of Arizona and went on to receive his masters at the Utah State Agricultural College. Throughout his time serving in the church, he was published in The Ensign of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the official periodical of the Church, numerous times He was married to Brookie Carden in 1947, and they had five daughters.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Be Clear About What Is Truly Essential”

 

Marine corps officer Robert J. Wicks shares with us some important lessons on life and nature.

Rather than read, he encourages us to reflect.  If we face a challenge, we can act not from anger but from joy and grounded peace.

 

 

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From his book, Streams of Contentment, here are three tips on living a natural, and successful life.

* Be clear about what is truly essential.

* Appreciate everything and everyone in your life right now.

* Recognize that a little silence and solitude is no small thing.

– Robert J. Wicks

When we appreciate what is important, right now, we honor life and everyone around us.

 

 


 

 

 

Robert J. Wicks is a clinical psychologist and author, interested in how spirituality and psychology are intertwined. He graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 1968, with a B.A. in psychology and philosophy. He later went on to receive his PhD in psychology from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, now known as Drexel University Medical College. Wicks has taught at a number of universities, given commencement speeches, and presented to Congress. In the 1990s, he worked with relief workers, who were working in Rwanda during the civil war. He has also worked with professionals who support Iraqi and Afghan war veterans in the early 2000s. Throughout his career, he has published over 40 books inspired by his studies into psychology and spirituality. Wicks has received a number of awards including the The Humanitarian Award Association for Spiritual, Ethical, Religious and Value Issues in Counseling American Counseling Association. He has been married to his wife, Michaele Barry Wicks, for over 40 years and they have one daughter together.

 

 

 

The Classic Pamela Positive: Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

 

This is Part Two of a Two-Part series on the Bayan tree. You can read Part One here.

 

 

It is interesting how in America and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms. Chairs are uniformly around the table. The walls are usually plastered with notices about the companys achievements. Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done.”Gosh darn it,” I can hear the executives say, “in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business, and ‘make it happen.’

 

 

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Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree? This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

 

 

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Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation?Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather more so) solutions? Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

 

 

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Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact. We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter. 

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree. A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

 

 


 

 

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, banyameans merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself. The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive – I Love What Howard Zinn Writes: Hope Is Not Certainty… But Being Open to Possibilities…

 

I love how Howard Zinn focuses on maintaining the human spirit. Throughout his life dedication to combatting injustice, striving to help those marginalized, and being involved in a brutal World War, Howard held his views of hope.

 

 

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“…I intend to be the voice of reasonable optimism, to figure out a passage through this tough time. To have hope, one does not need certainty, only possibility.”

 

Let’s keep our minds open to the great possibilities which abound before us. There is always a way, a pathway, a new opportunity, a new possibility. A New Hope!

 

 


 

 

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, author and activist.  He was a pilot in WWII, an experience which shaped his outspoken opposition of war.  He was a professor of political science for many years at Boston University as well as Spelman College.  He is best known for his book, A People’s History of the United States, presenting history from the point of the view of the marginalized

 

 

The Classic Pamela Positive: What Motivates?

 

I had an hour and a half long conversation with a Dukie the other day, who pushed me to answer new questions! I love those conversations as they are so real and help us become better people, teachers, and learners.

Sinclair’s question was,

 

“You have a certain energy that inspires and drives people to action. How do you cultivate it, and how do you maintain it?”

 

 

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I don’t think there’s any surefire answer here. But here’s what I said:

“Dear Sinclair,

What a lovely question to ask, and one that is important for all of us. First, I will say that I find you equally motivating. It’s just that we have different personalities. For example, I might be more enthusiastically inspired, but you are more quietly and grounded inspired. Thus we are drawn together, as I might bring a higher energy and you bring a special stillness. Does that make sense?”

Sinclair, there are many different types of leadership. Just because someone seems more extroverted and external with it, doesn’t mean that’s the only type of leadership. Leadership can be about quietness, about listening, and even about knowing when to pause. To be a great leader, you need to master all communication skills, which include when to speak, how to speak, what the tone is, and when not to speak. It also includes body language, and most importantly, it includes your inner values and soul.

“So how then do you stay authentic with who you are?”

The words authenticity and transparency comes up a lot these days, and I appreciate it. As we become more oriented around machines, computers, iPads, phones, and the social media explosion of Vine, no Vine, Instagram, Snapchat—it disappears, Pinterest—Facebook—Twitter—former Friendster; it becomes very confusing. Our identities need to be aligned. So here’s what I do, and it’s a constant quest every day. Leadership isn’t something you attain and let go. Leadership is something you believe in, live, and maintain. That’s what makes life so exciting!

Remember these tips are only from me. You might find that other people have a different view. In order to stay authentic, I keep my priorities very clear. I know that my life calling is to be the best Pamela Hawley I can be, not just to deliver the best UniversalGiving. Therefore, I have to take a higher view than just my profession, my job, or even a calling. Even with a calling, you still have to put your identity and your values first. So how do I do that? First, you need to know that UniversalGiving comes third in my life. Yes, that’s right. As much as I love it, as much as it is my calling and not a job, it comes third in my life. So I’m going to be pretty naked here, and let you know how my life works.

 

 

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Priorities:

#1. God, Love, and/or Nature

I believe in a governing force of good for our universe. That means our universe is run based on certain principles that are loving, kind, and filled with integrity. Some people call that God, some people call it Love (it’s not just human love), and some people may relate to it as nature. The point is that there is a law of options going on in the universe that allows for the greatest good to occur. It’s our job to hook into it, work with it, and accelerate as much good as we can in our lifetimes. That will then pass onto others and reflect the true goodness that exists in this universe.

