I hope that you are astoundingly well and that this summer has been full of all the joys of summer.

Usually I try to focus on solutions – creating loving solutions, being the solution, seeing solutions. And of course being love.

Right now I don’t feel much like any of those. Things have been a bit challenging over this way on a number of fronts. And I realized as I was doing errands today that I haven’t said anything. I haven’t done the thing that I tell others to do: be vulnerable and transparent and allow people to love and support you.

I had a death in the family this summer that really took me away from work. So you haven’t heard from me and I haven’t shared any of the research I’ve been doing for you.

So I’ve spent much of the last couple of month being pretty unable to be my normal Get Sh*t Done girl. And the truth of that is, if I take my mission seriously, then I have to have compassion for myself and ask all of you to hold compassion in your hearts for me as well.

Instead of doing All The Things, I took a big step into being with my family. Some of you know that things with family haven’t traditionally been easy. But as I am ever-optimistic, I decided not to shy away from the whole big messy situation. It was very much the right thing to do. Surprisingly (for everyone, I think).

In doing my own personal growth work and upping my game to be a better teacher, mentor, coach, friend, priestess, and mom, I’ve out grown many of the patterns of conflict that used to keep me safe (and small). I showed up in new and more loving ways with intention and my family was very responsive to that. As result, I have a substantially better relationship with them now than I did just a few short months ago.

So while I have a retreat coming up, I want to actually take some time and share about my Uncle Dennis who lost his battle to cancer last month.

Uncle DennisMy uncle Dennis Parker was also my godfather. Really that was a losing battle in many ways. I am nothing if not rebellious and independent. So I left the church as a teenager to find what, for me, was deeper faith. And even though his wife was sometimes really harsh with me about that, he never was. No condemnation, so shouting, just the same guy he’d always been.

He loved his kids to the end of the world and his dogs and his wife. It’s funny that I think of his love showing up as being about his dogs. He was so demonstrative, so loving, so clear in his boundaries and focused on making sure they were well cared for. It’s a microcosm of his life and love.

There are ways that I didn’t know his kids as well as some of the other cousins because on average, they are 10 years my senior (and I have more than 80 cousins). But I admire them all. Kathy has this amazing sun-kissed beauty and grace, Mark for his leadership and Kevin for his quirky humor and passion for life. He has 7 beautiful grandkids that he loved dearly.

When I heard uncle Dennis had died, I was really surprised. He’d been one of the healthiest of my 24 aunts and uncles, always playing some sport or other. He was just consistently kind and gentle with a quiet kind of leadership that I admired from afar. He always really heard his wife out, even when she was being high-strung and demanding. And he loved all of his kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.

His faith really guided him into love for his family and his community. He was a teacher and really just a generally well-loved guy. At the funeral, over and over again people said what a loving guy he was; I was struck by how profoundly uncle Dennis being loved touched the lives of so many.

He and my grandmother have that in common – people just loved them. They gave what they had, as they were, and their lives were incredibly rich and potent. They’re both very humble people. I miss them both terribly.

There’s so much achieving and pushing that I watch in the world that focus on “what’s in it for me” that it was an amazingly re-centering to be reminded of some of the great “be”-er’s my life. I’m incredibly grateful for my time with my family and the time I’ve been able to take on my own since I’ve been back.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and I’m really grateful for all the love that has shown up in my life as the result of committing to a path of self-love and being willing to change.

As a result of this adventure, I’ve decided to be a strong stand for love in action. I’ll share more about what I’m up to and how this is effecting my work (as well as the retreat that’s coming up fast) in an email in the next couple of days. But right now I have an invitation for you to be love with me.

Last week I started a project called “Dose of Love!” It’s a FaceBook group for people to share gratitude and appreciation. It’s easy, it’s loving, it’s free.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/doseoflove/

I ask a question to inspire gratitude every day and encourage people to appreciate themselves and each other. In sharing and seeking things to appreciate we connect more deeply as a community. You can also ask for love and appreciation when you’re feeling down.

I find in times of stress, having strong community support is what gets me through the day (and long nights of the soul). I invite you to have more love and support in your life. And since 90% of everything is showing up, I invite you to show up in community with me.