“The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.” - Matsuo Basho
I love my Mennonite heritage. I love so many of the values that I grew up with; pacificism, collective communal good, the raise-the-barn-together mentality, food that schmecks, and gratitude for this amazing country that offered my ancestors a haven.
But intrinsic within that good guidance was also a little too much guilt, shame, sin, conditional love and w-a-a-a-a-y too much focus on suffering, as if suffering were something to aspire to. I know that life will kick me in the butt enough times, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to seek it out or focus on it.
And seriously? No dancing? Life is too short not to dance, sing and generally make a fool of myself. So, although I identify myself as Mennonite, it is as a cultural Mennonite.
Swimming my laps this morning (that sounds much more magnificent than the flailing reality, but still…I was in a pool & I was wet), I was reflecting on these past few days at the Saskatoon conference for the Travel Media Association of Canada.
As I splashed along in that oversized baptismal font, my brain fired up some new synaptic connections and revealed the commonality between my upbringing and a huge ballroom filled with PR people and travel writers.
There were no hammers issued at the conference, but there was no doubt that we were working hard to raise-our-collective barn in this crazy new world of facebook, video, twitter, print and whatever might be coming our way next.
In an atmosphere of heartfelt camaraderie we encouraged, cheered, and inspired each other as we discussed ideas of what had worked, what might work next and how we could all make it happen. It was a fabulous event filled with a can-do spirit that believes a rising tide raises all boats.
Fittingly enough we were in Saskatchewan, the very province that my Russian-born (and very Mennonite) mother grew up.
Thank you TMAC for the laughter, the dancing (!) and my community of peers.
And thank you, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for my mother, my roots and a chance to claim (and re-frame) the best of my heritage.