Embrace the Unexpected

I cannot remember the last time I went Black Friday shopping, but I went this year. There was one store having a sale, and I wondered what it would be like to go shopping on Black Friday during a pandemic. It was nothing like I thought it would be.

I made a deal with God Thursday night before bed. I told Him, “If going to this store Friday morning would be a beautiful experience, then wake me up early.” I woke up at 3:00 am, smiled and said, “Not this early. Let’s shoot for 6.” The next time I woke up it was precisely 6:00 a.m.

By 7:00 a.m., I was out the door.

It was foggy, and there was no traffic. When I arrived at the store, there were hardly any cars in the parking lot. Slipping on my mask, I saw a huge sign sitting at the storefront that said, “No more than 35 people allowed inside.” So far, it was nothing like I expected.

I went to the sale for their candles being buy 3, get 3 free. At first I thought, what a deal, but not really. They used to have a sale every month where their candles were half price. I would normally just buy a couple, but the black Friday sale insured me walking out of the store with six!

When the sales clerk handed me the bag full of candles, I was a little bit embarrassed by it size. It was enormous!

What we expect and what God has in store are different sizes. I catch myself not thinking big enough because it’s comfortable walking through the store with a small bag. We need to get good at carrying the enormous bag.

That’s the size of His plans for us if we embrace the unexpected. Hope my neighbors like candles.

Dusting My Soul

I noticed the piano sitting away from the wall more than it used to. It’s out on the floor. It used to be pressed up against the wall out of the way, with the music stand folded down. It was a piece of furniture dusted off every week.

I took piano lessons as a child, but didn’t like being made to do something. I’m still that way, but a couple of weekends ago, as my daughter was leaving the house, she looked at me and said, “Do something special for yourself.” The Rolodex in my mind started flipping through images, but came up empty on something specific.

I’ve created the kind of life where I enjoy everything I do, but what about something for my soul besides writing. Playing piano was a part of my childhood that feels incomplete. My neighbor offered piano lessons a while ago, so I walked inside and sent her a message.

I asked if the offer still stands, and if she’d be willing to give me lessons. She said yes, and we chose a day and time to begin. When I asked whose house she wanted you use, she chose mine and referred to it as a calm getaway.

The piano doesn’t need dusting as often, now that it’s being used. Everyday I sit down to practice, and run my hand across the keys I feel the progress dusting my soul.

The Moonshot Goal

In July, I joined a Fearless Community.

Every quarter Leo Babauta of Zen Habits sets an intention, or challenge and breaks it down into monthly increments. The Fearless Training program is where I learned the self trust cultivator, and became serious about a good night’s sleep.

The Moonshot Goals are meant to give you something big to shoot for, which a lot of us resist. It should require you to shift beyond your patterns (otherwise, it’s just a normal goal within what’s already doable for you). It should feel a bit out of reach, and inspiring.

Leo Babauta

We have a Monday Check-in we post every week.

I posted my Moonshot Goal, and was uncomfortable in doing so. Most people are building businesses, or ramping up their online presence, but Barb? She wants to be a great neighbor.

Here’s part of what I posted.

Imagine if you had one house on your street where you knew you could always walk to for encouragement. I can imagine it starting on my street and spreading to other streets. That’s my Moonshot Goal. To be a Fearless Neighbor in hopes that it’ll start to spread by Christmas.~Barb

This is a great time of year to begin this goal.

A row of mailboxes in my neighborhood.

I’m curious about what the holiday’s look like for people. Will they travel to be with family? Airline tickets are made of gold and gas prices will most likely increase. I know three neighbors on my street, and I want to be here for them, but I want get to know every neighbor on my street.

This morning I woke up still feeling uncomfortable about posting such an odd goal compared to others. I pulled up our Slack channel and noticed a mention of my name.

Here is part of the post.

I’ve been reading about others’ moonshot goals with curiosity and attention. I’ve yet to feel moved to set my own, feeling more committed to my process than any specific outcome. Although I do have to say that @Barb Holmes’ goal to be intentional about building community speaks to me. 

MaryAnne-Fearless Warrior

What MaryAnne wrote helped me feel at ease. It sounds like a crazy idea and I didn’t expect anyone to get it. Some may see it as going back in time to the way life used to be, but I believe it’s the way life was designed to be. A good indication is all the online groups we now call community. I love online communities, but what about the one outside my front door?

To be a fearless neighbor, that’s my moonshot goal.