As I set up my calendar for the month, I select a quote I’ve found that speaks to me. I write it in my planner and leave space below it to capture phrases I hear or read that speak to me and relate to the quote. I found this practice centers me throughout the month, and helps me be more present in my conversations, meetings, and readings. For May 2023 it was a word, not a quote that caught my attention, meraki.
Meraki means “doing something with soul, creativity, or love – when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing.” Here are quotes, lyics, and phrases that that caught my attention during the month:
- You are the only one who can assign meaning to your life
- Happiness is the feeling of contribution
- Life is a series of moments, each called now
- Allow the road ahead of you to speak louder than the one behind you
- It was a real God-wink
- A storm in a teacup
- Unpack your backage and hide it in the attic
- Lets dance in earnest in the moments of the here and now
- We pray, practice, and invite in all the transformation we’ve been craving
- Get out of your head
- What does this situation call for?
- I believe in kindness; also in mischief; also in singing—especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed
- Don’t fight back, fight forward
- We are not living our lives to satisfy others
- We are all different and all equal
- They need to get unstuck
- Be in use to others
- The courage to be normal
- Your dreams have plans for you
- Stand in your light
- Collude for good
- A little nonsense now and then is enjoyed by the wisest men
- Patience is a form of faith
- The life ahead of you is a blank page – and there are no tracks that have been laid for you to follow—there is no story there
- As long as you are dancing, you will get somewhere
- I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me
More and more, I feel so much around me is increasingly serious, to the point of overwhelming paralysis. Friends face severe, complex, life-threatening illnesses. The loss of women’s health rights and targeted aggressions against various minority groups. Gun violence now so normalized that the death of school children is not the lead news story. National elected officials more focused on working against something or someone than working for the country, gone is common sense and collaboration. War around the word.
As more darkness seems to take hold, I feel the call to bring more light into any corner I can. More soul. More creativity. More love. More meraki.
My hope is that with more meraki I can shore up those in need, make dents in large bureaucratic issues, and help improve the community closest to me. Perhaps my meraki will spark meraki in others, creating a wave of connection built through laughter, meals, hugs, cards, art, kindness, conversation, and compassion.
As I snuck in meraki, it’s been fun to see it reverberate. Positive begets positivity. Meraki showed up when a teammate said, “I’m grateful because no one’s invested in my leadership before.” Meraki generated an invitation to join an upcoming Eid celebration. Meraki caused women to share their appreciation for a leader, earning her a significant award. Merekai brought connection during a 10 minute call to a college friend struggling. Meraki resulted in leaders tossing around a fluffy, stuffed acorn in laughter at a planning session. Meraki inspired me to paint my parent’s laundry room after 40 years. Meraki broke down the stigma of a layoff when executive women spoke candidly to a small group of peers. Meraki led to prayers said and cards sent to those I know and don’t suffering from loss and heartbreak. Meraki led me to donate to a black, female candidate. Meraki caused a discussion on shoes at work leading me to bust out my glittery Converse high tops for the offsite. Meraki showed up as enthusiastic emails from my high school English teacher.