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I just returned from my college reunion at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. I won’t tell you what number reunion it was for me, but I’ll just say it was “a big round number” as I like to call these things. We had about 30-35% of the graduating class back, and, while this is the third time I’ve been back to College Hill, it is the first time that I was there where I felt like I was fully present. I think that a lot of people step into sites that were scenes from earlier in their lives and they revert to the person they were there, and stop being the person they are now. I’ve done that in the past, and was working really hard to be present in the fullness of who I am now.
One thing that I think is the norm for any college reunion is drinking. I think I had more in 30 hours than I normally have in a month! I was lucky to be staying in campus housing so I didn’t have to drive anywhere. In some ways I think that is to numb yourself from feeling everything as well as to try to relive your old activities, and get away from the staid live of the present. I got to see a number of friends that I was close to while I was a student, including choir buddies (I sang most of my time there are was a
member of numerous singing groups), roommates (Eric, I swear I will go to Wellesley soon in the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge. Thanks for following!), suitemates (great to meet your family Dave!), and even people I never talked with while I was there. I even met someone who I never spoke with in my four years on campus to find he lives a little over a mile away and might be interested in my career consulting (yup, it’s a tax deduction right there!). I even got to go rock climbing for the first time in my life. They certainly never had that when I was on campus!
I also tried to do some thing that are being true to me. There was a yoga class that I took, and I first did yoga on campus where I was the only student to an upperclass woman from Brazil. That, and the health food store in the village of Clinton were things that got me to think about health issues and set me up for the 26 years that I’ve been a vegetarian. These were the seeds that grew to make me who I am now.
A really new thing for me was that I got to attend a GLBT Alumni gathering. I was not out to myself then and very few people on campus were. Now they have a building where they have programming and are very visible on campus. In talking with a number of the current students, it sounds like it’s not always the easiest thing, it’s a lot different than my time. I also got to meet other GLBT alums and find out that there’s a GBLT Alumni group! It’s amazing to think of being all of myself there. (Note: another gay alumnus of Hamilton wrote a great article for the New York Times about his experiences at reunion, which mirrors a lot of what I’m saying here.)
There are three things that really struck me while I was there:
- One of my fellow alums was there who really made an impression on me. I didn’t know her that well while I was on campus, but we knew each other enough to say hello and chat. She’s obviously had challenges in her life as she was walking with a walker and utilized an iPad to type out what she had to say that couldn’t be relayed in hand gestures. She was in yoga class with me, and was everywhere during the weekend. I know that she had some assistance, but she was very self determined and was definitely showing up fully as she is today. I didn’t get to speak with her much, but I did tell her she if a very strong woman.Thank you, Classmate, for your presence.
- A friend of mine that I’m still connected on Facebook asked me what it was like being gay in college and if I was out, did I hide it from people, etc. She said it must have been very difficult and she felt badly that she couldn’t have done something to make it a better experience. This was totally unprompted and really made me feel cared for. It was something small, but made a big difference in my heart.Thank you, Friend, for your presence.
- While I was not out in college, there was a guy who was. He was an athlete and well liked, and was really the first colleague that I had that was out. I didn’t have the words for it at the time, but I realize now that he was the first guy I had a crush on. Unbelievably, he was there and I got to say thank you to him for being out, and that it made a difference to me even though I didn’t come out then. He said it was awkward, but he knew that he had to do it. I wish I could have been that brave.Thank you, Role Model, for your presence.
I was working hard at being present and being me authentically while I was there. This is difficult in lots of situations, but by forcing myself to do that, I gained some strength and that I can be more me in any situation and can take that into my future.
So, are you being present even when it’s tough?
Here are the top articles/posts that I’ve seen over the past week that interest me, and hopefully interest you!
- Change is in the Air: 7 LinkedIn Tips for Career Changers: Thinking about changing your career? Here are some ideas about using LinkedIn to help that along.
- I found this Rumi poem, Inner Sunrise very moving & appropriate for careers and spirit.
- Networking Is Still The Best Way To Find A Job, Survey Says: It’s still true. Your connections/references are what help you get jobs.
- “Biggest Loser” Marci Crozier meets with fans: I love the Biggest Loser, and Marci Crozier is really connecting her life experience into her work passion.
- Sonic Yoga Tango!: An example of someone promoting themselves when they have a portfolio career. Just like a resume, you need some way of demonstrating your skills. Here’s a great example.
- The Shortcut to the Shortcut: The 4 Key Principles of The 4-Hour Body: I haven’t read this book yet, but Tim Ferriss is demonstrating his skill and showing his value!
