Pause Breathe Reflect

American Woman

Baskin, Louisiana, is deep in the rural south and home to just 250 people, including Lainey Wilson. She knew who she wanted to become after her family went to the Grand Ole Opry when she was nine. Another nine years later, she moved to Nashville to start her career as a country music artist, but record executives said she was “too country for country.”

She spent seven years struggling and feeling like an outsider but didn’t give up. Her story is a classic American “overnight success” story of grit and support. With $26 in her account, her first release, “Things a Man Oughta Know,” went number one. This year, she’s ACM’s entertainer of the year.

“Yeah, I know a few things a man oughta know / How to know when it’s love / How to stay when it’s tough / If you really love a woman, you don’t let her go.” – “Things a Man Oughta Know,” Lainey Wilson

It’s a song about character, integrity, and how we show up for each other. You can tell a lot about someone’s character by the company they keep, what they do when nobody is watching, and how they respond when they have a bad moment. 

Two years ago today, I was pedaling into Dubois, Wyoming, on my way to Washington, D.C. I rode along the Grand Tetons, on the KATY trail that hugs the Missouri River, and through Antietam on my way to the Lincoln Memorial. I saw yard signs promoting kindness and peace and others rooting for some guy named Brandon. I met people with insane wealth and others painfully struggling to be seen.

When we are suffering, we can see ourselves, as Lainey sang in Jelly Roll’s song “Save Me,” as a “lost cause” or “damaged beyond repair.” We might try to numb our pain or get so angry we want to burn everything down, especially when leaders and marketers aggravate our pain for their wealth. 

When I first saw The Lincoln Memorial, I was overwhelmed by emotions because, over my six weeks cycling from coast to coast, I had fallen more deeply in love with the perfectly imperfect woman known as America. Our ongoing political and social kerfuffles are moments to Pause, Breathe, and Reflect on whether we have the character not to let go of America’s promise or will we panic, wring our hands, and tap out during a challenging moment?

“I got a heart like a truck / It’s been drug through the mud / Lord knows it’s taken a hell of a beatin’ / A little bit of love is all that it’s needin’ / But it’s good as it is tough” – “Heart Like A Truck,” Lainey Wilson

It might feel like we’ve been drug through the mud, but we can come back together, making our scars a beautiful part of our history like Kintsugi and embodying Thích Nhât Hanh saying, no mud, no lotus

All we need is a little love, character, and adults who oughta know how to drive and not narcissistically steer us into a ditch.

Happy Canada Day. 🇨🇦

Happy Independence Day. 🇺🇸

Until next week, have fun storming the castle!


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