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What are you called to brew?

Written from our farmhouse in Iowa on March 20, 2020


Oh, it felt great to write that sentence above. I am finally home and hunkered down with my beloveds - Scooty and Eddy. Can we say, WHAT?????!!! And wow. And, oh, my goodness, my pants have fallen down and I am stumbling for the door and where are my keys and who was my date and how did we get here? What a topsy turvy time. Followed by stasis and solitude for some while others continue at a less than normal pace and others are in the midst of the chaos. Everyone is sharing this crisis, and that brings us together in ways we have sought and feared. I pray for the angels of our better nature to guide us as we heal and reconfigure our entry to the public square.


Last week, I wasn’t able to write as Scott and I were making our way back home together. I had flown from California to Chicago for some work and to connect with my collaborators for the Potion Show Project. This was also a small window of time for me and Scott to connect before he flew to California for his family. Oh, did I mention my dad had just died and my mom is going through it? Thankfully, Scott decided not to go and instead hunkered down with us in Iowa until we could figure out how to be present for ourselves, then for our families. So, I posted last week for my blog a little nighttime reading that I had written on the plane to sit vigil at my father’s death bed for 2.5 weeks. The structure of this piece is one I plan to replicate - stories where I find scrolls that come from the Unicorn Gospel. I am feeling called to write some of these for storytime.


I was elated to see that artists and healers were among the first responders in this crisis. So many of my creative friends who find healing and art as their life’s calling were quick to live stream their gifts to the world. Let’s not forget the educators who quickly moved to online approaches when most of their practice is in-person. And the movement builders who created hubs of care for people in their fields of vision. And the entrepreneurs who are pivoting to survive this economic crisis and provide survival opportunities to others. Thank you to people in the creative commons who rose quickly and fiercely and lovingly. These are the anchor points upon which we can build infrastructure to mobilize a creative force for good.


Earlier this week, I clinched up in fear and agony and hope as I asked what I could do in this moment in time. As I mentioned, I had only just returned home and the world was turned on its head. “I have got to completely reconfigure how I was approaching this Potion Show Project,” I declared over coffee and smoothies on Monday. “Not today, honey,” replied my wise and calm husband. Oh, yeah. Not today. Today we shop for our needs and reschedule a few things. Tuesday, I collapse from the pressure of life and spend the afternoon walking with Eddy in the sun. Wednesday, I take care of business. Thursday, I can’t get out of bed. But then I do. And it all comes to me: what I am called to in this moment in time.


I talk to Mother about how to balance letting myself rest and recover with being productive. Scott reminds me this is what we do every week - try to find that balance. The answer comes to me as I remember the starting place - for my life, for my journey, for my contribution to the creative commons, for how I enter the public square. The question I must ask is: what is my calling? What am I being called to right now? And how do I choose to answer that call?


I was introduced to the idea of a calling at a very early age. The church is all about calling. I felt called to the ministry. I pursued the path toward that calling. I found hiccups - major hiccups along the way. I kept coming back to my calling. I discovered the idea of our calling being where our greatest passions meet the world’s needs. To which my wise friend Aimee said, “You need to add the sphere of your greatest strengths to make that Venn diagram work. I may feel called to sing and the world may need singers, but if I can’t carry a tune it may not be my calling.” (Wise and calm counsel surrounds me.) So, as I help clients and friends and myself find where passions, strengths, and the world’s needs intersect. Then create a structure that helps us manifest that calling toward our visions grounded in our values.


I invite us all to do that now. In this moment in time, for the foreseeable future with the world how it is now, what are we feeling called to? Each day, what are we feeling passionate about, strong enough to do, and is helpful to the world around us? Each moment, ask that question and act on it. In the course of movement, we may find a little more ease and flow with the world inside and around us. Ask how you can support others in their calling. Practice how we might use the process of calling in and making space for ourselves and each other consciously, creatively, and with loving-kindness.


I am feeling called in this moment to ask what potions people could brew at home that could bring healing and welcome people to the public square. Then find ways to creatively gather and spread these potions so we might support the creative commons and ease humanity’s journey through this trying time. Stay tuned for more on that!


Leaving you with this potion in the form of a poem - Pandemic, by Lynn Ungar.

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Jonny Stax Presents Inc.

Chicago, IL • West Branch, IA

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