- Cool Slackline Stunt Competition: Really amazing feats by young people doing crazy things on a new version of tightrope walking, but this goes far ahead of that. Shows what focus and passion can accomplish!
- Straight men kissing more: Interesting cultural phenomenon that shows that when homophobia is lessened in men, it allows them more freedom to express themselves in different ways.
- Raw Faith: What looks like a very interesting documentary about a Unitarian Universalist minister at one of the largest congregations in the country. What happens when you decide to not be a minister anymore? I found this one after reading Marilyn Sewell’s great article in the Huffington Post called The Theology of Unitarian Universalists.
I just got back from a great dance weekend where I got to contra dance, English Country Dance, waltz, and catch up with many friends who I haven’t gotten the chance to talk to in a while. This community has been a constant support to me and gets to the core of my creative life, which is music and dance in a GLBT context. In the story of the past few years, I’ve been exploring other parts of my life, and I’m now looking to see how I can integrate this part of me that has been secure back into my life.
That, and I need to get back into dancing shape. I’m a sore puppy today, and I even tried to pace myself. I guess that and I’m not 25 anymore. More transitions.
What really touched me is that I connected with two friends, one who just started a new job and another unemployed and looking, and they both mentioned that they read this blog and have gotten either techniques, context, understanding, or all three. I try to bring whatever insight (or crazy idea) I have, and it’s nice to know that others have gotten benefit from it. I never know who reads this blog, so it’s nice to get some positive feedback, as that gives me impetus to keep writing.
As usual, I like to see this in the broader context of how each of us shows up in the world and makes an impact. It made my day that I found out others appreciated what I had to say, and that it made a difference in their lives. You never know what it is that you have to offer will make a difference to others, whether it’s the knowledge you share, or the acknowledgment that you made a difference.
So, if this blog has helped you, let me know, and what ways are you making a difference to others?
Last night I attended the GLBT Executive Networking Event hosted by Boston Spirit Magazine. It was a good event which had a number of companies with booths, break out sessions, and a keynote speech by Robert Kraft, Owner of the New England Patriots (American football) and New England Revolution (international football or soccer) teams. He spoke of teamwork and how he turned the Patriots around to be one of the most successful sports franchises. It was a nice night (and especially those that like to see handsome men in suits.)
I had a client that I was coaching at this event and there are lessons that I’ve found are almost universal for everyone who comes to these type of networking events. This individual was laid off and has been paralyzed by fear in starting the job search. This event was the first tangible action taken in months. As I stated, just coming and showing up made this a success!
Too often people get completely overwhelmed with the emotions and magnitude of the job search and shut down completely. My recommendation is to just think: “What is the one small action I can take now?” (Those of you who know GTD will not be surprised at this). When I’m coaching clients about networking events, I recommended that people have a goal for what they can get done at an event to know it’s a success. This can be as simple as “find someone who knows something about Google as an employers” to “find the names of 3 resources for a graduate degree or certificate in graphic design that I can take online” to “talk with one person who will introduce to another person”. By setting yourself an achievable goal, you are more likely to feel successful and actually do more than that. The important thing is just to move forward, and you can only do that one step at a time.
So, what’s the one next thing that you can do right now to move forward in your goals?
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’m a big proponent of people getting out and talking to people face to face.
No matter how charming you are on line, you will always be more impressive in person. Additionally, I say that you should have a goal when you go to events, and those that have a focus intrinsic to them are even more likely to find like minded people. To that, I’m attending the Boston Spirit Magazine’s GLBT Networking event at the Copley Marriott. Its from 6-9 pm and it will have break out sessions and have Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, as the keynote speaker. I encourage anyone who can to attend. They have 1200 RSVPs, so there should be a lot of people to meet. If you see me, please come up and introduce yourself!
Wondering if you’re utilizing this event to it’s fullest? Check out my comments about networking. My goal is to let as many people know about my Finding Your Calling Career Exploration retreat at Easton Mountain on March 18-20, 2011. Been thinking about what you want to do with your life? This might be a good way to move that forward.
So, what are you doing to let others know about you?
I’ve been lucky enough to be interviewed on three different shows over the past year where I can share my thoughts about career development and how it interacts with the other aspects of people lives, and I thought that many of you might not have heard these and would like to get a better sense of my approach. Take a listen to these and let me know if anything resonates with you!
- In March 2010, I was the guest speaker on the Getting Things Done Virtual Study Group (GTD-VSG) Podcast where I talked about “Utilizing GTD in Career Development“. It was a great time with some great questions from the audience. If you don’t know anything about GTD, it’s a productivity philosophy developed by David Allen and I highly recommend it to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and wants to get control of your life (or at least feel less anxious about it.) Listen to it directly.
