RAOKA: Beauty

by Lance Ekum on · 48 comments

RAOKA

 

Beauty

 

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,  we must carry it with us or we find it not." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Preface:  Random Acts of Kick Arse is a movement to bring more of {monthly theme} into our lives, and the lives of those around us. 

October Theme:  Beauty.  Find ways to incorporate/see more beauty in the world.

The Results:  Beauty.  What would it look like?  How could I both see more beauty in my world, and possibly even bring a little more at the same time?  Would I be more aware of what and who I was surrounded by?  Beauty, it seemed, was perplexing for me.  And then I happened to hear an old Beatles song:

"…speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

And so I did…I just "let it be".

November unfolded beautifully.  There was much beauty in the whole month.  I experienced this daily, and my life was touched in some wonderful ways.  Today, I'll highlight one of those.

Nov PLDP 003

Strangers.  To friends. 

Deep beauty in what can really develop in such a short period of time.

I spent a week of my November at a leadership and self-awareness workshop in North Carolina.  Myself and six strangers coming together, to grow in ways we weren't really sure about – and all led by our wonderful leader Holly (not pictured). 

Picture with me walking into a small room and not knowing anyone.  Then transition that with leaving that same room, feeling completely comfortable telling this same group of people anything.  And trusting them to be there, to support you on your journey.  Five days.  Late nights.  Lots of coffee (or tea!).  And desserts!  A developing bond, a connection that touched upon the soul…the soul of everyone there.  A sharing of thoughts freely and openly.  Courageous steps for everyone, and constant love and support along the way. 

I arrived back from this workshop with new life.  Beliefs in what CAN be.  A belief that all is possible, and that there are people out there who care deeply.  People who were strangers to me just three short weeks ago.  So, to each of you there with me that week, if you are reading this…thank you.  Thank you for shining your beauty into my life.

And to all of you reading here…there is so much beauty just in your presence.  You…taking the time from your busy schedule to read these words here.

There can be beauty in so many moments of our life, if we can carry that beauty within us first…

Beauty.

You.  Me.  Our world.


What is Random Acts of Kick Arse (RAOKA)?  With the idea that there are so many ways we can do small things to change the world for good, Sami, from Life, Laughs, and Lemmings took an idea she had and created this movement.  The movement:  A new theme to focus on each month, bringing a little more good to the world.  The movement started in October 2009, with a core group of participants:

Melissa from Operation NICE
Lori from Jane Be Nimble
Dani from Positively Present
Brandi from Joy Rebel
Zeenat from Positive Provocations
Sami from Life, Laughs, and Lemmings

Each month a topic will be chosen to focus on, and then at the start of the next month, the participants will write about their experiences from the previous month.

Interested in joining the movement?  Contact Sami for details.


December Theme:  Wackiness (as chosen by me!)


Logo courtesy of Melissa from Operation NICE

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilda December 3, 2009 at 6:13 am

Excuse the pun Lance, but that is a beautiful, beautiful quote! Your workshop sounds amazing. And “wackiness” is a perfect theme for December, a month too often filled with stress rather than the joy that is intended. Looking forward to that post in the new year 🙂
.-= Hilda´s Last Fabulous Post ..Self-Exposure =-.

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Ideas With A Kick December 3, 2009 at 7:40 am

I find it interesting how you relate connecting with people with beauty. Some of my most enjoyable experiences of mine are about deep, meaningful interactions with others. Suppose this is one of the reason I started teaching communication skills.

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Lynn December 3, 2009 at 7:47 am

Lance – I picture you walking into a small room not knowing anyone and being comfortable and making everyone else feel at ease with your warmth and just generally nice guy-ness. The workshop does sound amazing.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Home spot, shake and big bands =-.

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Zeenat{Positive Provocations} December 3, 2009 at 8:07 am

Dearest Lance,
Connections connections connections….arent they just beautiful. Whether new or old they are all so so beautiful. Each bring a certain unique charm to our lives.
Especially when that connection comes from the heart and soul.
I love how you saw BEAUTY in our simple yet profound connections with people.
So lovely how we all see beauty in different things. Just goes to show how we are all unique yet so beautifully connected.
With Love 🙂
.-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s Last Fabulous Post ..RAOKA:Beauty-The Beautiful Smile Experiment =-.

