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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    camp—it’s
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...
    Readmore...

Parentheticals

A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.
Tags >> intentional life design

Becoming an Introvert

Posted by: julia

You know what’s weird (besides Leap Day)? I think I’m becoming an introvert. I know, I know...those of you who have known me for more than, let’s see, 30 seconds are probably snorting liquid out your noses right now at the suggestion. Believe me, it’s tripping me out too. Me, an introvert? Me, the one who loves all kinds of people and their stories, who is perfectly comfortable in a crowd, throws big parties, loves a good gabfest with friends and will happily start chatting with complete strangers? The one who’s trying to create a social movement around claiming one’s authentic, true freakiness and broadcasting it to the world? Please to explain, I hear you saying (or perhaps sputtering, if you haven’t gotten the nose-liquid thing under control). Ok, let me present the evidence for my outrageous claim:

1) I spend a lot of time at home, by myself, doing solitary things like staring into my computer or iPad, or puttering around the house in a never-ending effort to control the clutter that threatens to invade every surface. Ever since we downsized (and finally let go of) our entrepreneurial efforts at running a small business last year, I don’t go to an office anymore, and I don’t go out to client meetings or networking events. Especially since the beginning of the year, I’ve been increasingly serious about the pursuit of my creative dreams, including devoting large chunks of daily time to my writing (though apparently not blogging, I hear you say. Ok, fine, you got me there. Now stop poking and pay attention.) Writing, as I’m sure is stunningly obvious, is generally a solitary activity. It requires dedicated chunks of time, quiet (or at least no un-chosen audio distractions), focus and lots of checking Twitter and Facebook staring off into space. If it wasn’t for my kids and their activities, my occasional volunteer activities or the need for groceries and self-care appointments, I might spend days in a row here in the same couple of rooms, just me and the computer (and now, the cat, because every writer needs a cat). Ok, yeah, Josh is often here too, but he’s usually staring at his own computer. And I’ve grown accustomed to that. I like it. I like my house (unless it’s especially messy) and my computer and my writing time. Sometimes I get irritated when I have to leave and go do other things, even the ones that are fun.

2) I’m having an increasingly hard time with communication, e.g. using the phone or responding to even the relatively reduced amount of email I get. I used to be really good about proactively reaching out to friends and family, checking in and making plans, but these days, I often put it off or at least don’t prioritize it. Relationship management is overwhelming now in a way that it didn’t use to be, or at best it’s a lot less attractive to me. Even Facebook interactions (which used to be a great “quick hit” of connection and catch-up with my various networks) are sometimes so overwhelming that I ignore social media for days at a time.


Instead of making specific resolutions this year like "walk more/eat less" or "write every day" (though I have some of those too), I have decided instead that what I really want to do is set an overarching intention for the entire year ahead. In that spirit, then, I declare that 2012 is going to be the Year of Practice. It will be the year I stop planning to do things, and do them: I will marry epiphany to action. It will be the year I put into practice all the things I have learned about myself and what makes me tick, and about what I want and what makes me happy. Practice is my mantra this year, in both senses: practice in the sense of non-finalized, open-ended, continual experimenting with things to see if I can get them better, and Practice in the sense of a regular repetition of specific skills over time. I will practice creating Practices for myself: a Writing Practice, a Happiness Practice, a Parenting Practice, a "Be a better friend/wife/tzaddik" Practice, whatever.

The thing that's important to remember about practice (hey self, I'm talking to you) is that it's a journey, not a destination. I'm not resolving to achieve something specific; rather, I'm intending to continually keep myself in a rhythm of regular involvement with the things I've prioritized. I am hoping that thinking of my life as a practice will help me strike a healthy balance between ambition and forgiveness, because I need both. Yes, I want 2012 to be the year of continually transforming intention into action, but I will also keep compassion for myself and not beat myself up for the occasional slowdowns or wrong turns or mistakes (because after all, it's only a rehearsal, not the final performance). 

So there it is, for the record. I'm done with pausing, I've got my priorities (at least temporarily) sorted out, and I'm ready to practice. I will train myself up and get myself in shape for the long haul of the happiness marathon that life should be (and hopefully will become). Wish me luck.


I’m sitting on the couch of a rented house, looking out over the gray and foggy ocean out here in Stinson Beach. I’m here with my extended family on our annual holiday vacation, and I’ve finally found a moment of calm in the midst of the competing demands on my attention to sit down at the computer and start my ritual of year’s-end reflection.

So what was 2011 like? Well, just like every year, it was a continuation of many of the previous year’s patterns and issues, mixed up with some new influences starting up and some new patterns which began to coalesce and become clearer as the year ripened. If forced to summarize (which is kinda the point of this type of blog entry), I would say that this past year was the Year of Becoming. I started out the year feeling like I’d been doing a lot of wrestling with mid-life crisis and identity issues, and I was getting more optimistic and clearer about where things might be going, but I still wasn’t feeling totally crystal. And now, at the end of 2011, surprise! I’m still not totally crystal (are we ever?), but things are feeling more solid now—or at least, less like a crossroads and more like the next leg of the journey.

There’s been a lot of identity work and a lot of happiness work this year, epitomized by a lot of processing changes in career and desired direction(s) for how I spend my days. At the beginning of 2011, we were dealing with the scale-back of Archer Web Solutions; here at the end of 2011, we’ve just finally closed it down for good. I’ve retained a handful of clients for whom I’ll still do occasional web site maintenance or consulting work, but as an individual freelancer rather than as a business. Josh has pulled out completely (though thankfully he’ll always be a resource for me to help troubleshoot when and if I need it) and is looking ahead to his next venture, Iocari Games. With AWS finally about to be in our rear-view mirror, I feel like I’m finally beginning to get some perspective on how the four years or so of effort, activity and meaning that our business represented fit into my overall life story arc. I’m grateful for all the lessons that our business taught me and for the epiphanies I gleaned from our challenges and triumphs, and I’m just now, finally, finding myself able to unclench and let those four years and all that effort go now, and look back on all of it with more compassion and appreciation than regret or anxiety. (This sounds like it should have been a pretty easy or obvious process, but like many life lessons, it only seems easy or clear in hindsight.)


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