- In December 2010, I was interviewed by Harry Faddis on “The Quest of Life” radio show out of WRPI-FM in Troy, NY, where I discussed “Connecting Your Spirit & Your Work“. Harry asked me question about how people make decisions about where their careers are going and how you can make choices that serve you better.
- In January 2011, I was again a guest on The Quest of Life, and here I discussed “I Could Do Anything I Wanted If I Only Knew What It Was“. A big part of my work is helping clients with career exploration and assessments, so this was to clarify what people can do to help them get more clarity on what it is that makes them happy and how they can increase their chances of working in areas that make them happy.
Note: The workshop that I mention in the last two interviews (Finding Your Calling: Making Connection Between Spirit and Work) has been rescheduled to March 18-20, 2011, so you still have a chance to register!
I have a great time doing these interviews and am considering doing a podcast/audio/video blog to answer questions that people would have.
So, what questions would you like to ask me?
On Friday, December 17th at 1:00 p.m. EST, I’ll be a guest on Harry Faddis‘ Show, The Quest of Life, on WRPI Radio out of Troy, New York. The topic for this session will be How to Connect Your Spirit and Your Work, and I’ll be talking about the following five points.
- Listen to Your Heart: Dreams deferred come out somewhere. We tend to life out other people’s dreams. (Family, society pressure, etc.) Need to be in a space to listen to yourself.
- What do you need to feed your spirit?
- Identify your Values: What are the important aspects of your professional life.
- What role does your career play in your life?
- Career Planning: Come up with a long range goal and work on the next steps. Unless there is forward momentum, you’ll feel stuck.
You can listen live by going to wrpi.org at 1:00 p.m. or you can subscribe to the podcast (more information at http://www.thequestoflife.com/). It’s a tremendous podcast which covers all aspects of queer spirituality and how we make our way in the world. The show is every Friday from 12 noon – 2 p.m. and they only play music by LGBT musicians. Give a listen!
I’m proud to announce that I will again be giving my Finding Your Calling Workshop at Easton Mountain this coming Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, and there are a number of changes to the program from last year:
- It will be three days (Friday through Monday)
- It is open to Men and Women (and those who choose not to categorize themselves in either duality)
I’m very excited about delivering this program again, and there will be more new about it soon. Please tell your friends!
Here’s the workshop description from the website:
Finding Your Calling: Making Connections Between Spirit and Work (for Men and Women)
Too often in our busy lives, we are happy that we can make it through the day and don’t have the time to think about how our regular working lives are an extension of our spiritual core. Is what you do as a vocation feeding your soul and helping you to become a strong positive presence in your world. Many times, people find that they have fallen into the roles they play in life; sometimes for the better and sometimes not. By listening to and realizing what your innate gifts are, you can then take control of the direction of your career and make decision and actions that are in accord with you professional ethics and spiritual values.
This workshop will include journaling, exercises, conversations, assessments and meditations that will help you focus on what your real needs, goals, desires and motivations are. all registrants will be supplied with prep exercises to do at home before the weekend.
Note: This program is open to all people regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but they must be comfortable and honoring of gay male sacred space.
In collaboration with Easton Mountain, I am giving away a free weekend at their Single Gay Men’s weekend this October 8-11, 2010 (a $595.00 value!) As those of you who have read my blog know, my experiences at Easton Mountain over the past two years have have been nothing short of life changing, and I want to offer this opportunity to others as well.
The rules are:
- You must have never participated in a program at Easton Mountain. This opportunity is to introduce new men to the magic that is Easton.
- You are responsible for your own transportation to and from Easton Mountain.
- Fill out the Application Form, which includes a short essay of less than 500 words as to why you would like to attend the program. Entries must be received by Friday, September 25 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
- Selection of the winner will be completely up to me, but you can increase your chances by having one or more of the following:
- Subscribe to the Spirit/Work Connection blog at http://resonare.wordpress.com
- “Like” the Spirit/Work Connection on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter
- Lastly, priority will be for those who have been a client of Resonare Consulting before the Friday, September 25, 2010. If you’ve been thinking about getting some assistance, this would be the time!
Please let your friends know about this great opportunity. I will be advertising this far and wide, but the more you let your friends know the better. Even if they don’t win the weekend, I would recommend attending the event anyway. The facilitators (Harry Faddis and Bob Bruillard) are great and I’ve been to many programs that they have facilitated.
Questions? Ask me below in the comments section!