Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Catching up!

About a month ago, Cindy Lange-Kubick contacted me for a follow-up to her story about the Brave Project that she wrote last fall. 

Here's what she said, "Off to Bali:  Lynne McKnight Herr was in the midst of her Brave Project -- singing in front of strangers, camping alone, writing poetry -- when I wrote about her this fall. She’s a month out from her biggest challenge, a teaching stint in Bali. 'I am choosing to ignore the fact that yet another plane went down in the area, and I'm banking on Qatar Airways’ perfect safety record to stay intact throughout my trip.' We are, too, Lynne. (Note: She plans to take a “suspended yoga and aerial performance class” when she returns.)" 

 Since blog space isn't quite as limited as newspaper space, here's the "rest of the story."

I went to the week-long Advanced Circle Way Practitioner Practicum (AKA by me as Circle Hippie Camp) in November on Whidbey Island near Seattle.  Circle Way is a group facilitation process based on ancient tradition.  It was held at a beautiful Buddhist retreat center, and my first experience involved being "smudged" with sage smoke fanned at me with an owl wing. There were tree huggers (literally), a dancing nun who lives in a "conDO" vs a "conVENT", and lots of passing of the "talking piece" around our circle. As the only "techie" there it was extra special when my iphone decided to randomly shout out during a particularly contemplative, quiet time in the circle, "I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE REQUESTS FROM YOU!" Thankfully, my awesome new friends from Circle Camp are forgiving sorts and they let it go. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about the power of our stories, the importance of telling them, and the role of conflict in groups. (Conflict is called "shadow" in Circle Practice. I do a lot of shadow dancing these days.) 

I also threw a towel around myself and trekked through the frigid forest at AlderMarsh at 3:30 am to be brave and use the outdoor shower. Totally worth it to look up through the forest at the full moon while washing your hair with organic something or other while everyone who might catch a glimpse of you was soundly sleeping. 

I had a great opportunity to spend time before and after Circle Camp in Seattle with Catalyst friends Lisa and Rhonda. Knowing my fashion challenges, it was pretty exciting to be singled out by a high school student at Pike Place Market who was looking to award his "nice outfit" card to a random stranger as part of a leadership project. Rock on BP fashion consultants Kelly and Jackie!  :) 

Despite my unexpected fashion award in Seattle, I still have a ways to go before my photo spread in Fashion Forward Giants of the Great Plains. I'm still expanding my wardrobe, and wearing all kinds of skirts, boots and graphic t's. I even own a pair of cheetah print flats, bought on clearance for $8 at Payless. On days that are particularly challenging, I always wear dangling ear rings for extra courage.  

Some of you saw my FB post about my fashion faux pas.  Oh dear Lord. For several weeks (including my week at Circle Camp) I wore a gray and white scarf that I thought was decorated with abstract paisley patterns. Alas, when I laid it flat to iron it for the first time, I discovered it is actually covered in skulls.  

My friends found this hilarious as I am as far as you can get from someone who delights in skull accessories. (They also wondered aloud why on earth I would iron a scarf!)  ;) So, now I wear it intentionally any time I need a little secret bad ass street cred. Paired with dangly ear rings, and my cheetah flats, I'm generally unstoppable.

My new friend from torch singer class, LeeAnn, threw down a challenge and asked if I wanted to be brave and buy a Groupon for suspended yoga and aerial performance classes. While I couldn't exactly turn down a brave challenge, I suggested that we wait to take the class after I return from Bali since I tend to fall over doing yoga at the Y. ON THE FLOOR. (And it sounds like my legs could be ripped right off my body in this little gem of a class. I might need them to get around the village in Bali)!  

My mom reminded me that I wanted to join the circus as a trapeeze performer when I was a kid, so this is my big chance! I grabbed this photo of a performer at the Florida Ed Tech Conference I recently attended in Orlando. I wonder if it took her more than 4 lessons to get to that point? 

In the spirit of the Brave Project, I also took my first helicopter ride in Orlando with friends Lucas and Jackie. So awesome! And even this gal who gets motion sick watching something spin on TV didn't get one bit queasy!

The countdown to Bali is on! I leave next Wednesday, February 11, so I am under the 1 week mark at this point. The Indonesian Embassy accepted my collection of documents (including copies of my bank statement, a letter from my employer that I do indeed have a job both now and after I return, and two color photos) showing I have solid plans to return to the US and issued me a 60-day social visa in record time. It's firmly secured in my passport, which is hanging on the refrigerator ready to be held with shaky hands to get me both into Qatar for my one night layover stay, and into Bali for my month-long volunteer stint. 

I had my last Hepatitis immunization, and the blood test to show I don't have tuberculosis (which will be repeated one month after I return to make sure I didn't pick it up while there - eeek.) Szu Hau at the UNL travel med clinic told me that while it's great that I've been immunized for pre-rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, influenza, whooping cough, typhoid fever, tetanus, and hepatitis, I need to be extra careful crossing the street once I get there since car accidents are my greatest potential for injury and death. Some of you know I was hit by a car while crossing the street a few months before our wedding, so surely that lightning, or speeding car in this case, won't strike twice! Second only to the mosquito-borne illnesses I can't be immunized against!  LOL! She stocked me up on drugs to battle anticipated "Bali Belly" and enough malaria prophylaxis to get me through three weekend visits to area islands that are full up with mosquitos and gorgeous sunsets. And she threw in a Z-pack for good measure!

At last Saturday's Catalyst Grant meeting, I tried to put into words my progress on the Brave Project since our last meeting in October. It's hard to do. Because while camps and clothes and classes are all part of it, the Brave Project is so much more. There are welcome outside changes - easily evidenced in this recent photo collage. 

But most of the brave project changes are less obvious. Owning my story - even the parts I would write differently if I had the chance. Speaking up. Stretching the boundaries I knowingly and unknowingly had created for myself. Trusting more. Forgiving more. Letting my guard down. And, yes, having more fun. Even if it makes me feel like an awkward 48-year-old teenager half the time. 

That's it for now. There's packing to be done!


  1. I am looking forward to the next chapter of the brave project and the adventures you will share! You have had a pretty awesome adventure....keep looking forward to meet the next challenge. You are amazing, my friend!

  2. Wow... just wow! Godspeed and Safe Travels!!

  3. When we first visited about your Brave Project your trip to Bali seemed in the distant future, but now it's here! You have done so many very brave things already and you will continue to do more after you return from Bali. Have fun, soak in all Bali has to offer, be safe, and we'll see you in March!

  4. You are so awesome, Lynne! I can't wait to hear about Bali. Enjoy!

  5. I enjoy reading about your adventures. Safe travels!

  6. It's going to be a wonderful 'brave' experience, do enjoy every moment. Looking forward to reading the next chapter.

  7. February 11th is a good day. The Little one you got to know in a visit to the hospital without even meeting her face to face will be exactly 5 months old that day. I'm excited and energized for you. Wishing Safe travels.

  8. Good luck and safe travels! This has been an exciting year and many wonderful changes for you. I'm excited to see how this trip goes. You will do great things for all those that you meet!

  9. I look forward to your updates Lynne. Enjoy the journey!!