29 Jan When the Soul Speaks
I’m not sure I ever wrote in detail about what happened in the streets of Washington DC six years ago while standing in front of the United Nations Foundation offices. My then high school freshman daughter and I had just wrapped up our time at the first Shot@Life Summit. It had been an exciting, informative, and empowering few days that culminated with an inspiring keynote from the President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, Kathy Calvin. As we said our good-byes, my daughter met Ms. Calvin who, impressed by enthusiasm and her age, told her to come back one day and intern for the UNF (the ultimate offer for a global-minded Model United Nations kid). As we left the luncheon and walked out onto the street my daughter burst out into tears. Perplexed, I urged her to explain.
Tears streaming down her face, she choked out a few very insightful words, “This is going to change my whole life, mom.”
Although I was aware that the weekend was having an impact on her, I didn’t realize to what extent until that moment. As I put my arms around her she sobbed, “What’s wrong with me, mom? Why am I crying?”
It was clear to me that nothing was wrong. Instead, it was about something being unmistakably, intensely, profoundly right. Hers were tears of deep, internal knowing.
I don’t remember my exact words but I shared my belief that her overwhelming emotion was her very soul speaking to her. That feeling, that unexpected, visceral reaction meant there was something there for her. Within that sort of arena, with those kinds of people, in that particular place. Neither of us could have ever known the specifics in that moment but it provided her (and I) an experience, or perhaps better said, a certain kind of internal compass that she could use to help navigate her future.
It was a moment neither one of us has ever forgotten.
Six years later and my daughter is living in that place, attending a University in DC, learning, growing and thriving in that arena, surrounded by those people. Now, it is her place, her arena, and they are her people. And I’m sure this is just the beginning! It’s one of those stories of strange and surreal synchronicities that you can trace back through to remind yourself that these things do happen; that we get clear reads on people, places, things. And that sometimes we are affected by experiences in ways that are unexpected and near unexplainable but that how we respond and react should never be dismissed.
When emotion flows (through tears of joy, sorrow, or a feeling of something all together new) I hope that we all can find the courage to listen to our souls speaking and respond, I hear you and I’m listening.
To the people who had the vision and the generosity to get us to DC for the very first Shot@Life Summit back in 2012, thank you! Ann, Caroline & Ms. Calvin, I want you to know, even all these years later, how much we appreciated that opportunity and how it affected us in such huge ways.