A beautiful new post from our friend Lisa who has been teaching some of the Brave Girl curriculum (with our express permission) at a local homeless shelter. What SHE is learning is priceless….what she is TEACHING is life-changing. Here’s what she has been up to! xoxo kathy & melody
I want to share with you something that is so near and dear to my heart, something so important to me that I really can’t put it into adequate words. So please bear with me as I try………
OK, so you’ve done the work. You’re much more in tune with your soul and aware of your Truth-teller. You’ve started to deep clean your Soul House. You’ve done a lot of important healing through Brave Girls’ Soul Restoration course, or another course. You look at your circumstances and your loved ones with renewed eyes of gratitude and compassion. Life continues to have its ups and downs, successes and big challenges, struggles and setbacks, yet now you’re feeling pretty hopeful about it all, or at least you feel you have the tools to cope with it.
And you are excited to tell people about this new awareness, this new hope and goodness and serenity that infuses you. You see the pain in people around you, their feeling stuck and hopeless, and you just know this work can give them answers and peace. You want people to receive this same medicine because you know how deeply this can help them. You feel a vague sense that there is more, so much more that you are meant to do with this deep deep love you feel. To spread your message. This awareness, this hope, this love, this openness that has been released in you…………where do you go from here?
Well, if you ask me, I say we CHANGE OUR WORLD
How? BY TEACHING WHAT WE KNOW
OK, you say………..
But how can I, little old me, what do I know…………..
But I’m too busy right now………………………………………
But I have no idea how or where to start…………………….
But I don’t have time/money/experience……………………….
But I can’t see the end result, I’m not smart enough……………
I want to, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but………………….
One step. One tiny step in the right direction by one person is all it takes to start the ball rolling. History is filled with “nobodies” who had the conviction of their dreams for a better world, and so they took that first tiny step. And then another. And then others noticed and shared the passion and joined the dream. And eventually it made a world-shifting impact, a change for the better. All because one person acted.
I can guarantee you that these tiny-steppers were busy with life, often confused, distracted, discouraged, unsure and scared. They made huge mistakes along the way, yet the fire inside them kept burning anyway. And they couldn’t ignore it. They stepped out of their comfort zone. They didn’t let doubt kill their dreams. And the big secret about these world-changers???? THEY WERE JUST LIKE YOU….………….
The you who feels antsy and discontent with how things are. The you who feels overwhelmed with the enormity of society’s problems. The you who feels like you can’t possibly make any difference. The you who is afraid to ask for help, who thinks they have to do it alone. The you who feels they aren’t good enough, smart enough, savvy enough, competent enough, attractive enough, confident enough, experienced enough, educated enough, important enough.
Well, I’m here to tell you that all those excuses are excellent!!! But they aren’t true. Those are the lies we tell ourselves out of fear, in the midst of being stuck in the status quo. The lies that hold back our souls’ purpose. The funny thing is, that soul purpose, that thing that keeps trying to nudge us out of our complacency? It won’t give up, try as we might to keep it bottled up. We don’t have to know the outcome of our efforts before we start. We don’t have to have all our ducks in a row. We just need to believe in our convictions and have faith that our own life lessons can help others. We need to act on our love for our world.
Now I’m not suggesting that any of us will become Gandhi or Mother Theresa (though wouldn’t that be amazing!!!!). The “world” I’m talking about is our own world, our local communities, our real world that we inhabit. There is so much need for this!!!! Everybody can benefit from these basic lessons, I mean every single person in the whole wide world. Because we belong to each other. People in at-risk situations, like being homeless, or young adults aged out of foster care, or people rescued from sex trafficking, or people with addiction problems, with ptsd, ex-cons, the forgotten elderly, those may seem to be the most obvious people who can benefit from getting in better touch with their souls. But really, everyone can benefit. Everyone has hurts, everyone struggles. The need is endless.
And the more people we touch by teaching what we know, the more it snowballs as they teach what they know, and then those people teach what they know, and on and on and on……..
This is very important to me, this notion that we all have important stuff to teach others, to help others. In fact, I think its our obligation, our duty to humanity, or however you want to say it, to pass on what we have learned and what has helped us. Because what is the point of all that life-knowledge if we don’t share it? We are all connected. We belong to each other. And so I want to share with you what I have been doing for the past few months, as an example of what you can do too. Because I know for sure that you can do this. If I can, you can for sure!!!!
