True Grit + Compassion = Quest 2015!


“Grit without compassion is just grind.” This is the first of several prompts that I will be blogging about this month as part of Quest 2015 – a program run by Jeffrey Davis and the Tracking Wonder team of extraordinary creatives who have helped me start my journey of writing this blog and, eventually, my book. You can find out more here. Over the next four weeks, I will have an opportunity to answer the prompts of twelve different visionaries as to what might be possible in 2015.

Jen Louden is the first to guide us on our way and she asks, “What would be most fun to create this year? How can self-compassionate grit support you in that creating?”

These are not the easiest questions to answer. I see myself wanting to create many things in my role as a Childbirth Educator for two different health care systems – but I’m also wanting to create in my own professional life. These two worlds are congruent and work well together, actually feeding into and off of one another. But the lines between these two worlds can get blurred.

Finding the right balance between the work I’m already doing in my field and the work I’m yearning to do as “Barb Buckner Suárez” is daunting. It means stepping into the spotlight, which you would think is not that big of a deal for me as I am an EXTROVERT! in every sense of the word. But there is safety and security is continuing to play it smallish. I write about vulnerability and encouraging others to embrace it rather than run from it, so the irony is not lost on me here.

I’m reminded of all the times I’ve purposely pushed myself off a cliff into the unknown – choosing a High School where I could reinvent myself, a University experience where I knew no one, leaving my hometown to move to Portland, OR as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, spending eight weeks in Costa Rica with families who spoke no English (and I spoke no Spanish!) – all big leaps into the unknown. Even my path to what I am doing now was a big, fat risk at the time as I had no training, no RN degree or certification and had never even had a baby myself!

Interestingly I haven’t done too much leaping lately. Little hops of presenting at conferences here and there maybe, but nothing that’s really made my heart pound. Claiming that I have something to share with the world is pretty big – but only if I actually find a way to share that message with other people.

So maybe, the start of this Quest 2015 means that I take a look at what I’m wanting to do professionally with the second half of my career. How can I best support the families that mean so much to me as they begin their own journeys of parenting? I can’t see myself not teaching – it is where I feel most alive – but maybe I need to think outside the box a little to realize how I can have even more impact beyond my backyard.

I think this will take tons of grit – it’s scary to jump off a cliff, but so very exhilarating! I’ll also need to figure out how best to support myself with compassion and get real about creating time and space for this big leap. I’ve been saying for a while that 2015 will be a big year for me – now I just have to start backing up what I’m saying with real action.

What would be most fun to create this year is the springboard for my big jump. I’d love to grow the numbers of people on the sidelines cheering me on as I step up to the edge. I need to have faith that there will be people who are excited to watch me jump – and who will also be ready to catch me if I fall too far, too fast! I’d love it if every one of my readers shared what I’m doing with someone who is somewhere on the spectrum of the pregnancy year – small baby steps up that side of the cliff. 

I will continue to blog about bellies, birth and babies here – but I’m also planning on blogging about my own Quest 2015. If you are reading this and are interested in what it’s all about – check it out and join me. 2015 could be your best year yet.

I love the idea of self-compassionate grit. How do these two ideas of self-care and courage apply in the journey that is parenting?


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