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suzen December 3, 2009 at 8:16 am

Hi Lance!
Awesome! Somehow this post reminds me of an E.B. White quote “Every morning I awaken torn between the desire to save the world and the inclination to savor it.” To see the beauty is certainly savoring – and connected to that I think we save it too. You can’t be negatively affecting while you are in awe, it’s a great place to be! And your blog is a great place to be!
.-= suzen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Millie Wisdom – Fa-la-la Let’s Shop! =-.

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Erin Prais-Hintz December 3, 2009 at 8:39 am

What a great moment of beauty, Lance. To arrive as strangers and leave as friends. I think that there is a beauty in connecting to others in this world. I think that is what we are all hungering for more of in our lives. I love the idea of seeing the beauty all around us. Right now, seeing the vista from my office window I see the faint hint of the first snowfall…the stark black branches reaching toward the flannel gray sky….the moody Wisconsin River flowing softly by… and I am currently seeking to inspire others to find found objects entertaining and beautiful in a challenge that has a lot of people talking. But the best thing is finding like minded souls in this vast world throughout the blogdom. Like you, Lance. You are a beautiful soul and I am more blessed to know you.
Enjoy the day!
Erin
.-= Erin Prais-Hintz´s Last Fabulous Post ..30 Words::Divinely Designed =-.

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Tim December 3, 2009 at 8:42 am

Hi Lance:

I enjoyed this post and learning about your leadership workshop. Sounds very interesting! Thanks for a very poetic last few paragraphs of this post, as well, and for kicking arse here at the Jungle of Life.
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Character =-.

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Trish @imaSUcceeding December 3, 2009 at 10:22 am

Great post! I love meeting new people and finding a deep connection…to me there is nothing better!

I look forward to your December theme of Wackiness!! =0)
.-= Trish @imaSUcceeding´s Last Fabulous Post ..You Win Some…You Lose Some =-.

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Michelle@Eatingjourney December 3, 2009 at 10:57 am

I love…I am a sapp…for intense and powerful workshops. I love retreats and weekends away where people open themselves up like onions. I just think that we as human beings in our modern world live a very recluse life which is actually very biologically polar opposite of how we are wired. Although we all have different thresholds for social interaction we used to live a much more social life–ie villages, kids playing in the yard, borrowing sugar with unlocked houses, etc. However, what these type of weekends remind me is that we now have to schedule social interactions with people on a deep level into our lives..it just isn’t part of it anymore. One hand it’s disgustingly sad. On the other..thank goodness it’s happening. Thanks for sharing this..I might go and make cookies for the neighbors.

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Audra Krell December 3, 2009 at 11:39 am

I applaud your courage Lance in attending a workshop like that. Most people could not do that. Thank you for sharing what can happen when we extend ourselves, step out of the box, etc. Beauty is just waiting if we will take action. Love your theme choice for December too, that will be a lot of fun!
.-= Audra Krell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Touching Wonder =-.

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Elliot Lozano December 3, 2009 at 11:50 am

Great article. Reminds me of John Keats poem Ode on A Grecian Urn, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all. Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” Also, loved the Beatles song. Have you watched the film – Across the Universe?
.-= Elliot Lozano´s Last Fabulous Post ..Gratitude for InspirationTheRide.com’s Healthy Start (with Data) =-.

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Nadia - Happy Lotus December 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Hi Lance,

Glad to hear that you had an awesome time at that leadership conference. Everything starts with a belief. Combine that with passion and determination and anything is truly possible. That is one of the many things that makes life so beautiful.

And that particular Beatles song brings tears to my eyes every single time I hear it.
.-= Nadia – Happy Lotus´s Last Fabulous Post ..When in Doubt: To Be Like John or Jesus? Part One =-.

