Our world is amazing.

Have you noticed that today? Noticed how amazing your world is despite the looming global environmental crisis and the 24×7 corporate-and-political-muck-and-mud-slinging circus and the foul-tempered stranger you met on the street? Silly question. Of course you noticed or you wouldn’t be here. Better question. Have you noticed today that you get to define the center, middle, and the edges of your own community now? Have you noticed that your soulmates are scattered across your beautiful country and this blue-green planet like a handful of jewels scattered across a beach? Who is it that made this possible and who helps you notice? Who are your jewels?

These are our right groups and community to be with. Important now, I think, that we allow ourselves to give as much of our precious individual time to these people/creatures/beings as humanly possible. And that we stop giving that precious time to others and things who don’t. I know that my own own “right” everything else–right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livlihood, right focus, right mindfulness–depends on getting this one thing right. Hanging with my peeps.

This week, for me, it was four groups of people.

My parents are visiting my sister Jen in Las Vegas over Easter weekend. Last night they Skyped me. They’d gone straight from the airport out to drinking a traditional favorite beer at a favorite restaurant (not that my mom drinks, but she always holds one in the photo–love that). Then, they spontaneously found and bought matching starfish necklaces for mother and daughters. A symbol that means more to us than any other symbol invented by God or man. They had to Skype me to show me the necklaces (we kind of suck at surprises) the moment they got home. There is nothing in the world that makes me happier than watching the three of them sitting on the couch together laughing. Well, except maybe when it’s the four of us or the whole extended family laughing together.

The second group was the three friends who showed up at our house for coworking Wednesday yesterday: Diane, Tim, and Kathy. Having physically present coworkers again makes me smile the day before coworking, the day of coworking, and at least one day after coworking. Often several days. You’ll hear more about them below.

The warm espresso walnut chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies that kept me awake until 4 a.m. So worth it.

The third group is the group that’s creating the Different Work eBook, which is on track to go live in May. Bas, his wife Simone, Kathy (same Kathy as above), my Daniel, and I–and all those who told their stories for the book and who are making edits and sending peripherals now to help out. We work so freakishly well together most days that I almost can’t believe it. I find myself actually looking forward to the moments when things go wrong, because I’ve learned so very much at those moments and I know those will be the funniest parts when we get around to telling our own story.  There is no way that what this group creates won’t be beautiful. Did I mention this book will be free? My favorite price point. Woo hoo!

Warning! If you are opposed to swearing lovingly, openly and freely among close friends, please stop reading this now. No judgment if you leave us here. 🙂

Finally, there’s the newest group in my life: a 25-member Facebook group I was invited to join on March 30th. This group already contains some of the people who matter most in the world to me. Natalie Kinsey, who became my soulmate in near-record time in March, and Bernie DeKoven, whose name I’ve recommended to others on a weekly basis for several months now. Plus 23 strangers/friends who I already love because I love Natalie and Bernie. The name of this group of dearly beloved friends and strangers is “10 things I fucking love about right now.” Based on the title alone, I found myself unable to say no to the group. I just checked, and their stated purpose is:

“A good game of Co-savoring,
with the gloves off.
A place to share and more deeply
discover what you actively love
about your beautiful now.”

Love this. What’s a bigger word for wow? WOW

This wonderful bunch of folks have been weaving good humor and loving profanity around me like a fleece blanket this week. With words, they paint their charming souls bare on my computer screen. If I believed in big individual plans, I’d devise a plan for them to all move to Seattle this very moment. We would go to Central Cinema’s “Hecklevision” night, eat chocolate, drink wine, type lovely profane poetry into our cell phones, and giggle as it magically appeared as subtext on the big screen before us. I would start with my new favorite expression, drawn from this group: “It’s really difficult to be a bitch when you have rainbows in your hair.” Never let it be said that people in Portland, Maine aren’t cool. So cool.

For the first time in far too long, I have no idea what the people in my professional group do for a living, nor do I care. These are my people. They can do whatever the fuck they want to do for a living. 😉

So… Shoot, I forgot the question. Oh, yes. How do you know if you’re with the right group or community of people? One last story.

