Playing My Part

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Hello again, friends! Feels good to be back…  3 weeks since my last post of the Blogging A to Z Challenge, holy cow!  At the end I thought, ‘Hey, I can do this!  One post a week, no sweat!’  …And then crickets…  How Fascinating!

Though I have not posted in three weeks, I have written like mad, mostly journaling. Today I suddenly realized how much I have missed corresponding with my friends on paper.  How long it’s been since I wrote by hand to someone other than myself!  As I sat this afternoon and wrote, on stationery, with colored gel pens and stickers, to some of my best friends, a tremendous sense of connection and gratitude filled me.  Much of this post was born of those spontaneous letters to my fellow conscious, cosmic journeyers.

Given the awesome support network with which I am blessed, I feel an impulse to do something more with my writing—to amplify and project all this love and connection back out onto the world for some positive purpose.  But how can my words possibly make a difference?

The A to Z Challenge showed me that I have the capacity to write often and much—and to produce better-than-crap results! It also taught me that I can take more risks with my writing, in both format and content.  Now I want to take my writing a little more seriously, lend more credence to my own abilities.  In the framework of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, I know my Why: to cultivate positive and constructive relationships in every realm of life.  This blog is another What to my Why.  But since the Challenge ended, I struggle with the How.

I think night and day about so many things:

  • My own individual relationships—spousal, parental, sibling, other familial; colleague, patient, student, friend, stranger.
  • Relationships I observe between others, and their impact on those of us around them.
  • Healthcare and medicine in general, and specifically at my own institution—miracles, bureaucracies, opportunities and pitfalls.
  • Leadership and organizational culture—examples of effective and ineffective models, and what makes them so.
  • Social justice and discourse—with an urge for movement toward acceptance, inclusion, mutual understanding, and cooperation.
  • Education, parenting and role modeling—integrity, walking my talk, inside and out.
  • Physician self-care and care of one another—individual and system issues, and their interface.

What am I called to affect? I live a conscious life in all these realms, or at least I try.  I have opinions and positions on various issues, some which I hold with deep conviction.  And I struggle with whether and how to express them—for what purpose?

Finally, I have an idea. Though I have opinions and positions that I hold strongly, I plan NOT to use this blog to promote those views.  There are plenty of people doing that already, a multitude of voices trying to win one another over, or, more precisely, trying to drive one another into silence with ever louder, brasher, and more vociferous language.  My voice can be one of moderation—of collaboration, connection—maybe a bridge for a few who seek one…  Or maybe just one stilt among many others, helping to hold up one such bridge.  I will strive not to criticize or proselytize, not to berate, blame, shame, incite, or inflame; and also not to concede or abstain.  I can, at the same time, hold my positions with conviction and passion, and also listen for the convictions and passions of others.  I can practice curiosity and openness.  I can question, explore, Hold the Space, and stand strong and tall, without feeling threatened.  I seek others who strive to do the same.

Voices of moderation are muted these days. The great orchestra of discourse has lost balance and harmony.  The most strident strings, horns, and drums play for their own promotion, rather than as a contribution to a symphonic collective.  The resulting dissonance makes us want to cover our ears and run away.  In order for a symphony to engage and inspire, each player must not only know her own part and play it well, but also listen carefully for other players and their movement.  Maybe we can all do this a little better: maintain our own distinct voices, while integrating with those around us.  The best orchestra functions as one entity, breathing and moving in a quintessentially integrated fashion.

My instrument is language. The past seven weeks have shown me my part in the online verbal orchestra.  This blog is where I will practice, record, and offer my contribution, not to overpower any others’ words, but to meet, align, and resonate.  The harmony of consonant contrast plays on, somewhere.  Maybe I can help find and amplify it, so more of us may enjoy the music of life among one another.

16 thoughts on “Playing My Part

  1. Wow still waters run deep!!! Great blog, i’ve often thought in pieces of identity, but you speak of most all the places of our connection and responsibility to self and other. You give us a chance to feel gratitude to all of our connections and support systems and the permission to speak about issues we’re passionate about but may have a different opinion than the person we are speaking with. To hold the space while we hold ourselves and others all at the same time. That takes a lot of strength, and stability and gives us so much more mobility. Thank you Cathy, you’re amazing!!!

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  2. Once again the cosmos reminds us of the wonders of friendship. We have independently & simultaneously chosen to re-emerge from self-imposed breaks & post again! And we have both been propelled by recent events toward strengthening the vision of our blogs and the power of our own writing! When I read your words, I am reminded by what has become one of my own “secrets of adulthood” (to borrow a phrase from Gretchen Rubin), that you will never find those hidden avenues that call to you until you begin walking in a direction. Merely studying the map won’t do; it is the process of figuring it out that becomes the journey (I’m still working out the words).

    And yes, what you’ve described here is a wonderful and perfect part for you, Cathy! I feel your energy & enthusiasm and am happy for you & you also lend inspiration to me as well. Mary Lou shared a poem recently on her blog (https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/2016/05/18/me-in-the-middle-of-life/) with this line: “I choose to risk my significance”. Before you can risk it, you must find it (that process I was clumsily trying to explain). Now that you’ve articulated your significance, push it to its limits!!

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    • Hi Nancy!
      So nice to see you here again, I have missed you and your writing so much!
      Thank you for this comment–you may never know how much it encourages me… Sometimes we do need to reiterate why we’re here and what the hell we’re doing, huh?
      “I choose to risk my significance…” Hmmmm… I read the whole poem–powerful, I say. …Risk is definitely the right word… Still not sure where it’ll take me, and totally excited for the journey! Thanks for walking alongside! 😀 xoxo

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    • Thank you, Sandy Sue! I think you are right… And I also feel a metamorphosis of sorts coming on, still not sure what the new form will look like–same organism, same DNA, distinct markings… maybe a few new body parts, functions, and skills? Maybe a wider range of travel? Who knows, and kinda cool to contemplate! 😀

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  3. Cathy, so many powerful thoughts, ideas, and intentions in this post! Your voice—and others like it—are so important as we are bombarded by other voices of discord, anger, and even hate. I love the metaphor of the symphony, and how we must not only play our own instrument, but also listen and harmonize with the other players. I think you’ve also described a lot of people connected through this blogging community—people who are thoughtful, considerate, passionate, kind (of course!), and playful. Though these voices are softer and less strident, they are inspiring in their persistence and authenticity.

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    • Donna, yes, YES!! Those voices do abound here, don’t they? OH, thank you for pointing that out… We just have to keep playing, I think–the music in our hearts, that we know also resides in the hearts of others. These resonant waves can break through the barriers of fear, anger, and hate–they always do–eventually! ;D Thank you for your encouragement! 🙂

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  4. Bravo Catherine! I, too, was on a bit of a hiatus. We’re back! And sooo in the same orchestra! Although I curse sometimes, while you keep it a little more PG and you have a larger vocabulary that I aspire to. Sending you love miss lady! 💖 I may be asking you for an interview on an internet radioshow I’m part of in the next couple weeks 😉
    ~Kristina

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  5. Sounds like a great plan. I’ve avoided “hot topics” on my blog as well.

    I think it’s really cool that you’re still hand writing letters to friends. Although I am a gregarious soul, I’ve always failed at letter writing. My blog has become a place where I communicate and share with others. I’ve made a lot of real friends that way!

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  6. Pingback: Summer Series 2016: Holding the Space | Healing Through Connection

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