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Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord December 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm

What a beautiful (!!) way to put that. We see what we are, so when we see beauty in life’s varied moments, it is because we are projecting our own beauty outward. And you, Lance, are a beautiful (handsome? nah, beautiful) man. You radiate beauty, which I believe comes from love. You are so full of love, it’s indescribable! You bring it, you send it, you speak it, you write it, you ARE it.
Many thanks for spreading more love and beauty throughout our world!
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..7 Steps for Climbing the Staircase to Joy =-.

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Mama Zen December 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Beautiful post on beauty!

Wackiness is a great theme for December!
.-= Mama Zen´s Last Fabulous Post ..New Moon: A Helpful Viewing Tip =-.

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Hilary December 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Hi Lance .. excellent – and you all looked liked you’d had loads of fun .. and enjoyed yourselves learning so much .. a change is so good for us – stimulates our minds, new friends do too ..

Briliant – more to RAOKA and each monthly theme .. and fun ideas .. and serious thoughts!

Go well – enjoy December – seems like you’re the same old Lance ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Christmas memory comes back to you at the beginning of December? =-.

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Lori December 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I love it, Lance, LUUUVVVEE IT!!

I love the BEAUTIFUL photo, I love the video, and I loved your take on BEAUTY. I love that you attended the workshop and saw such BEAUTY.

Sami really had a great idea with these monthly themes. And I really love the theme you chose for next month: WACKY. Lance, WACKY is my middle name!!!
Keep shining your light, Lance, you are BEAUTIFUL – inside and out!
~xo
.-= Lori´s Last Fabulous Post ..Random Acts of Kick Arse: Beauty =-.

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Armen Shirvanian December 3, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Hey Lance.

I agree that the beauty is there when we are searching for it. In my mind came up organizational beauty, like doing things over a set time in an organized fashion. Another would be beauty of cleanliness, like having a bookshelf that has one shelf empty of material, leaving a thought in our minds that there is space for any new things to go into, which has a huge impact on our thoughts.

Beauty is all over when we put some work in to either assess it or make it. Organizing time into certain chunks can make what we do during those chunks the beautiful thing that we did at that specific time, and that specific time won’t come again.

Nice going on meeting with the folks, as that is what our society benefits the most from. We are people and we like people.
.-= Armen Shirvanian´s Last Fabulous Post ..Discussion On Long Versus Short-Term Efforts =-.

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Jannie Funster December 3, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Lance, what an awesome-sounding project! I’m in.

Yesterday on my walk I took about 30 photos along the trail there was so much beauty everywhere, taking my breath away. A tree. A cloud. A squirrel. Just amazing.

What would you say was the best thing you got out of the workshop in NC, in terms of something that directly impacts your daily life now?
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Getting To Know Him… Getting To Know All About A Wonderful Blogger. =-.

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Davina December 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Raoka! I love it Lance — Random Acts of Kick Arse. When I say it I remember the Greek word OPA! What a fun picture you’ve got there. Something to look back on in the years to come. But… I bet you have a million of these now, right?
.-= Davina´s Last Fabulous Post ..Poem #2: Grandmother’s Spark =-.

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Hayden Tompkins December 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I love what you’ve said, Lance, there is beauty in your presence. And one thing I find so beautiful about your presence is your ability to be an extreme encourager. That energy is gorgeous!

P.S. It looks like you guys had a blast!
.-= Hayden Tompkins´s Last Fabulous Post ..Engage Your Life, Rock the Universe =-.

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vered | blogger for hire December 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Friendship IS beautiful.

I find that the winter season is filled with beauty. I see it every time I step out of the house.

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Angelia Sims December 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm

How awesome, Lance! You stepped out of your comfort zone and walked across the room. You ended up with wonderful new friendships and new LIFE. This is such a wonderful display of kindness and beauty in people, places, and things. Truly beautiful!

Thanks for sharing and inspiring!
.-= Angelia Sims´s Last Fabulous Post ..Timeless Angels =-.

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Evita December 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

And through this experience of beauty in your own life Lance, you share it with others which allows the beauty to grow in the world.