I came back from a week in Washington DC last Thursday night exhausted from miles of walking and with blisters on most of my toes.

Early Friday morning I awoke with a high fever, aching body, stuffy head, and sore throat.

Late Saturday morning, after a fitfull night of half-sleep, I awoke to learn that an invasive, idiotic, unforgiving cancer took the life of my friend that morning. He was just a few days short of his 45th birthday. Just over a year ago at this time, he was the picture of health and fitness.

By Sunday morning, my fever had worsened, and I had to give myself a 57-minute-mental pep talk and three cat-hugs just to make my body move from the bed to the bathroom.

Monday through Wednesday, although I was still sick and recovering, it was these four groups that seeped into my soul, working their magic. Their energy filled me up. Made me strong enough that I actually cast demons from myself Tuesday around 3 p.m. saying “Fever, you will leave this body immediately, because coworking is happening here tomorrow and I WILL NOT CANCEL IT FOR YOU!” Surprisingly, this actually worked. I’m still tired and sniffling, but I’ve been fever free since Tuesday at 3.

I thought I’d share the thank you I sent my “10 things I fucking love about right now” compadres this morning.‎ I decided to share it here because these people are actually so whole and real and beautiful in person that I’m becoming more so even through their virtual presence, and those of you who’ve been with me here a long time will recognize the shift in me.

There are communities and groups within which people are so close that you’re all able to recognize—without being told—that “thank you” has become both entirely unnecessary and all that you can hear or say most days. Find yours. Mine have washed away the parts of me willing to settle for less.

10 things I fucking love about now…

10. I love that Natalie M Kinsey describes Bernie De Koven as gentle. Love that Bernie is gentle. That Natalie knows it. that I know them both.
9. I love that at 28, I believed in taking years to get to know people before applying the word friend and that at 41 I recognize and call people friends, out loud, the very moment I meet them. Like I did when I was 5, only even better.
8. I love that I’ve known, since age 12ish, that I’d fucking love my 40s and yet that my culture still allowed this to be a surprise.
8. I love that all my friends can love and trust my other friends, instantly, because they love and trust me completely. And vice versa.
7. I love that I ate two espresso walnut chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies that my friend Diane made–at 10 p.m. last night–even though my grown up self kinda knew they’d keep me awake. loved learning that I could be wide awake, alert, and yet still overflowing with gratitude for life at 4 a.m. And the wonderful, complex dreams that followed when I did eventually sleep.
6. Love that my boss is me and that I can sleep in as late as I want 6 days/week. think the researcher who wrote the book of Genesis got the numbers backwards. That God rested for 6 days and created the universe with a snap of her fingers on day 7.
5. Love the minds and hearts that devised a fucking collective now gratitude journal. And those that contribute. Amazing!
5. Love that I am reminded daily that the universe is more amazing than I can individually imagine.
4. Love using the number 5 at least twice. And the number 8.
3. Love that your fucking amazingness has already begun to wash over my friends. Yesterday (coworking Wednesdays at my house) when I told 3 friends about you, they demanded that I read aloud to them some fucking examples. After I did, that lovely “fucking” word kept showing up the rest of the day. Diane made fucking cookies. Kathy finished copyediting two fucking stories in our eBook. Tim later emailed me a “10 fucking things I learned coworking today” list.
2. That coworking Wednesdays is yet another thing that makes me glow from the inside. How I imagine being pregnant must make women feel. Like the entire universe is growing inside you because you are wicked-fierce and more than up for the challenge.
1. That our eBook is coming together better than expected, happily, and on schedule and our only plan was “have fun. no planning. do what you think needs to be done. Decide to worry about it 6 months from now.”
5. Love this vegetarian joke that Diane told me not five minutes after learning about you. “what do you call a mushroom with a 9-inch stem? A fungi to be around.” 🙂 first dirty joke told in our coworking space since it opened 5 weeks ago. Love knowing that I’ll get to include it in my coworking tips blog post next week.
8. Love that I made Tim an admin on the Collective Self Facebook page yesterday and that last night I received a Facebook post that was both from myself and also not from me. That was so surreal and beautiful that I cried. Would have told you about it then but I had cookies to eat.