soul pioneers & homesteaders

soul homesteading Lisa Lillibridge

Moving thousands of miles away from the security of family and friends, settling or cultivating unfamiliar land and trying to create something out of nothing is what many of our ancestors did in order to create a new life for themselves and their families.

  • PIONEER noun: a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area
  • HOMESTEADER noun: someone who acquires or occupies territory as a homestead

I believe my heart and mind are new territories meant to be explored continually—expectations managed as circumstances dictate. I’m a pioneer on my very own emotional homestead, granted the privilege to manage exactly as I choose.

Excerpt from The Homestead Act of 1862

Claimants were required to “improve” the plot by building a dwelling and cultivating the land. After 5 years on the land, the original filer was entitled to the property, free and clear…”

“The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. Claimants were required to “improve” the plot by building a dwelling and cultivating the land. After 5 years on the land, the original filer was entitled to the property, free and clear, except for a small registration fee. Title could also be acquired after only a 6-month residency and trivial improvements, provided the claimant paid the government $1.25 per acre. After the Civil War, Union soldiers could deduct the time they had served from the residency requirements.”

Finding ways to be grounded…

when the world feels like a batshit crazy place is pretty challenging. I don’t know the best way to access a more grounded version of myself, but I do know the quickest. When I’m acting childish and feeling like I deserve more (or less) of whatever—a little gratitude for all of the good things in my life seems to ground me the most.

Gratitude not attitude seems to do the trick.

grounded—mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious (Merriam Webster)

I’m not entirely sure about “admirably sensible” or “unpretentious“. However, feeling grounded, well, that’s worth a little exploration.

Being my own best friend…

and modeling that for my children is really important to me.  I find this concept to be really crucial in my adult development.  I didn’t really understand this until I was entering middle-age. As an introvert, I’ve always loved my time alone.  However, the concept of really being my own best friend took years to fully integrate.  Thankfully, Lisa and I finally have this all pretty well figured out now…even though she can be a total pain in the ass sometimes.  I love her in spite of her flaws.

self love definedmy own best friend lillibridge

My Positive Psychology teacher Tal Ben-Shahar frequently reiterates that we have to give ourselves “permission to be human”.  This doesn’t mean that we have to accept every one of our behaviors as—”oh well, that’s me” and not even try to self correct.  It does mean however, that when we screw up, we can take notice, mend the damage, alter our behavior, move on and try to do it a little bit differently next time.

As our own BFF we have to encourage ourselves just as we would encourage a friend who is going through some of life’s trials.

own best friend lillibridge dakota


I would love to cut short some of these challenging years for my three children.  The hard years when we often aren’t so kind to ourselves…teens and early twenties.  I guess some lessons are like learning to walk before we crawl though. We simply can’t shortchange the steps.

Some of our growth requires more years of life’s joys and sorrows coupled with the experience and wisdom that follows. Regardless, I believe we can start talking to our children at a very young age about being their own best friend, enjoying their own company and knocking back negative self talk.



“A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger

This morning I went to an “innovation breakfast” in Burlington, Vermont.  The speaker was Warren Berger talking about his book “A More Beautiful Question” inspired by e.e. cummings.   “Always the beautiful answer / who asks a more beautiful question.”

Here is the link to the author’s website:

I am looking forward to diving into Warren’s book.  Everything he talked about had no parameters—this is applicable to all of our relationships-kids, partners, friends, family or business.  Thematically I am a sucker for far reaching messages.

The discussion was great and it confirmed something I’ve been telling my kids, mostly my 14 year old daughters a lot lately.  The smartest person in the room is always the person asking the most questions.  Genuine inquiry is where true connection resides.  I also remind them that a few of their favorite grown-up women in the entire universe ask questions all the time.  These women don’t let things hang in a conversation that they are uncertain about.  They ask.  They don’t worry about looking foolish, or being too personal—they are genuinely inquisitive and interested in people.  These remarkable women are storytellers and have taught me so much about drawing people out and allowing people to feel safe to open up or share information.

I think this is a very good question to ponder today:

why do we quit asking so many questions


The funny thing about writing a blog…

is that I am usually writing as my own pep talk and hoping that something I have to say resonates with someone somewhere. I by no means have all of these amazing themes and techniques for living figured out. I am simply trying. Trying to make meaning. Trying to live my values. Trying to utilize my potential. And when that all seems to big to deal with—a nap, a beer and bad television are my best friends. I have come to realize that actually caring, trying and seeking some awareness of our strengths and weaknesses is a big leap of faith for our own growth and development. It’s a very ziggy zaggy path, but worth the effort every time.

John Wooden quote Lisa Lillibridge dakota 1966