Last week Anne Lamott discussed her new book Hallelujah Anyway at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California. A Great Good Place hosted the event; I took some pictures (that you can see here).
I was excited to see Anne. In 2014 I was on the other side of the country when she visited Oakland. I wrote a meandering blog post that referenced a few of her books and avoided any mention of my impending divorce. Last week, I had already started reading her new book about “rediscovering mercy” when I noticed that I was one of the only men in the audience. It was shocking.
I am often one of the only men… or one of the only white people or one of the only people with a disability. I often seek activities where I will be an outsider, but I feel like a visitor. The Lamont event was different. I did not think I was going to be an outsider.
Where were the men?
Why do I often feel comfortable being an outsider?
What is the cost of being a outsider?
For a week after the event, I struggled to discover the radical self-care that Lamott addresses. I like being different, but I do not always know my place. In 21st Century terms, I don’t know my “personal brand.” Now that I have had more time to reflect, I returned to a passage from Einstein about everything being connected. “Everything slows down when we listen and stop trying to fix the unfixable.”
Perhaps there is nothing to fix, except for my perspective that I am an outsider. We all belong, because we are all connected… if we just slow down enough, we can see it.