For the past few months I have stepped WAY OUT of my comfort zone. I mean waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy out!!!! I have been teaching “mini” soul restoration 3-lesson courses at a 30-day emergency homeless shelter for women in my community. I am not a skilled teacher by any means. I muddle through. I blank out. A lot. There is often dead air in my talks. I giggle too much. I repeat myself a lot. And I’m sure I have my mouth hung open as I listen to the students. This is way way way way way out of my comfort zone!!! Did I say that already??????
BUT IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. And that’s what propels me forward.
IT’S ABOUT THE MESSAGE. It’s the most powerful message I know and I believe it in so strongly: that we are all beloved unique important souls with a purpose on this earth, that we have choice and self-determination, and that we can heal ourselves through honest self-awareness and with the help of a kindred community.
I have been asked over and over how are we got started doing this, so I’m going to tell you. It started for me when I took Soul Restoration years ago, and it simply changed my life. If you know me, you know how much I talk about it, even at the risk of sounding like a broken record. I still do the lessons myself, because we all need refreshers and reminders. Over the past few years, I’ve also staffed at many Brave Girl camps and seen Melody teach this stuff and witnessed the impact it has had on the campers. It’s kind of in my blood now!
Back at home I am blessed to be a part of a small sisterhood of kindred souls, which started out as a book club, and evolved into something much more deep and sacred. Over the years these friends have witnessed my growth and heard my tales and followed Brave Girls Club. And they totally buy into this dream of mine, to spread this most powerful message. We read “Love Does” by Bob Goff (PLEASE READ IT) and that nudged us into taking action and stepping out into our dream.
So the first tiny step was taken by my dear friend Nancy, who simply called this homeless shelter and asked if we could come and volunteer. Then we each took more tiny steps: orientations, applications, brainstorming meetings. Those were so fun!!!! And the steps got bigger. Planning, making the nametags, decorating the journals, buying the supplies, copying handouts, figuring out the decor which we bring to each lesson: tablecloths, lots of flowers, art, figurines, all to set the mood and let the guests know they are special and worthy of this nurturing. We were given the Wednesday evening slot where normally the guests at the shelter have bible study. 90 minutes! That’s all! For 3 Wednesdays.
Thinking that the guests would be a diverse group, guessing that many of them were not used to talking about their souls, I decided that the first lesson would be the basics. What is a Soul. What and who is your Truthteller. What is journaling and why is it so important. I wrote out my script, down to 5 minute segments. I have the guests spend time answering simple journal prompts, and those who want to share do. I show them simple art journaling techniques that they can do with limited supplies, for when they leave the shelter. I share my story, I read to them. We pray, we laugh, we cry, we swear, we all let our guard down. No one is forced to participate, and some don’t, at first. There is resistance from some at first, sometimes strong resistance. Eventually the non-participators and the resistant ones do come around, every time. But mostly there is fascination and tears and recognition and lots of gratitude all around. By the end of the 90 minutes, every time, never fails, these women literally look lighter and brighter and heads up and softer and make eye contact. It is a miracle. Every time.
For the second lesson, I distilled down the essence of the Soul House lesson in Soul Restoration. The most powerful lesson of all, I believe. Everybody relates to it. It’s all about making boundaries and how to protect them. We have had some amazing discussions!! Many aha moments, many breakthroughs. I give them journal prompts to work on throughout the week, and many of them write diligently. I love seeing how opening up brings these women closer to each other. This is raw and real. One of my biggest goals is to get them to see themselves and each other and everyone else as souls. In the third lesson we make simple truth cards, cut and paste. Of course, they don’t want to stop when our time is up. In fact, they never do at any lesson. And did I mention that every Wednesday 1/3 to 1/2 of the guests are new arrivals? So we review the prior lessons and just keep going.
My kindreds, Nancy, Pamela, Heather and I bring our best selves to this project. And that in itself is amazing to be a part of. We have learned so much about ourselves, about how to do this better each time. We learned quickly that we can prepare all we want, but things don’t necessarily go as planned. So now we prepare to be flexible. And we have learned the hard way not to take anything personally. And to be vulnerable and open. And we are so pumped up about this that we are taking it to other venues and other at-risk groups around our community.
So stay tuned for updates on this wild journey we are on. Follow me here or on my website at www.lisaville.net or on Facebook. I hope this inspires you to go out of your comfort zone and spread your love around your world. I would LOVE to hear about that, or any questions you might have. And please remember, that if you want to use ANY resources or curriculum from Brave Girls Club, you need to ask their written permission.
REMEMBER — LOVE DOES!!!!!!!