The world needs more courageous hearts.
Courage isn't something that comes at the end of a checklist. It's the result of daily, moment-by-moment decisions - many of which are full of fear.
Fear is a powerful, inherent part of being human. It is both a friend and a foe. In order to be a good human to other humans, we must learn the ways of our fear and strengthen our resilience so we can move past our fear with courage.
In this space, we will do the work of being more human. We will lean into our vulnerabilities, we will explore our instincts and we will become more alive and whole.
My life has been anything but ordinary, but it didn't start out that way. I grew up in a small country town in western Minnesota, one block from a cornfield. Moving to Minneapolis was once as "big" a life as my rural roots could imagine; but life had other ideas.
My "ordinary" life changed on August 1, 2007, when the 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour traffic. On my drive home from work, at 6:05pm, the ground beneath me gave way and my car took a nose dive into the Mississippi River. I thought that was where my life would end, trapped in my car at the bottom of a murky river. When it didn't, I vowed to make good on the gift I was given - a second chance at life.
Making good on that gift started by turning my attention to healing. A broken back and a severe case of PTSD took a central role of my life as I learned to navigate the new realities of my body, heart, and mind. My professional life had already exposed me to the impact of PTSD on an intellectual level, but it's my lived experience that has made me an expert.
In 2012, I began following breadcrumbs toward my adolescent dream of opening a creative space for youth. Those breadcrumbs turned into a vibrant community studio called Courageous heARTS. In 2020, that chapter came to a close as it succumbed to the challenges of a global pandemic. Founding and leading a nonprofit was one of the best and most challenging things I have ever done.
For much of my life, I've let who I am suppose to be have power over who I am. After years of deep inner work, I've come to embrace my whole self - even when it doesn't fit into the box someone has assigned to me. I am full of paradoxes and try to keep my feet firmly planted in the gray "land of and." There, I can be a squishy enigma guided by my heart rather than "suppose to's." I can't think of a better way to live this second chance.
In this space we will dig deeper into all the ways we are as humans. That means this is an actively anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-hate space. Othering and dehumanization of any kind will not be tolerated.
Constructive conversations about hard subjects are welcomed, but this is not a space to talk at anyone. I ask you to practice listening as much, if not more, then you practice speaking - both take courage.
I do not believe in zero tolerance. I believe that everyone with a willing and open heart can change. That said, if your time in this space becomes harmful and you are unwilling to receive feedback about that harm, I reserve the right to remove you from this community.