All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.
Saint Teresa of Avila
I recently traveled home to Texas to spend time with my dear family. This year has been full of change for every aspect of my life and visiting with those who help me feel grounded was welcome. It’s interesting those words, “feel grounded.” As I reflect on what that phrase meant to me on this trip, it meant feeling where I came from in my soul. Connecting to where I felt planted, to where I felt I had sturdy roots in order to grow up and off into branches.
One early morning, I went and crawled into bed with my Mom. See, my Dad leaves for work around 5:30am so when I woke up at 6am I knew there was an open space to curl up. Mom was up during this time as she usually is and then we both fell back asleep. When I woke up I sleepily looked across the room to the antique dressing table and saw a gift I had given her many years ago. It was a Mary Engelbirght plaque that said, “Home is in my mothers eyes.” There was something about laying right next to my Mom and feeling at home. She always has been home to me; the one place you can always go no matter what may be happening in life. I wish I could rephrase that plaque to say, “home is in my mother’s grace.”
There were several more experiences that I just wanted to snap up and file away in my memory forever. Kirsten Dunst’s character, Claire, in Elizabethtown, did this and I found myself mentally snapping up moments.
Several other experiences reminded me of my Texas roots, which means a great deal to those of us from Texas. There are many things that do not make me proud of my home state, however, there are several things that fill me with pride. Being mindful during my trip of the moments my soul recognized and reminded me of who I am, I took a mental snapshot…I wanted to be reminded and carry these things with me where I may be.
Community- This visit was shortly after the devastating tornadoes and hearing stories of people helping people and showing up to take care of each other were plenty. Seeing people greet each other with a smile, hold doors for each other, and generally show care for strangers. People stopping to help others with car issues on the side of the road or just the Texas courtesy to move over so others can pass. Even that Texas pride that we often are chastised about…everyone belongs and is proud to be a part.
Texas women- Not that women from other places are not strong, smart, independent or passionate but at home I am surrounded by women in my family and immediate circles who I am familiar with the stories of their journey and how they have overcome. I stand on their shoulders, as they are truly giants and if I ever doubt myself, their examples of leadership and life help me push through. I have a legacy to uphold and I am proud to do so.
Simple things in life- One day we floated the Brazos (well, maybe we were being pulled by my brother as the current wasn’t strong!) but that afternoon all was perfect in the world. Such a simple thing as sitting in a tube, in the middle of a river, clear blue sky above was perfect. Followed by a sunset at the farm that was unbelievable. I saw friends that have been by my side no matter what the drama and family that reminds you that you always have a place to belong. Stuff country songs are written from….another call to my roots. Have you ever taken in the lyrics of a Texas country song? Just speaks to my soul how they describe what these experiences mean to the heart.
So what does this have to do with change and leadership? It was a reminder that no matter how much I change and grow and move around in the world, my roots keep me true to who I am in my soul. Roots are the best friend that sings the song of your soul when you can’t remember the words. Roots nourish our soul so we can grow tall, bend with the wind, and stay true to who we are all at the same time. I’m a Texan and I come with a big heart and smile, legacy of strong women to live up to, community orientation, family and friends who stick no matter what, belief in the simple things as the best things, humbleness (don’t get bigger than your britches), and a faith that it will all work out.
How do you acknowledge your roots and refresh your soul during times of change?