It was so wonderful to learn about your experience – what a blessing to be able to experience something so transforming in one’s life. Yes, anything is possible, and we are just scratching the surface of all the possibilities to come!
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Water – Life Through the Power of Thought and Intention =-.

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Barbara Swafford December 3, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Hi Lance,

I love how your started off this post. The quote is so true. There is so much beauty we can experience right before our eyes.

And look at you. Venturing to North Caroline to meet a group of strangers and spreading joy and love. Needless to say, I can understand why you all left as friends. You’re the greatest!

I’m looking forward to Wacky December. I’m guessing you’re gonna have fun with that one.
.-= Barbara Swafford´s Last Fabulous Post ..Save Time – Copy & Paste A Post =-.

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lisaschaos December 3, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I love when strangers turn into friends. 🙂 You are so full of such positiveness, it’s like a breath of fresh air!
.-= lisaschaos´s Last Fabulous Post ..Addy & Twister =-.

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Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings December 3, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Hey Lance! That was such a cool and unique interpretation of beauty. I just LOVE how each month we all interpret the theme differently. It really uncovers a whole lot of angles I would never have guessed. Congrats on the course. Sounds like you got just as much out of it as you no doubt gave.
.-= Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s Last Fabulous Post ..Random Acts of Kick Arse – Beauty =-.

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Yum Yucky December 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Dear Lance:

You’re cool and all, but that guy holding the rail is a hoot!

And speaking of beauty, I need some Chapstick right about now. Oh, and a comb. Oh, and some eyebrow pluckers… Oh….
.-= Yum Yucky´s Last Fabulous Post ..Stupid Diet Tip #429 =-.

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Marelisa December 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Hi Lance: The Beatles look so young in that video. The other day I watched the video for their song “Something in the Way She Moves” and I thought just what you say here: this is beautiful. It looks like you had lots of fun at the retreat! 🙂
.-= Marelisa´s Last Fabulous Post ..If you had five dollars and two hours, how would you make as much money as possible? =-.

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SpinDiva December 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Oh it must be have been a heavy Beatles month because I was listening to them sing “Imagine… imagine all the people, living life in peace.. .”

“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”

OK I couldn’t resist finishing at least the last verse. I love this song. Beauty –this is a fantastic idea. Now wackiness – wow, that has me thinking 🙂
.-= SpinDiva´s Last Fabulous Post ..988 miles, 96 hours, 5 states, 4 kids, 1 pick up truck = Fun! =-.

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Karl Staib - Work Happy Now December 3, 2009 at 10:03 pm

That sounds like a great experience. Did your work send you on this retreat?

The world can feel like such a cool and loving place if we allow ourselves these type of connections. You now have 6 new friends, possibly for the rest of your life. How cool is that?
.-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s Last Fabulous Post ..I Can Solve Your Problems – Cartoon =-.

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Holly Latty-Mann December 3, 2009 at 10:48 pm

It was such an honor to facilitate Lance’s workshop…7 amazing people with a common goal of going from great to greater – and not for personal gain but rather to empower and grow others. You all are right in your comments about Lance being a great force and source of encouragement to all. What you see him do in his Jungle 🙂 simply manifested in physical form that week in North Carolina. There were resultantly some amazing 180s in that room, and the love was as close to unconditional as it can get – now that’s real beauty. Michelle, you are so right about how our society has estranged us in many ways from the very thing we yearn for, and Lance has created a mecca for making meaningful human connections that inspire beautiful carry-overs of love and peace into each one’s everyday world. We become family that way. Holly

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Lance December 4, 2009 at 5:36 am

@Hilda – I love the pun! Hilda, this was the most moving and transformative workshop I have ever attended. I went in, not knowing fully what to expect, and and left with a new outlook on life! And now…bring on the wackiness!

@Ideas With A Kick – There’s something about making deep and meaningful connections, that is very much enveloped in beauty. I think, perhaps, that it is that when we are able to connect deeply – these connections feel so much more than superficial…and that’s something that we all deeply desire. Thanks for stopping by today.

