finding purpose

I lost my vision when I was 16 and my dream at that time was to pursue professional hockey. At the time I did not have the best skills, but I had the passion and I believe my passion would have bled off in to my development. My passion came from watching my sister get through the restart of her life at age 8 after going through a major stroke that occurred during a surgery to remove a brain tumor. She had plenty of struggles and many long stays in the hospitals and many close calls, but still came out living and loving life and people with a sense of vibrancy that I had never seen before.
I lost my vision and my dream, my passion, my purpose was wiped clean. Who am I, what do I do, what defines me, how do I adapt to this new way of life? I guess you can say I lost my vision. I lost my capacity to be a leader because I let my strife be my life and hung on to it with all my might like I would lose my life.
when I lost my vision I lost my capacity to live for something bigger than me because all I could focus on was my own struggle looking for a snuggle like it was a drug to make myself feel better. This destroyed me, but, but I was being put back together like a mosaic a piece at a time, I just had to lay it.

All roads lead to El Dorado

I connected with my history teacher in high school and spent many lunches in his room after losing my vision; I put being a history teacher on the map as a possible goal, but still clung to hockey by rejecting the offer to move away to school. I dated a girl that went to school in southern California, so schools that were a priority to transfer too were down south, this led me to choose Santa Barbara as my destination. I got connected with a Christian community and was able to dive head first into this thing called faith. I tried again to cling to the hockey dream by joining the rowing team to stay in shape for hockey with the hope of getting my vision back. I quit the team down the road and found that was not where I should be dedicating my time and effort. This opened up time to pursue black studies as a second major. My heart was opened up and was able to connect with something again. A spark was flickering into something. I connected with what I was learning because my extended time spent in Oakland as a youth playing hockey and visiting my sister in the hospital. I connected with so many attributes of black culture and racial injustice that I observed growing up. It challenged me to see how I was a part of a bigger system, a system of hurt people that hurt people, sometimes based on race sometimes based on gender and sexuality, but it was something that we were all collectively a part of no matter the good or the bad. Before graduating I was introduced to a truth and reconciliation commission, the one at brown university that was seeking reparations for slavery.
The summer after graduation I specifically decided to choose not to pursue work right away. One reason was to rest and reset after 18 years of education and the other was to not fall into the status quo of the college, work, career, family order. It was during this time where I realized that a theme to my life is restoration. It dawned on me while sitting behind my restored 1970 barracuda at a car show. I learned about restorative justice through the truth and reconciliation research that I did on brown university. All of a sudden I started getting my vision back. 6 months down the road, I went to a justice conference and connected deeper with this idea of restorative justice and it was expanded for me from the individual case to international restoration. The following week my friend Phil would take me to the storyline conference and I would be given the tools to find a redemptive perspective on my suffering. A speaker would talk about how this redemptive perspective was being used in South Africa and Rwanda. The power it had to restore communities, societies and people. This is what would I would come to know as the truth and reconciliation commission of Apartheid, which I came to see as a deeply restorative practice. This redemptive perspective on suffering had the power to transform a person from victim to empowered and empowered into change maker. Within 3 months I was on a plane to South Africa to get hands on experience with the people near Cape Town.

It’s becoming clearer

I connected profoundly with this idea of restoration and is what the roots of restoring my vision is founded in. I found that restoration is the journey and the vision is the power. As Arch Bishop of South Africa and Nobel Lorient, Desmond Tootoo says, “there is no future without forgiveness”. forgiveness is what makes redemption possible, redemption is what makes reconciliation possible, and reconciliation is what makes restoration possible. Each step of my journey has been a stepping stone that has led me to this point. Our vision comes from our belief, so the power of vision is the belief that you can be the change you want to see.
I know there is a great purpose for the things that happen in my life. I have been able to find purpose in the trials my sister has gone through, the trials I have gone through, the collapse of my dream. like the phoenix powerful life comes from the ashes. This connection from my sister to hockey to history to black studies to South Africa and to restoration is not for me. It is me, but it is not for me. It is for others. What I want you to see is that you have a story just like I have a story and there is great purpose in your story just as there is in mine. I believe there is something more for you and there is something more for me. You and I have to just be willing to step into it.
If you would be willing, share In the comments what has led you to where you are
I find this exercise to be so powerful, if you would like to write your own story like the one above and send it to me I would love to post it and share it.

