I write a lot, but writing about myself is proving to be quite a challenge. This is my third, no fourth attempt, at writing this. I promised myself that whatever I wrote today would be it. So, let’s take a deep breath and just let the fingers type away. Here we go. I am…
A supervisor of mine once looked at me and said “Kerry, you are such an enigma”. I don’t think it was meant as an insult or compliment but just a neutral statement. And, I get it.
I love to dance but clapping to the beat of a song is beyond me. I really do march to the beat of my own drum – not because I am aloof or do not consider others – but simply because I can’t feel or hear the beat that everyone else does. At concerts or groups where everyone is clapping, I hear and feel something and clap away, only to look up and find that I am completely out of sync with everyone else. Joining a drum circle is always an interesting experience.
I feel just as comfortable in drum circles as I do in courtrooms, in yoga classes as I do in teaching a class, in silent meditation as I do in public speaking, by myself and up on stage – which is to say that I am slightly uncomfortable in each one but I am okay with, and sometimes thrive in, this slight discomfort.
My LinkedIn profile reads World Explorer, Podcaster, Writer, Lawyer, Teacher. As I typed them in my profile, I remember thinking they are just labels and questioning why we need to be labeled. Yet, I spent several minutes wondering about their order – should it be: Teacher, Podcaster, Writer, Lawyer, World Explorer; or Writer, Teacher, Podcaster, Lawyer, World Explorer. Should I remove them all? I must admit I had fun typing “World Explorer” so that one went first. If I were Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City, I would write an article titled: “Is it okay to be label-less in a labeling world?” In the end, these are all things that I do and labels that I am called.
I love connecting with people but I am shy and awkward when I meet people or groups for the first time. The first week of a new job was always daunting, not because of the work but because of my awkwardness and shyness. Co-workers went from thinking I was very quiet in my first week to wishing that I would stop talking a few weeks later.
I can be silly, often seeing the Saturday Night Live version of moments as I am in them. Yet, when I first meet people, I can come across as serious and a bit standoffish. And, when I do tell the jokes that are inside my internal SNL reel, they fall flat. (To all the comedians who make us laugh – you’re amazing! You give people laughter, I can’t think of a better gift.)
I love my family and community but I live a somewhat nomadic lifestyle away from family with a constantly changing community.
I am both sides of the persistence coin: determined and stubborn. I am often easily distracted and prone to procrastination. Yet, I am often so focused and productive on a project that I literally do not see or hear someone standing right in front of me, which completely befuddles the person standing there, especially when I scream when they tap my shoulder.
I am carefree and aligned with positive energy, self-love, and collaboration; yet, I struggle with feelings of not good enough. I am fiercely competitive with a bit defensiveness. Or, is it fiercely defensive with a bit competitiveness? The times that I step into self-love, the defensiveness and competitiveness both go away. In counting steps, wouldn’t it be great to get 10,000 of these self-love steps a day?!
I believe in self-empowerment, “hear me roar”, and not worrying what others think about me as long as I am being true to myself. Yet, in writing about myself, I feel awkward and off-balance, going back and forth between fearing that I may sound pretentious and not caring how I sound…but being honest, I know that I do.
I feel joy when cheering on others and the beauty inside of them. A shared laugh with another is the purest joy.
With all these inner inconsistencies swirling around, when I watched a video of Oprah giving a commencement speech, I was both inspired and confused by a question she asked the crowd. The question, she explains, is the most important question that we each must ask and answer for ourselves: Who am I?
After some soul searching, personal development work, travels, ups and downs, failures and successes, love lost and love endured, here is what I now know: I am Kerry. After years of trying to define myself and reconcile all these different traits, I am letting all the trying go and settling into Just Being.
So, who am I?
- Labels held in the past: amusement park worker, telemarketer, hospital janitor, retail salesperson, volunteer, student, traveler
- Hats I wear: lawyer, ESL teacher, podcaster, and writer
- Roles I hold most dear: wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend
Yet, the best answer – the only answer – to this question is: I AM.
I am okay with enigma. In the mystery and the quest to know one’s self are living, learning, loving, and laughing. And, in all of that are me, you, and our human connection.
Silver Lining Moments is about expanding love, light, and laughter, one person at a time, one story at a time, one Silver Lining Moment at a time.
The idea for Silver Lining Moments first came to me while I was working at a law firm in 2003. It got pushed under the rug, or rather, the legal pads, legal files, and demands of a legal practice. In November 2012, I had my fifth miscarriage. On January 1, 2014, my second husband left and wanted a divorce. These two losses were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I couldn’t get up and keep going on like I did with previous losses. So…
In February 2016, I left my law office and headed out on what I call my PAUSE & RESET Journey. I had two simple goals: (1) pause and reset my life, and (2) expand the love and light in the world while having some fun.