@Lynn – Hi Lynn. The workshop WAS amazing, and really touched upon something deep within us all. Now…as for me being comfortable…hmmm…I’m not sure I was fully that! There’s a certain level of putting yourself out there, and that was challenging – especially at first. I do very much appreciate you kind words…

@Zeenat – Yes, all connections are beautiful, especially those that connect us to someplace deeper within. I think of having an old friend visit, and how that connection comes right back – because there’s been that deeper connection already, even if it was a while back. Having this opportunity to really experience new connections at such a “soul level” during this week was a powerful example of really, once we strip away that outer shell that we put up to “protect” ourselves, our true spirit can shine through. Zeenat, your spirit always does…and that is beautiful…

@Suzen – Hi Suzen. Today I am most definitely savoring the world – a part of the world I did not know until just a few short weeks ago. So, while today I savor these new relationships and what they mean in my life – I too think that this also directly leads to this idea of “saving the world” too. Here are a group of six other wonderful individuals who have a support system as they go forth and connect with what matters to each of them. And when we connect with what matters, our work is good…. Suzen, thank YOU for sharing that quote…as I read it over, it is so fitting here. And it’s so great to have you here, your presence is always so comforting…

@Erin – Yes, I think so too – that deep within each of us is that need to connect with other people. Erin, when our paths crossed, I felt that connection with you. Your words have touched upon what I always feel is something deeper. You write very much from your soul. Like as I read your comment here today, and am drawn into just your view from the window, and then how that leads into how important connections are for you. Erin, thank you for being here, and for sharing so openly and freely – and letting me see your beautiful soul…

@Tim – Hi Tim. This workshop was really an incredible experience. Holly, the co-founder, and leader for our workshop, has such a beautiful outlook on life, and that’s her spirit shining through. What she has created is like nothing I’ve experienced before, and so deeply good. Thanks so much for being here today!

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Heather Villa December 4, 2009 at 5:44 am

What a wonder and inspiring post! I believe finding beauty is all about stopping and smelling the roses. In the busy lives we lead we need reminders to take the time to appreciate all the special and really important people and things around us.
.-= Heather Villa´s Last Fabulous Post ..Not all Butts are the same. Mine is picky! =-.

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Lance December 4, 2009 at 6:42 am

@Trish – Hey Trish! Making those deep connections really is such a great place to get to. When this happens, it’s as if you see the other person in a new light…in a true light. And for that December theme…it should be FUN!

@Michelle – Hi Mish. This was definitely an “onion” moment, this week together. And it was all in such powerfully good ways. We have all these “tools” today. Computers. LCD TV’s. Cell phones. Wii. And if you look at the premise behind each of these – there’s a level of some sort of connection. Yet, it’s not deep and meaningful connection. We crave that connection, and yet we use these “crutches”…and it is not that same. These crutches end up isolating us, often. The exact opposite of that which we have a deep need for. And this workshop really went beyond all of that, and right to that spot where those deep connections are developed. Holly, our leader, does such a wonderful job of getting people into this place..and that was so beautiful to witness. And be a part of… So, thank you for this deep sharing, Mish. And happy cookie baking and sharing!

@Audra – There’s this fear of the unknown. And that was there – and I spent a lot of time talking with Holly, the program leader, ahead of time. I wanted some sort of comfort level, and yet still…going in, there was a certain amount of fear…and of not knowing how the week would play out. What happened, though, was really beauty unfolding right before my eyes, as we worked our way through this week, and developed a deep bond amongst each other. Know that I feel that way about you, and that I feel a deep connection…one that very much touches my heart.

@Elliot – Thanks much, Elliot. Thanks for sharing the Keats poem. There is a real link between beauty and truth…in both directions. And, no, I have not watched the film “Across the Universe”. I’ll have to look it up, thanks!

