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                                       The Stakes are high…

Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. What a fascinating period the last seven days have been since I last wrote. Jury service & June, one of my busiest months of the year. During these recent days as we are all affected by changes in technology & there is a consequent effect on people. So, I have been in the real world. And after a meeting today with a lovely friend, one could suspect I am not alone…
As I suggested recently, it appears to me every single day people walk into our lives & for the most part they seem to have it together. They make small talk, they dress appropriately, they participate congenially, they listen politely, & once we finish they leave quietly.
This common scene is replayed over & over in our life & work & can be deceiving.  It can create an illusion of most people having it “together”?  But beneath the veneer of their well-behaved lives is often a swirl of brokenness, fear, & chaos. I call it our façade.
It reminds me of going to the airport.  You check in at the counter, get your boarding pass & then you head off to the security line. You know the drill.  Show your boarding pass, show your ID, pull out your laptop or mobile phone, take the change out of your pocket, show your boarding pass, pull off your shoes, take off your belt, take off your watch… FINALLY, you put your carry-on bag through the scanner.  There is an employee sitting there peering into your baggage.  In my case, given I also carry a personal defibrillator, this could uncomfortable feeling. 
The bags going through the scanner come in all different sizes & shapes & colours… much like the people we see every day in our own lives. Typically the thing these bags mostly have in common is they have zippers.  And those zippers are to ensure that whatever is in my baggage stays there.  We want to keep the contents private & safe. We do not want our stuff exposed.
I think this is generally how people feel. They want to keep the contents of their lives private & safe… zipped up tight. The stakes have never been higher.  If somehow we had a scanner at our work which allowed us to peer into the lives of the people who file into our lives, I am certain we would be shocked & overwhelmed. 
I think one of the most powerful things you can do is to be “real”. People do not expect you to be perfect but they do expect you to be “real” & credible.  People want to feel they can relate to you. Nothing accomplishes this more than a story from your own life. True authenticity is like a magnet which draws people to you. Accordingly, do not be afraid to unzip the baggage of your own life & honestly share some of your own struggles & challenges. 
All week long I think many people are beat up & put down. People will often hear the truth & agree with what you are saying, but will not know “how” to live it out in their everyday lives.  We need to be practical & specific in our speaking with people. 
As you meet the people you come across this weekend, I wonder if you will have a greater awareness than ever before what kind of baggage they are carrying.

And remember, the stakes have never been higher.
Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next week.

Kenn Butler
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