I volunteered with disabled children, as an English tutor with The INEB Institute’s School of English for Engaged Social Service, as a retail clerk at an Oxfam charity store, and as a field worker at organic farms. I traveled to India, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, England, Scotland, France, Germany, China. While in China, I met my husband, Rob. Since then, we have traveled to Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, Netherlands, Greece, and Albania with stays in our respective home countries: United States (me) and United Kingdom (Rob). In each place, with my initial awkwardness and fears, I met new friends, enjoyed new experiences, saw so much good, love and light. And, I danced and shared many laughs!
While in Thailand, I got a very clear vision of my purpose and passion in life.
This, right here, is the backbone of Silver Lining Moments.
No small vision. The how and the means to do this – well – I am trusting that those will come to me – and they are. When I have an inspired idea, I take whatever action I can at that moment. At this time, Silver Lining Moments includes:
- Silver Lining Moments with Kerry Podcast
- Silver Lining Moments: A Practice of Gratitude & Resilience
- The Being Journals
- Silver Lining Moment Gatherings & Workshops
- Host of Integrative Lawyers of the World Conversation Series created by J. Kim Wright and the Integrative Law Movement.
Future Projects: Dreams to Be Realized
I have ideas for future projects: (1) podcast and short videos showcasing people from around the world who are living in sustainable ways, (2) podcast and videos exploring the people who positive climate action will negatively affect and alternative life lines for those people; (3) a video series modeling and facilitating respectful conversations on social topics; (4) the Connected Conversation pages & list topics (from the BEING Journals) being used in a conversation project with those in nursing homes and care homes; (5) writing novels and screenplays, (6) creating and facilitating retreats; and, (7) finding the SILVER LINING MOMENT in each person and each project. I write these here as an invitation to smart, creative, and kind people who would like to collaborate with me on projects that heal the world. If this sounds like you, contact me here. I need all the help I can get!
What’s a Silver Lining Moment?
Just like every cloud,
every moment has a silver lining.
When we glance at a cloud with a silver lining, we mainly notice the cloud—the silver lining appears to be a small, thin lining around the cloud. But, when we look at it, really look at it, we see that the silver lining is the light that supports, surrounds, and fills up the entire space behind and around the cloud. The silver lining isn’t a small lining; the silver lining has no bounds. The cloud is small. Clouds will come and go; the light is constant and is always there.
In life, we all have positive moments and negative moments; moments where love and laughter permeate our very being and moments where we are pulled down in despair, anger, frustration or sadness; moments where we feel connected and alive and moments where we feel alone and isolated. In these dark moments, the light is there even if we can barely see its flicker. When we focus on the light – the lessons learned, the friendships formed, the beliefs renewed, the love given, the nights held-on through, etc. – no matter how small it may appear, the flicker steadies and the light shines brighter. The unbearable moments become bearable.
Just as with the cloud, the dark moments are blips that move away; and, when they do, we grow in the light.
In my personal life, I have gotten through some very hard times by looking for, and focusing on, the Silver Lining Moments. Sometimes, I felt like the Silver Lining Moment was a rope that I was hanging onto for dear life as it pulled me through a dark time. Other times, the Silver Lining Moment pushed me through as I dug in my heels, resisting growth or change. Each time, seeing the Silver Lining Moment helped me see the light in others and in myself. In seeing this light, I felt lighter. (This sounds so obvious but sometimes in a dark moment I have to remind myself of this.)
Heart-shaped openings of light:
Sometimes the light through the clouds is a message of love reassuring you that you will be okay.
Seeing the Silver Lining Moments does not mean ignoring the problems, darkness, and hardships, or pretending they did not happen. It is not about minimizing the trauma, loss, or grief. It is not about being naive or looking through rose-colored glasses. It is looking at these moments, working through them, and knowing that you will be okay because you are more than the problem or darkness; you are the light.
A Silver Lining Moment takes many forms:
- A lesson learned
- A serendipitous coincidence
- An act of kindness
- An unexpected good out of a bad situation
- A good laugh
- A joke from the difficulty of an absurd situation
- A sense of empathy and compassion
- A renewed belief in humanity
- A community coming together to help one another
- A lifelong bond formed from having gone through something together
- A positive change in someone’s behavior or attitude… maybe even your own
There is simply no limit on how Silver Lining Moments show up. But, they always do because Silver Lining Moments, like the light behind a cloud, are always there.
No matter the form, recognizing and celebrating the Silver Lining Moments develop gratitude and build resilience:
for feeling the warmth of the light (in whatever form)
shining on you just when you needed it;
from the knowledge that you can get through the
dark moments because you already have.
In your gratitude and resilience, you are intensifying the light in your soul.
So, what is a SILVER LINING MOMENT?
It is anything that reminds you of the good in yourself, the good in others, or the good in the world.
It is that love and kindness all in one. It is the light within humanity’s soul.
As our light shines brighter, the darkness gets smaller.
It is that simple.