@Nadia – Hi Nadia. The word “belief”…yes, it does start with that. A belief in what can be. What I think of here, in context to this workshop – is that I’m sure that for everyone in this, there was a shift in beliefs, in believing what could truly be, as we progressed through the week – and as we drew closer together. Life is indeed beautiful, and Nadia, you always bring out that beauty. Always. And I too connect with that Beatles song…

@Megan – You make me smile, Megan! Okay, and then you make me blush! You are sweet and kind. And what you are saying about “what we see, we are”…Megan, this is so much YOU! You shine beauty, and that’s coming through so brightly here in this comment. It’s so much more, though. It’s what I witness in you always. So – everything you are saying here – I find very moving and touching. And you could so easily be saying this about yourself too. Megan, you truly do radiate joy and beauty! JoyGirl! is such a fitting name for YOU! You have made my day today…and I know you do this so much, for so many! So, know that I am deeply thankful for your words here today, and even more, for your true and caring friendship.

@Mama Zen – Thanks much! Beauty rocks, doesn’t it! And well…December now just has to be all sorts of wacky!!

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Lance December 4, 2009 at 8:04 am

@Hilary – Hi Hilary. What started as nervous energy, quickly turned into a very moving experience for everyone at the workshop. This was good change, most definitely. And speaking of change…it’s time to change focus to a bit of wackiness now, huh! I’ll be working on that!

@Lori – Lori, you are a sweetheart. You know, I see so much beauty in your comment here today. It shines of the beauty you reflect out into the world. It shines of your soul. It shines of YOU! Beautiful, beautiful you… And, hey…now I know your middle name too!! I can’t wait to see what kind of wackiness the month of December brings! (and you are so right – Sami’s brilliant mind has really produced something special!)

@Armen – Hi Armen. I love the take you have with teh empty bookshelf, and comparing it to our mind – where we leave space for new thoughts! There is so much beauty in that “newness”, in experiencing new things. And thank you! Meeting this amazing group of people, all of us strangers before our time together, has been such a wonderful experience!

@Jannie – Jannie! Awesome!! And you are choosing a great time to join in – I think “wackiness” is right up your alley! And to beauty, and what you experienced on your walk – I think it’s all in how we view our world. When we look through they eyes of beauty, we see beauty. You do, because you are beautiful from deep within. That shines through, always. And so, I know you see so much beauty in your world. Best take away from the workshop for me? Based upon direct feedback that was provided ahead of time, and our group work on developing action plans – one of my biggest take aways is for me to be more assertive. I’m working on that, and know there are people out there who care about knowing if I’m doing this. That last part is really such a big part, too – knowing others care about what you want to focus on…

@Davina – Fun word, isn’t it! I suspect Webster will be making an addition to the dictionary real soon!! The picture was fun, because the whole group dynamics was so fun! Life is what we make it…and we all have those moments from our past that stir up great memories. This will always be one of them!

@Hayden – Hayden, thank you so much for your wonderful words. YOU encourage!! You shine! And today you put a great big smile on my face!! And that gives me energy today as I start a new day. (and yes, we did have a blast, and created a special bond amongst each other).

@Vered – Friendship is wonderful! I didn’t go into this week thinking I’d come out of it with six new friends. So, what a beautiful unfolding of the whole week, and what it meant! And yes, winter is a beautiful season. We had our first snow of the year last night – and the white on the ground looked so calming and beautiful today. Thanks so much for being here!

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Lance December 4, 2009 at 12:18 pm

@Angelia – It WAS an awesome week! And I think it’s safe to say that all of us there stepped a bit out of our comfort zones…in very good ways. And seeing all of that unfold was beauty in action. Something you demonstrate, always…

@Evita – Evita, thank you! I really think you have a way of just seeing the good in everyone, and in what can be. For me, I would best describe that as you sharing your love and light while at the same time, unconditionally accepting the journey others are on. That is true beauty…and it shines so brightly from you! We are amazing beings, all of us. And when we are open to what can be, there is so many possibilities! And that’s both exciting and beautiful!

@Barbara – Hi Barbara. Beauty is there, within us. See it, and we see it around us too. This was just a great group of people, all open to what could be. And what developed from that was a close connection and understanding of each other. Barbara, thank YOU!! You have been such a wonderful supporter and encourager always… And now onto crazy, wacky December!

@Lisa – I love it too! So wonderful to see something like this unfold! Thanks so much, Lisa!

