Is it Time to Combine My Hats?

It's interesting, I'm finding, what happens as I get older. I have all these different areas of my life, with differentiated to-do lists, email accounts, and connections associated with each one. When I was younger, they were all one. My friends all knew each other from high school, or from the camp where I worked, or the small liberal arts college that I attended. But with every passing year, it seems, the various aspects of my life have become more and more compartmentalized, requiring me to don different hats at different parties. 

As I become more and more clear about my mission in life, however, I'm finding greater ease in melding my pots. My non-native bilingualism blog about our journey of raising our daughter bilingually, for example, was always a process I felt needed to be dedicated solely to issues of language and child-rearing. The post I wrote on Climate Change, however, has turned out to be one of the most visited pages on that blog. And when I invited Citizens Climate Lobby members to my personal party to kick off my career in coaching, they, too, had a great time, and didn't seem to be bothered by these distinctions I'm noticing. 

Thus, I wonder, does my life really need to be so divided?
What would it feel like to let things bleed a bit?
Can I thrive in the messy, at least until it becomes less so?

2013 National Conference in Washington, DC

This Saturday, on my 40th birthday, I'm flying to DC with 5 other Portland locals, to lobby our members of congress to take action on climate change. As excited as I am to go again for my 2nd year, it's not about me, or even about the 5 others. We'll be joining over 650 other volunteers, who, over the course of 3 days, will be meeting with all 535 congressional offices (if you want to support this effort with just a few minutes of your time on June 23rd, it would mean so much to me and make such a difference! There is a Facebook event, too, if you're interested). Last year, there were 235 of us. The year before that, about 120, and one year prior, about 50. The first year, 6 years ago, there were only 4, and they were laughed out of congressional offices with their carbon tax proposal. This year, however, we have EPA regulations on our side, and a proposal that is appealing to both conservatives and liberals in how it doesn't grow government and benefits the economy. And we have two solid years of political will-building behind us to strengthen our cause. It's going to be good, even with Cantor's defeat.To be part of an movement with over 6500 volunteers worldwide who are creating the political will for a stable climate is one of the most inspiring and empowering things I've ever done--certainly something I never thought I'd be so excited to take on. 

But as I head into this week, aware of multiple roles, which hat do I don? As the Group Leader for our local Portland chapter, and the interim Regional Coordinator for the Greater Pacific Northwest, I'll clearly be representing Citizens' Climate Lobby at our National Conference. Sitting in the 6-8 offices of the congressmen and women, I'll also represent a committed citizen and constituent, educating our lawmakers on the difference they can and need to make for our world. But I wonder, is there room for me to don my coaching hat, the uniform that has me wanting to support and empower conscious leaders on their quest to mitigate climate change?

Being in 2 days of workshops and presentations with over 650 conscious leaders themselves has me quite excited at the idea of exploring this question. While I want to be respectful of the primary intention of the gathering, I am confident that there is a lot to glean from these leaders and the challenges they might share with me, as a coach, constituent, group leader and regional coordinator. Maybe this is my time to combine all of my hats, and create a new lens that supports the mission that we all share for a safe and comfortable climate?

This short inspiring film, filmed at last year's conference, might give you an idea of what lobbying in DC is like. I'm in the second row from the top in that big group shot, if you can find me...!