Beth at the Virtual Tea House is having some fun. Here’s how it works. I read Beth’s blog about this exercise. I asked to be interviewed. Beth sent me the five questions below, which I also answered in this post.
Then…it’s your turn. If you want to play, either on the comment section to this post, or in an email to me, just let me know you would like to be interviewed. I will then dream up some questions with whatever info about you I can gain from your blog or other sources that you give me. Hopefully you’ll have fun exploring the questions on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, you can post your answers here in the comments section.
1. What in the world do all those letters after your name mean? And then, what do they REALLY mean?
Basically they mean I am highly over-educated and indebted to my student loans for the rest of my life. :-) The OblSB means Oblate of St. Benedict, the PhD means I earned a doctorate in Christian Spirituality, and the REACE means I have earned professional status as an Registered Expressive Arts Consultant & Educator.
What do they REALLY mean? Well, in large part the PhD and REACE mean that I have had the extraordinary privilege of being able to study the things I love and then integrate them into my work. This is sheer gift to me and something I am continuously grateful for. The OblSB means that the monastic way of life is the one that speaks most deeply to my heart and soul these days. It means I am rooted in an ancient lineage of practice and prayer that I am blessed to be able to share with others and I am connected to a community of other Oblates who help support me in living out the monastic way in everyday life.
2. That picture of the little girl on your front page—that beautiful little redhead, must be you. What does ‘she’ think about how your life is unfolding?
This question made me smile. I think in some ways she would be in awe of the woman she has become. Growing up, there were many things I wanted to be, but I didn’t ever imagine my life quite the way it is, in all of its beauty and freedom, which is the result of years of unfolding and tending.
In other ways she would just shrug her shoulders and smile, and say that she always figured it would be this good.
3. ‘Tune’ must be 12 now. How is she doing? What is she currently teaching you?
Tune, or the Abbess Petunia as she is sometimes fondly referred to at the Abbey, mostly teaches me the same things again and again — I am really that slow to get it. She basks in her dog-ness, she shows me how to listen to my body, she invites me to play and to nap, she is a window into the profound Mystery of God. She lets out these wonderful sighs when I start to take myself too seriously.
These days though, with my new book project, she is also acting as Muse. She spends much of her days as a quiet presence in my office, witnessing from her chair to my becoming, offering inspiration in challenging moments, and as a reminder to remember my body.
4. Tell us about 1 or more of your particular angels. Or angles, if you’re feeling dyslexic today.
I have an abundance of angels in my life. Of course, Tune is her own kind of angel. I have been married for 14+ years to a man who supports me in all of my crazy ideas and helps me to soar. He is quite literally a foundation to me and an angel of love. I am blessed with tremendous friendships, many of whom are extraordinarily creative women in their own right who I get the honor of teaching with, beautiful angels every single one of them.
I encounter angels every time I lead a program. The people who come to participate in whatever I am offering, teach me so much about desire and longing. At its very heart, my work is about cultivating relationships with everyday angels everywhere.
5. What, pray tell, are your growing edges—professionally and personally?
My growing edge these days is really learning the art of self-promotion. Not a very sexy answer, but that is where I discover myself being called. I find marketing uncomfortable and selling my work uneasy at times. But I am slowly entering into an understanding of my work as service in an even deeper way than I have before. I have been lovingly created to offer these unique gifts to others (just as each of you has your own gifts) — marketing is about extending myself into the world, trusting that my gifts have a larger purpose, and finding the people who are receptive to them, whose life will be touched in ways I don’t understand by our encounter because I can frame things in a particular way. And at the same time they will touch my life by their willingness to go deeper on the journey. This is very much tied to my personal growing edges — learning to believe that what I have to offer is immensely valuable and seeking mentors along the way to help guide me into my own becoming.