@Sami – Hey Sami! Look at all the beauty you’ve helped to unearth in November! And that it’s all interpreted differently, I think that pretty awesome! It just shows how we can really see beauty in so many different way. And I know a special person who shines her beauty in amazing way…YOU! Just watching what you have created with this RAOKA project has been beauty magnified!

@Yum Yucky – Dear Josie, you are definitely cool and amazing! My buddy on the rails…yep, he’s an awesome guy! Along with everyone else pictured – amazing souls, all of them! I’ll send you some chapstick…it’s mostly gone…but hey, friends share, right!!

@Marelisa – Hi Mare. I know!! They look like kids in the video!! Music is another beautiful thing, isn’t it. Along with really whatever we are open to seeing as beautiful. Like your smile…it’s always so good to see that on your avatar!

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Lance December 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm

@SpinDiva – That last line you shared …”And the world will live as one”…what a beautiful message of hope! And of what can be. Wackiness…yep, that has me thinking too!!!

@Karl – Karl, I found this program through an existing connection I already had with Holly, the co-founder and program leader. In fact, I interviewed her on my blog back in July. After that we talked several times about this leadership program. After those discussions, I chose to come, with the backing of the company I work for. It really is about leadership in all areas of your life, though. I think everyone who came would agree with that statement. Because, really – work affects home and home affects work. So, this was so good on many fronts…including that my company sent me! And yes, I now have a new group of friends – people who know me well, and I them. And that is very cool!

@Holly – Hi Holly, thanks so, so much for stopping in here today! The honor was really having you lead this program. Holly, you put so much of your heart and soul, not only into this program, but also into the participants. You care deeply, and that makes all the difference in the world! It was so great to meet you in person, and just see the caring growth you help so many with, myself included. And what a wonderful group we had, a group that evolved so much in just a few short days. And that’s you, Holly, sharing your deep love for people. I am the same person, and yet, I am different. And that’s because of YOU, and what you give so unconditionally! Thank you. And know that those two words, “Thank You”, really don’t do justice to what you have given me and so many others! And that is beauty. And that is you…

@Heather – Hi Heather. Sometimes we are in such a rush, we miss the beauty all around us, don’t we. I know that I do…all too often. Beauty is there, we just have to slow down so we can see it… Thanks so much for being here today!

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Cookie December 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I haven’t done a workshop like that in a long time. I think I’m overdue….
Wackieness, huh? I’ll have to work on that too!

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Jannie Funster December 4, 2009 at 4:28 pm

More assertive, eh? Well, well, well. I suppose nice guys could work on that a bit.

btw, LOVE your black and yellow “bumble bee” shirt in the pic above! So get out there and do some RAOKA assertive stinging.

🙂
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Getting To Know Him… Getting To Know All About A Wonderful Blogger. =-.

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Jodi at Joy Discovered December 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Hi Lance! What a great picture of you and your new friends! Great work putting yourself out there at the conference. It sounds like an awesome experience. I am totally impressed by how well you embrace life and making connections. You are such a gift to this world!
.-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s Last Fabulous Post ..Happy Thanksgiving! =-.

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Stacey Shipman December 5, 2009 at 6:29 am

Lance – I love weeks like that! Sounds like you had an experience of a lifetime (love the picture, awesome!) It’s amazing what happens when we truly allow ourselves to connect deeply with others. it does help us get out of our own way and recognize there is more to life. Thanks for sharing your experience!
.-= Stacey Shipman´s Last Fabulous Post ..“Me-Time” The Last Affordable Luxury =-.

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Lance December 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

@Cookie – Thanks much for stopping over today Cookie! This was such a wonderful workshop, too. Really, the most useful and relevant one I’ve ever been to. And what’s also pretty neat is how the program is being broken into different sizes, starting in the new year. So, there really can be something here for many different budgets and time constraints. If you are looking for something, I can’t recommend Holly’s program enough – it is so deeply good. And whatever you end up doing, just really listen to your heart…it knows…

@Jannie – Yep, I’m working on it! How about if I assertively thank you for coming back over…because I really appreciate all your support! How did I do, Jannie? Okay, and with that…I’m off to do some stinging. And, you are not the first person to call me a bumble bee in that shirt!

