Nice to meet you

Locked in a room with 14 strangers in the mountains of East LA, on the border of San Bernardino … our mission – find the champion within us. No cell service, so internet, just bugs and crickets plus, a random coyote, a tailless lizard and a mouse. Day 1″ begins at 5:30 with dinner followed by Session 1.  A 3-day exploration – digging deep – who am I, where am I in life and most importantly why am I? What am I about?
As I reflect on the last year, there is a miss, a gaping hole that I’ve been staring into for 16 months.  Where is the passion, the enthusiasm?  What do I get enthusiastic about, what creates a burning desire within me?  It used to be work – certainly.  With every job I’ve had, I’ve been all in, fully committed, driven to the 100th degree. But as I age, as I’ve changed careers for the 4th time, beginning my 5th decade of work, I find myself floundering with my “why.”   I like the work I do.  I love the people I do it with.  But I lack passion.  I blame my job change, the work I do, the weather, my body, my energy level …. blame, blame, blame.
But it’s me.  I’ve lost focus.  I’ve taken my eye off the ball, heck I can’t even find the ball.  After leaving my 10-year job at North Coast church, I wrote about this feeling of disconnect. Somehow like I broke up with God. The feeling of leaving ministry, stepping out of His calling … because I no longer have a church extension, church email or church desk.  Seriously?  I know the answers – God uses us, God uses me.  He just wants me to land and get my eyes back on Him, so he can do work through me (yes, and you, so listen up!)
Anyway back to the 3-day journey.  I am now on day three.  Yes, it has taken 2 days to write the top three paragraphs.  A journey is not the word to use.  Maybe a passage … almost like a rite of passage. From one self to another self. I have blogged for 5-6 years, possibly more.  I have never noticed but I always speak in second person … what happens when “you”, God wants “you” to … but today I realized to show you my heart, to speak from my experience … it has to be “me.”    I write this blog so you can hear my voice, from my heart, from my experience, from my view and in my opinion. Nice to meet you. I am me.
Next to giving my life to Jesus, this 3-day rite of passage was easily the most powerful 3 days of my life. It is hard to put into words.  The program is called BOLD: Advanced Leadership.  Yes, those who know me, say I don’t really need to be bolder.  Yet I do need to be more authentic. Coming into the program, I had to describe myself in 3 words.  One I chose was authentic.  I didn’t know I was authentic with walls.  Three days later I am authentic with the walls torn down, speaking from the heart, from my soul, reaching the core of who I am.  And no, it’s not the least bit scary…anymore.  Again, nice to meet you.
It’s hard to explain how over time, I have lost my voice. My desire to be heard has been encapsulated in stories, in opinions, in attitudes and even in truth.  But truths that don’t reach down deep; that don’t come from the depths within.  And then there is the heart.  I honestly can’t remember a time that my heart wasn’t closed off – protected beyond necessity.  I was raised by a mother that had huge walls built around her.  Her life was tough, tougher than most. Raised during WWII era in Kansas City, she grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  Seven step-fathers, with all the atrocities that come with that, her childhood was harsh. Married to my father for just over 12 years, only to lose him to the Vietnam War. For self-preservation, she sealed her heart off, building walls of protection, only providing glimpses over the years.  I think in many ways; I was raised seeking the same protection but without the same catalyst.
There is a you-tube Ted Talk where Simon Sinek talks about your “why.”  Without your “why” you can never truly achieve your goals.  People don’t respond to what you do, they respond to why you do it.
So now sitting at the end of the 3-day BOLD experience, I come from a new place.  A new place within myself.  I have reclaimed my heart, reclaimed me.  No embarrassment, no fear, no hesitation.  “All in” is a new way of life, a new focus.  This blog is written with an open-heart, a strong voice and clear why. Nice to meet you.