Sunday, April 26, 2015

Auburn the Nomad and The Forgiveness Project

I'm landing in 4 different places in 3 different states these days, still looking for sustainable work.  Meanwhile, I'm fooling around with a few writing projects and a blog.

Also, Chuck and I have recently joined an international community of "forgivers" called The Forgiveness Project   This is a collection of people from all over the world, victims of war, rape, genocide, violent crime, all walking a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation with the "other." Chuck's story is soon to be included.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Auburn Branches Out

I took the ferry to the highway then I drove to a pontoon plane / I took a train to a taxi and a taxi to a train / I've been traveling so long / How am I ever gonna know my home when I see it again.
                                                                               --Joni Mitchell, Hejira, 1976

Auburn: I began a new journey with Chuck's blessing a year ago.  The trauma of Chuck's assault and the unspeakably difficult ensuing years of rehabilitating him to the best of my ability revealed fault-lines in my soul that reached much further back in time for me than 2009.

In five years, I have lived in over 16 places, carrying fewer and fewer possessions until I find myself down to a tent and an army cot, living quite peacefully concealed inside the trees and secondary growth of the country property we call The Ponds, going to sleep in the depths of green to the smells damp earth and sweet oxygen.  I take a canoe to my tent at night and canoe back to shore in the morning sometimes using only my bicycle for transportation all day. 

When I was 24, I was a reasonably experienced wilderness hiker and had planned to follow the spring up from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian trail on my own and then take a year living in a rustic cabin in North Carolina for $40/month and write my first novel. I'm spending time with that younger version of myself now to learn what it is she was trying to be about, even though she may not have known.  I have the strength and capacity now to allow her to be and to learn whatever it is she needs to learn. 

In a few weeks, I'll have my Ohio principal's license and a renewed Ohio teaching license, Language Arts 9-12.  I've performed live story-telling on The Moth Mainstage, interned in 5 different schools in Ohio and Ann Arbor, Mi, completed 30 more graduate education hours, writtenpiles of papers, applied for dozens of jobs and interviewed for three.  

I've sought and received a great deal of sustaining wisdom from all kinds of people, places and situations. 

The friendship with Michael Ayers faltered though we all meant well.  In the end, Chuck and I were seeing evidence of our grace being mis-used, and, although we had knowingly signed up for a certain amount of that, wisdom said "Close the door."  It may be that Michael is back in jail for a series of parole violations, but we're not certain and we no longer consider it our business.  

We have closed the building on Grand Ave where the assault happened and we've given the keys back to the bank.  

With a ceasing of all this effort to somehow redeem the incalculable losses through "saving" the building and "saving" a restoration process with the assailant, I, for one, felt the full, unmitigated weight of all the loss; the pain was intense.  But in a very short amount of time, it lessened and I began to feel darkness and complication leaving me.  I am healing on some new level.  

Chuck and I are still speaking in different venues and doing a bit of work here and there to keep Chuck Sandstrom Enterprises going.  Our love abides. 

Love abides. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chuck and Michael Ayers met in person today for the first time

Chuck:  I was glad to meet with Michael today.  We were good friends immediately.  And I expect to be a great help to him as he will be a help to Auburn and me as we deal with our stuff.  I am very grateful for Michael and Erica and look forward to our growing relationship with them.  

Auburn: I guess the most striking thing about it for me was how "normal" we  were: two families at Cracker Barrel having a meal.  There were a thousand things to discuss, family members to ask about, plans to make.  I felt INSTANTLY at home with Michael.  As I said to Erica, "I'm just not going to be able to hate this guy."   He's good-looking, open-faced, bright and well-spoken.  He is very involved with supporting his family now and has been getting up to Michael Jr.'s school every day, making sure he does his homework.  He has completed a lot of college level business courses, is getting his trucking license, and has a real fire in his belly to do the right thing in every way for everyone.  Chuck and I went with an attitude of wanting to be helpful to Michael, but it is very clear that Michael has a burning need to be a help to us.  Michael and Chuck plan to get together and attend church and 12 step meetings together.  Chuck says, "I want to be the best friend Michael has ever had." They're going to be an odd couple.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Have You Made Room For Forgiveness in Your Business?

An entrepreneur's response to Chuck's presentation.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book the Sandstroms for a Talk or Workshop
We offer services in a lower fee range for friends within reasonable driving distance.  We also accept honorariums and free-will offerings from smaller non-profit and faith-based groups within reasonable driving distance.