what i learned from my break from blogging… Rebranding, Reshaping, and Restoring

I am back for the first time.
While I did not anticipate taking a leave of absence from posting; some tough life circumstances and clarity of my vision for this blog drew me to stop posting for a while. It is the later one that really did it for me because I never really knew what direction I wanted to take the blog
Do I want to use it to journal life experiences, focus on personal and emotional restoration, did I want to focus on justice related topics, and did I want to post social commentary. I tried to make it so broad that I could do all of the above while sticking in the theme of restoring my vision.
What I did not get was that I was doing it for myself instead of doing it for the reader. Essentially I wanted to be heard. I felt I had poignant things to say and they needed to be said, but it was all for me.
I had always wanted to be a servant and serve the people I was writing too, but I ended up trying to serve too many people by making my topic to encompassing
It’s not that it was broad; it was that I was just trying to be everything to everyone instead of something to someone.
I wanted people to know I was there to serve them and that I could be anything to anyone by helping them have clarity through restoring their vision. This became self-fulfilling instead of other fulfilling and this is where things got messy, as they do in most cases of mixing self-fulfillment with acts of service.

Making new roots

So what did I do? I took a break, stepped away and figured out what I wanted, what my vision is, and then asked what I need to change to get there. The culmination of this brought upon some intense periods of self-analysis and self-discovery in adding to the foundation of the big question of who am I becoming. for me that is the big question that I want to continually make my returning point, so that my identity proceeds my work instead of my work proceeding my identity.
The other question that I asked that helped me start to move forward, was what can I offer right where I am. There were things that I aspired too and I was making those the place I was living from. I was living in the clouds dreaming instead of staying grounded with what I have. The skills and experiences from my past are very purposeful for the work I can do in the present. I know I am good at coaching, I ask good questions, I am a good listener, my heart for restoration and my inner desire to serve others showed me that I can be a life coach, a counselor, a journey helper, or an empowering servant.
In the spirit of the Alchemist, I knew these things of my past have led me to this place for me to take the next step. I had to come to believe that I could take action where I am at to see change though. It is said that if we are not growing then we are complacent and this leads to slow death. (Robert Quinn, Deep change) the thing that got in the way for me was trying to figure out a plan, but Quinn says that a leader does not always have a plan just a vision. I always had a vision, but felt I needed a plan. To be honest this was just fear, resistance, procrastination. It is said that the biggest contributor to procrastination is planning. I was afraid to take action, no matter how big of a bias I had. This is because I was living with my work preceding my identity. there is so much to go into on this topic and I will go in on it in a different post, but what I want us to know is that pursuing our vision, our desires, our dreams is much harder when we are defined by what we do and what we have done instead of by who we are.

Where do we go from here?

The same questions that I asked myself I will ask you; what do you want and who do you want to become. Those that have a special impact on the world have a bias towards action and their action is embedded in serving others. Connecting purpose and identity is easier for others and acting out of purpose and identity is even more rare. A question I wonder about is that if world changers study goal setting, vision making, action taking, and servant leadership, or do they just do it.
I would like us to be able to just take action. What change would you like to see in the world? What inspires you, what hurts you in your heart, what brings you life? This is what I want to help us figure out and take action towards. This is what restoring my vision is about. I want to lead you to the place for you to say I am restoring my vision because this journey is not just about me.
It is about the restoration of your passion to pursue your vision.

There is an email sign up area to subscribe if you would like to join with me in this journey of learning what it is like to restore your vision and be the change you want to see.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Deep Change by Robert E Quinn