I recently went to camp. I felt like a kid again, bunking up in a cabin, like it was a slumber party. I over-packed my suitcase with all of the possible needs (e.g., flashlight, mosquito repellant, warm clothing, popcorn, s’more cookies, you know).
We campers gathered to learn from each other, through readings, creative ventures and strong offers of sharing on a multiplicity of topics. Each person I met is a visionary in their own rite, creating a legacy with their stories of strength, love, imperfection, creativity and compassion. We came from all walks of life and fascinating places. What we have in common is a raw humanness and creativity. None of us are the same, yet there is connection. We noticed and celebrated our differences. It was a gracious experience.
You might wonder, ‘How did this camp come about?’ The person who created this has a vision of community and knows the power within this. She sparks “gatherings” everywhere she goes (e.g., in her home town, online through groups, classes, readings, etc.). She is Patti Digh! She is a gifted writer and the author of many books. She is a daughter, wife, mother, sister and friend. She is an inspirer and a teacher, not just through her work, but in the way she leads her life: openly, honestly and with love and advocacy for humankind. I love the genuineness in her step, her honesty, sense of humor and her willingness to raise others up.
As I mingled about camp, at breakfast, during artistic sessions, walks around camp, etc. I would ask each person I met about their lives, their story and how they came to be at camp. At the center of every story was a link to Patti and how she touched their lives. None of the stories were the same, yet their feelings towards her were similar and full of being “noticed and cared for”
There were a few stories about Patti coming to do a reading.. She took the time when she arrived, to get to know the people who invited her, going to dinner and even losing time. It was the time and interest in their lives, they said meant so much.
Someone shared that they had met her casually through a friend. They were out walking around a lake one day and ran into her. Through that conversation, the woman was invited to run a 5 k with Patti and other women. Then this camper began to run in larger races.
Another shared that Patti took the time to call her daughter via skype, just to read her a story.
One camper conveyed that she had started following Patti’s written work and blog. She submitted art to be considered for one of her books. When this was accepted, she was thrilled and honored.
I met Patti at the American Counselling Association conference. She was one of the keynote speakers that year. I waited in a long line to have her book, “Life is a Verb” autographed. I was one among many, fascinated by her poise, southern charm, confidence and sharing. I did not realize at the time what would be sparked from this one interaction.
I really love “Life is a Verb” and recommended it to others. It is a book that is packed full of lessons and gorgeous artistic pages. It leaves one feeling inspired. I began to follow Patti online soon after reading this book. Later, when I was in transition with my life, I saw that she was offering a writing group called Verbtribe. This was an opportunity for me to work on my writing and potentially get a book published. Little did I know that it would go beyond writing. I would gain friendships, learn on so many levels, and I would land in her Verbtribe Camp. It is almost impossible to explain how much this has meant to me. Warmth and gratitude come close.
These are only some of the stories where Patti showed up in people’s lives in a loving and extraordinary way, doing things beyond what she had to, and demonstrating who she is.
Patti has made a difference to so many just in her way of “being” in the world. In return, many of these individuals have rippled their experience out to their circles, and so on, and so on.
This got me to thinking. We all have a circle of people around us. Some we know well, and others, perhaps not so much. The challenge that I offer to each of us is to take that extra step to do something nice, to lend a hand, to send a card, to smile at someone who needs it, to make a call, to create gatherings, to step outside of your comfort zone, you know, show up to the next level in our lives. We all have this capacity to make a difference and leave an imprint on those whose lives cross our path. What a wonderful legacy to live for each of us.
I am reminded to never underestimate the ripple effect that one person can make on the world. We all have this capacity! Thank you Patti Digh for manifesting this so nicely!
If you are interested in more information on Patti’s books, writing courses or offerings, see her website at: http://lifeisaverbcamp.com/patti-dighs-life-is-a-verb-camp-2014/ OR follow her blog at: http://www.37days.com/