Posted by: julia
on Jan 14, 2017
It’s taken me a couple extra weeks to actually write this down in any coherent way, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my intentions/resolutions for this 2017 year, and I think they are finally coming into focus. I think I am coming to accept that this year is *not* a year for proactively taking on new big challenges and aspiring to grander activities; I still have more recovery and processing to do before I feel like I will be “free” enough to seek out and accomplish big projects or big changes to my intentional life design. I still do feel a pressure to accomplish and help (help people, help our country, help change the world to be a better place) but I also feel a resistance, a need for taking my time and continuing with the self-care (which is mostly not physical anymore, which makes it a little more complicated). I think it is so important to be politically active and make my voice heard and help others make their voices heard too, but I still have to be conservative with my spoons so I don’t burn out or fall into despair and depression. So I want to focus on “small ball”, by which I mean working at a more local, personal level to live my values and operate as the kind of person I want to be in my marriage, my family, and my communities. I want to be a role model and really commit to the idea of “be the change you want to see in the world”.
So what do I believe in? What are my values? What kind of world do I want to live in? Maybe it would be helpful to list some of them for reference.
- I believe that people are more important than things. I prioritize spending time with people and making them happy over most everything else.
- I believe everyone—yes, everyone—has equal value and importance. Like Jewish tradition teaches, saving one person is like saving a whole world (and therefore hurting or destroying one person is like hurting or destroying a whole world.)
- I believe that for the most part, diversity and differences make us stronger and more interesting and should be celebrated and eagerly sought out, not ignored or devalued.
- I believe in community and collaboration, because we are all connected. I think it does indeed take a village to raise our children and make our neighborhoods clean, safe and nurturing.
- I believe that people are intrinsically good at heart and have the same basic needs for respect, safety, love, connection, comfort, creativity, meaning and purpose.
- I believe we humans are the stewards of this one unique planet Earth and it is our individual and collective responsibility to live in a way that supports and protects our global environment for ourselves and for all future generations.
- I believe in tikkun olam, the healing of the world, and in partnering with each other to make the world a better place for all, not just some.
- I believe in justice and the application of appropriate consequences for wrong actions, not as punishment but as encouragement and scaffolding for learning how to do things right in the future.
- I believe in peace.
- I believe in treating others as you would like to be treated.
- I believe that each one of us has amazing gifts and important stories to share, and that we should both share our own gifts and stories and take the time to appreciate each other’s gifts and stories.
- I believe in optimism and hope, even in the face of difficulties.
- I believe in honesty.
- I believe in self-reflection and personal growth, because the more we understand ourselves the stronger and more resilient we get and the more we can empathize with/connect to other people.
- I believe in treating others (and myself) with kindness and respect.
- I believe in play and creativity and trying new things.
- I believe in being of service.
- I believe in the “oxygen mask theory” where you need to take care of yourself first in order to then take care of others.
I’m sure there are more things I believe in, but this is a pretty good list for now. If I can keep reminding myself to live my life according to these beliefs I think I’ll have a successful year.
Posted by: julia
on Sep 14, 2016
Tagged in: wrestle
, identity work
, Burning Man
Well well, it’s been a while, eh? Rest assured that the delay was not due to lack of things to report on, but as usual that there were too many distractions. Josh and I went on a trip to Ashland (yay Shakespeare!), the kids went back to school, and mostly what kept me away from the computer was the usual time-and-energy suck of getting ready for and then being at (and now recovering from) Burning Man. Anyway it is clearly time for some updates. Maybe not ALL the updates, as the title of this post seems to promise, but at least a bunch at once.
Patient Patient Update
So how has it been going for the patient patient, you might be wondering? Well, I’m happy to report that for the last few weeks I have no longer felt like a patient, (which is probably why I stopped updating so often). In fact, I am feeling pretty strong and healthy, all things considered, and almost entirely back to a normal-to-me level of activity. Actually, as of around mid-August (when I was approximately 6 weeks away from the reconstruction surgery), I was feeling like I was mostly recovered, at least as far as standing up straight and using/moving my body. (I was still dealing with somewhat lower energy levels, which mostly made me want to nap more often.) I went to a follow up visit with Dr. Sbitany on August 19th where he basically told me that I looked great (from his “proud of my handiwork” point of view) and I could do whatever I wanted now with no more restrictions. He encouraged me to massage the scars and scar tissue and we talked about the final “clean-up” surgery (in which my areolas get made circular again and various lumps and bumps are addressed). That final surgery sounds like it will be relatively minor and not require a hospital stay or drains or a long recovery time or anything. (Whew!) I have yet to schedule that surgery but am hoping it can be some time in early November (since I’ve already hit my deductible for this year).
on Jan 13, 2016
[Well, I meant to get a post up about my New Year’s Intentions last week and then I got clobbered by the news about needing chemo treatments. I’m still reeling about all that, but at least it helped clarify my intentions. Anyway, onward.]
Last year I intended to trust more, and while that was certainly a challenge (one that will always be with me), I think I did do more trusting. I especially practiced that surrender to trust that comes from overwhelm...there were too many times where my usual plan-ahead, multitasking, project manager mode just wasn’t possible so I had to get comfortable with triage and just-in-time problem-solving and with trusting that everything would be okay. And it generally was, so trust was easier.
This year, it felt harder to pick an intention, largely because there was so much chaos and uncertainty swirling around me that it felt somewhat self-defeating (or at least overly optimistic) to set an intention. I did come up with some personal projects I wanted to commit to: blog more, start yoga again, start using Instagram again, and of course that perennial classic, FINISH THE DAMN BOOK. But though I have started several of those projects already (oh hi, Parentheticals!), I am also vividly aware that any and all of these are likely to sink with barely a bubble into the murky swamp of discomfort and depression as things continue to evolve with my cancer saga (not to mention all the other life drama). Yes, the year is still young and there’s plenty of time to start things anew or continue slogging away at things; but I think the only things I can really commit to are being gentle with myself about expectations and settling into whatever pace I can, even if that pace is herky-jerky and wildly inconsistent.