I recently returned from an amazing experience at a “camp for creative adults” called Life is a Verb Camp, hosted by author Patti Digh.

I’ve been wanting to write about my experience, but have felt rather tongue-tied. You know how it is when you’ve been someplace that feels life-changing? Words sometimes feel a little stiff or not-quite-right.

But then yesterday I was on a call — this was a business call, mind you— and one of the trainers for this call, Milana Leshinsky, said, “I’m not too woo-woo to say I love you.”

And blam. I had it. Handed to me on the proverbial silver platter.

Because not-too-woo-woo-to-say-I-love-you kinda sums up not only how it felt to be at Patti’s Camp, but also where my focus is right now— which is encouraging people to create Love Lists for The New Black Friday.

It can be a bit awkward and clumsy to tell the people in our lives — family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances— how much we appreciate them. But like anything, practice is key. My mission is to help facilitate expressions of appreciation in as many ways as I can. Join me. Let’s practice together!

Life is a Verb Camp: A Tiny Slice of That Appreciation Pie
There are lots of stories I could share with you about Patti Digh’s camp. (And I will likely tell you more down the road.) But what struck me the most was how generous of heart and spirit everyone was.

From the moment I stepped foot on the grounds of Camp Kanuga, there was a sense that magic was afoot. And here’s what that “glitter-gleam” feeling was: every single person seemed to be on the lookout for what they could love and appreciate about the others. It was palpable. You could see it in people’s eyes: they were seeking out the best in one another. And they were verbalizing it and cheering it on.

This is the kind of world I want to live in all the time. And we can create it for ourselves, moment by moment. We just need to be on the lookout for what we appreciate and how to express it.

Paper Bag Love
One of the things I had prepared for my trip to camp was that I made “appreciation mailbags” for everyone who was attending. The idea was to have the mailbags out where folks could leave little notes for one another, signed or secret.

At the end of the camp, I was so honored to receive the “Golden Heart” Award. The truth is, I was just lucky enough to get to be a facilitator of so much love. While at camp, I got to mirror everyone’s golden hearts. Whenever we initiate things that help people love and appreciate one another, the ripple effect is amazing.

How to create some paper bag love at your house or office during the holidays:

  •     Purchase some colorful bags. (Try your local dollar store or make ’em out of brown paper lunch bags.)
  •     Find a central location in your home or office to leave the bags visible.
  •     Label the bags so that everyone has one.
  •     Provide blank paper, note cards, or stationery near the bags.
  •     Explain to everyone that these bags are for people to leave secret or signed notes of things they’re grateful for about the person, special memories, happy stories, inspiring quotes, etc.
  •     As the organizer, see if you can get the ball rolling by leaving at least one note or two for everyone. Model how it’s done!
  •     Watch the magic happen.

“The New Black” Friday: A mission to encourage more love and less stress at the holidays

Here’s another easy and fun way to express your love. Join us on Friday, November 28 for The New Black Friday. A bunch of us are spending part of the day at home, creating Love Lists (not shopping lists!) for our loved ones.

So listen, let’s not be too woo-woo to say I love you. Let’s say it in all kinds of ways to all kinds of people in our lives. Let’s appreciate one another with secret notes or singing exclamations. Let’s make Love Lists for family, friends, teachers, store clerks, and bus drivers.

Let’s say it now. Because life is fleeting.

Delights of the season,


Photo Credits:
Camp Hug with Melissa Dinwiddie: Kind passerby!
Golden Heart Award with Patti Digh: Basia Kruszewska
Paper Bag Love: Bo Mackison
Happy foursome at camp: Ren Allen

Mail bag idea credit:  Thank you to Jennifer Robbins for inspiring the mail bag idea. When I volunteered for the Brendon Burchard Group, Jennifer had us all create mail bags for one another. Yay for you, Jenni. You really inspired me!