When Weeping on Zoom …

I spent the weekend on Zoom for graduation from the Applied Compassion Training that I’ve been a part of since January. In closing ceremonies, we said good byes and cheered in recognition for work we have accomplished. For me, this involved the delivery of a Capstone Project designed to bring compassion to those with grief stories. I’ve found a way to formalize writing workshops to serve those who are hurting and I love the spaces I’ve been able to create for those to be seen.

Each of us graduates were given two minutes to share a few words about our experiences. I said this, “Graduation is always a good time to reflect on what brought us to this place. I want to go way back to the times my dad taught me to see other people. He modeled many ways we can choose to carry our pain. And he taught me that sensitivity and feeling in a callous world are strengths. Turning towards our pain is necessary to live a brave life. This program reminded me that turning towards suffering is always a courageous act. I’m thankful for the people who bravely say yes, rather than turn away. I move forward today, unsure of what’s next, but certain I will continue to say yes. Thank you for reminding me that the world IS good, even today.”

As I sat in my study this afternoon, surrounded by over 120 people dedicated to the pursuit of compassion across industries and around the world, I found myself swallowed by a grief wave. My people showed up on Zoom for the celebration, and as I clicked through the gallery of faces, I couldn’t help but notice who wasn’t there. You’d think I’d be used to his absence by now. But sometimes, the profound punches to the gut come from empty seats and vacant spaces on screen.

Tears filled my eyes and I turned off my camera and wept.

If he were still here, I wouldn’t have done any of this. And yet, I’ve filled the void with my words, with my aches, and I’ve extended the creation of space to explore our experiences using words.

The world is a mess when we focus on the crises. They exist every minute of every day. The fixing demands attention, hope, and possibility. And at the same time, brave, kind, caring humans are choosing to show up and say yes to doing something about our collective suffering.

What is good in your world right now? On my list are a surgeon’s steady hands, deliveries of flowers and meals for those in recovery, those who choose to wear masks to protect others, a refrigerator full of food, and the overflowing ways that my dad continues to influence my choice to look for good. Sensitivity is strength. Searching for good makes life more bearable. Compassion – the choice to act in the face of suffering – for ourselves and others, is a beautiful thing.

Day 44 – 52 Good Things

Still here. Still counting good things.

What’s good and beautiful in your life right now? What are you thankful for? My list continues here.

171. Sourdough cheese crackers

172. Clean sheets

173. Being vulnerable

174. Canned soup

175. Waiting for lilacs

176. Choosing how we want to “commute” to work

177. Orange nail polish

178. Hair ribbons

179. Plush carpet

180. Virtual Writing Workshops – there are still spots available for the Thursday evening session. Will I see you there?

What good and beautiful things are you seeing in your life these days? Please send them to me at 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com

Every. Single. Day.


Do you believe it? In a silver lining? In the truth that beauty, goodness, and joy can be found in the every day?

I am resting in this truth as the building blocks of our lives continue to rearrange themselves. I am saying to myself, “There is good to be found in every single day of my life.”

Every. Single. Day.

Here is my experience with the search for the beautiful this week.

  1. We had dinner with friends and used a great new kitchen accessory. Have you heardIMG_3777 of a raclette grill? Much like a fondue experience, except when using this one you put meat and vegetables on top of a grill surface and watch your food cook. Slow food, conversation, shared laughter and wine. Good. Lots of good.
  2. Lilac bushes are blooming all over our neighborhood. I took some scissors and snipped a few, bringing the bountiful blossoms into our house. Tie some ribbon around a stemless wine glass and you have a beautiful arrangement of fragrant flowers for free. I love lilacs.
  3. Even though Saturday was full of rain and thunderstorms, we drove down to Aurora to spend time at a friends house for a BBQ. You never know what you are going to get with Spring in Colorado. I enjoyed laughing and telling stories as we all sat inside on the living room floor, paper plates with burgers and chips resting on our laps, as the sleet and rain came down outside. Another example that life doesn’t have to be perfect to enjoy what you’ve been presented.
  4. Olive. This little dog continues to warm my heart and to give me plenty of snuggles as we teach her not to chew on shoes and how to ask to go outside on her own. It is increasingly obvious that I am not yet ready for a full blown child, but it is nice to have a living creature to take care of. Beauty in puppy breath, in puppy toes, in puppy chews.
  5. Pulling a recipe together out of the random ingredients in your fridge. This one felt like a challenge, much like that t.v. show Chopped. So on Friday night when I was able to prepare linguine with crab and white wine sauce…boom! I was pretty proud of myself.

Keep looking friends. There is beauty to be found. Every. Single. Day.