@Jodi – Hi Jodi. We did have the more “serious” picture too, but this one was just too much fun not to share! And I’m really finding that the more I do embrace life and her possibilities, the more life is beautiful and amazing! Jodi, thanks so much for being here, and for your kind and wonderful words!

@Stacey Shipman – In so many ways, this really was an experience of a lifetime. So many insights and just really, new ways of looking at life. The course was a leadership and self awareness workshop. And it was all of that, and then so much more. I’m still amazed at how much growth happened in those five days (both personally and as a group), and how much bonding within the group led to connections that went from unknown to deeply valued in a few short days. Stacey, thank you for all your wonderful support, caring, and friendship…

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Robin Easton December 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Dear Lance, this is so powerfully beautiful. To me, it speaks of the Love that is all around us if we but only reach out, open up and dare to connect with those around us. I have found that there is Love everywhere. It also speaks to me of the reality that we are more alike than we are different. Alike in that we all want to be loved, seen and appreciated. We really are much more alike than we are different, at least in the ways that truly matter. Your writing here is lovely and strips away barriers that so many of us create out of fear, habit or conditioning. You also show what is possible when we let those barriers down.

I would LOVE to do something like this. I am right now checking out the link you provided. Thank you dear sweet Lance for sharing such wholesomeness, such a sense of warmth and hope. You are a blessing. Much love and hugs to you. Robin
.-= Robin Easton´s Last Fabulous Post ..Lifting the Lid on Age and Death =-.

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Katie West/The Levity Coach December 6, 2009 at 6:35 am

Lance….you make me happy. This song makes me happy and you better better I am contacting Sami to be a part of next month’s RAoKA! There is a Rumi quote, “Let the beauty you love be what you do, there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Cheers to finding ways to live beauty in this world.
For me today, it is the newly fallen first snow, crafting for the holidays with my kids, and getting ready to make cookies together(all the while playing our crazy casio keyboard together putting it to all the random settings like the “Stayin’ Alive” tune set to church organ instrument. Good times!
May we all kneel and kiss the ground in celebration for our lives here.
.-= Katie West/The Levity Coach´s Last Fabulous Post ..Laughter Flash: Giving the Gift of Laughter 2009 =-.

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Lance December 6, 2009 at 10:27 pm

@Robin Easton – Robin, you always shine your beautiful love, and I am blessed to know you. When we can connect with those around us at a deeper level, and when we become love in action – love multiplies. And I really agree so much – at our core, we are so similar. There is a deep want for love, no matter what that outer shell is saying. This workshop really took us all to that core within us, and helped us to each connect more deeply with our own soul. Robin, this whole week’s experience was like nothing I have ever done before – in such positive and life-affirming ways. This was a leadership and self awareness program, but it just felt like so much more. Whether this is something you look into further or not, I’m so glad to hear you are checking out Holly’s site – what she has created is something that will always hold a special place in my heart…much like you do, sweet friend…

@Katie West – Katie…YOUR smile here always makes me happy! And really, your presence in my life makes me happy…or maybe even more…your presence touches my soul in beautiful ways. You shine such amazing beauty into this world. So, that Rumi quote is so fitting for you. I know you love what you do and I know that you also see so much beauty in all of it. That is something so worth kneeling to kiss the ground in celebration of! So, be you wherever you are right at this moment – with your sweet children, with your amazing husband, by yourself, working, playing, loving, living, goofing, hiding, jumping, whatever – I know that you are seeing the beauty in the moment. And I celebrate that! And I celebrate your beauty, shining through from your core…always…

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J.D. Meier December 7, 2009 at 3:37 am

Great point on leading with beauty from the inside out.

There’s a ton of beauty everywhere, but sometimes the ugly gets in the way. So a lot of times, it’s less about adding beauty, and more about taking some ugly away.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Lessons Learned from Guy Kawasaki =-.

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