 

 

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Our foundation of the world and ourselves is based on goodness, and we need to pay more attention to that, rather than all of the nuisances, annoyances, negative suggestions, negative thoughts, and challenging interactions we have with personalities. You can make that a huge part of reality or you can go back to your view of a loving universe, and make that your focus. So you have to train your mind and heart, in God or Love, every day, every moment.

 

#2. Family (…and Friends)

Family is absolutely essential. It’s where we attain a sense of peace, grounding, and comfort. I know for myself, I grew up with a mom who baked me chocolate chip cookies, sat with me after school in second grade, and listened to me. We did workbooks together, we talked about life, and I felt she was always there for me. To this day, if I call her, ninety percent of the time she picks up the phone; she’s present. She’s family, and she’s my grounding, as are many other members of my family.

 

 

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Family extends into many areas. For example, with my nephews and nieces, I was fortunate enough to take care of them many Saturday nights when they were growing up. I got them at the “meltdown” phase at around 3 o’clock and spent the night. I learned a lot! I bonded with them in ways I cannot even imagine. Today? I just called Connor, my 17-year-old nephew, to congratulate him on his soccer game. Maybe not so many teenagers would pick up their aunt’s call, but he does, and we have a conversation even if he’s in the middle of building a creative project for school. We just have that connection.

I really don’t see the point in life of being this major “success” if you don’t have that family to share it with. A family to inspire you, a family that you inspire. And with that, there’s a sense of peace. You know where you come from, you know what your values are, and when the world gets too heavy, you can go home to that values, whether that’s in a physical structure, or in your heart. It’s irreplaceable.

 

 

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Equally important are friends. Those friends are absolutely a part of your family network. I have friends with whom I have standing weekly or monthly meetings. For example, my “second moms” are women who were a very important part of my life growing up. I have monthly or quarterly lunches set up with them. I don’t want to take them for granted and just see them at the holiday party. I want to know how they are, hear how they are, and support them as they have supported me. It’s a true, ongoing relationship rather than a once-a-year fond remembrance.

 

 

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#3. UniversalGiving

I don’t have a job—I have a calling! Every day I get up, I love what I do. I love being a social entrepreneur, and I love serving the world. I love volunteering, and I love helping scale the fact that thousands of other people can volunteer. So for me, it’s just a constant flow of doing good for the world, and helping my team do that, as well as reach their best. In summary, UniversalGiving helps people donate and volunteer in hundreds of countries across the world.

 

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Within that, I also rope in my volunteer events. I’m a consistent volunteer at City Impact, helping in the Tenderloin with everything from passing out food, doing apartment visits, to preparing Thanksgiving meals. I’m also a C.A.S.A., a Court-Appointed Special Advocate, which is a legal advocate for foster care youth who are often on the street. You work with them on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis to make sure they have food, housing, a listening ear, eyeglasses, job training, and whatever they might need. Many of them have had little or no training or modeling their entire life, so a lot of what you do also works on just helping them with social skills, and teaching them how to survive in the world.

 

#4. Improv

How I love improv! And you might think, “Well, how does this tie into the rest?” Improv is an incredible joy. It allows you to connect with your fellow actors on stage, and to be a true partner.

 

 

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It requires great creativity and quick thinking. It equally requires great listening and taking the back seat. It’s about sharing.

It’s about building. It’s about creating a scene from nothing. And in order to do that, you have to have absolute trust with your partner.

And isn’t that what life is? Sometimes you have to respond immediately, you always have to listen, and you need to be a great friend or partner in life—whether that’s in business, a marriage, or a friendship. So it actually synergizes. But even if it doesn’t, it’s so much fun! You should have things like that in your life, that seem opposite to everything else you do. As my oma, one of the greatest flutists in our generation, and the first woman at Juilliard for flute said, “You need to get out there and kick up your heels once in awhile!” She was an extremely hard-worker and helped support her family during the depression. Her point was, get out there and dance. Get out there and have fun. Work hard and yet, live a little.

 

 

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So, Sinclair, I’m not sure this fully answered your question, but this is how I try to maintain my true self and identity in life. Thank you for asking such an important question, and I hope this helps you in your journey!

 

The Classic Pamela Positive: Love: Vulnerability Balanced with Courage

 

 “I have learned about love. Love should be easy, free in connection; work, wonderfully so, as in investment; vulnerability balanced with courage, and always undergirded with trust. It should be grace, graced and grateful. It should uplift you.”

 

 

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Love – we feel it, we know it, we believe in it. And I think it truly is indispensable.. we can’t live without it. As we peel away the layers of love… one I’d like to cover today is:

 

Vulnerability Balanced with Courage.

 

Love isn’t always easy for we must be open.  Are you willing to love even if you are hurt?

 

Because a relationship didn’t work the way you’d prefer… or a church committee member spoke harshly to you… your idea got shot down at work or a precious pet ascended to heaven…

 

I know… it hurts… of course it does…

 

So be gentle with yourself, first.

 

But dear leader – we have to have the courage to soften our hearts, stay receptive, and be open to love at all times.  And yes, that is at home and work.

 

 

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This allows us to give the most to the world, and to ourselves.

 

Yes, at all times.

 

I know that might be hard to hear… Hang in there…

So there may be something that shut you down recently. Well, it’s time to unshutter the door and open back up. Take your heart out of the basement, or release your self-imposed sequestration in the attic. 🙂

 

Let’s be those loving, beautiful individuals, who deserve to receive and give love. And other people need it too!

 

Remember, to receive the benefit of love, we have to have courage.

 

“Love is Vulnerability Balanced with Courage.”

 

–Sunday, November 29th, 1998. 10:20pm.