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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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...


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

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.

[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.

I’m much later in putting my New Year’s intention down in print than I usually am, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking a lot about it for the last few weeks. For whatever reason, this year’s intention was a little harder to articulate than previous years have been (hey, some years are like that), but here’s what I’ve come up with so far: in 2014 I discovered that trust breeds trust, so in 2015 it is my intention to keep the trust cycle going by...trusting more. What do I mean by that? Well, I’m still feeling like I may have to talk around the concept a bit before it completely crystallizes, but let me have a go at it.

So as background, let me say that the last few years have been an interesting journey through identity work and personal growth (yeah yeah, I’m in my 40’s, and this is not unusual, I realize). One of the big issues I’ve been grappling with during this phase of the journey is trust. (Yes, I have trust issues. How frightfully pedestrian of me, right?) Precisely why I have trust issues and under what circumstances they flare up and get triggered is a complex and tangled story that I’ve spent lots of time picking apart with my therapist and won’t go into here, but suffice to say that sometimes, I have a hard time believing that things will work out without great effort and a certain amount of defensive contingency planning on my part. Much as I *say* I want to be the kind of person who lives in the moment and believes that things generally work out favorably in the end, and often preach the efficacy of this approach in my advice to others, I often have a hard time actually doing that. (Oh well, you know they say you teach what you most need to learn...) I get scared, I get anxious, I get triggered, and I go right back to “no one else will notice there’s a need here, so I’d better take care of it myself, and well ahead of time, too, just to make sure it doesn’t fall through the cracks.” I juggle faster and add more balls and fancy footwork, and for a while I feel like a super circus queen...until inevitably something gets missed or tripped over and everything overwhelms and falls apart. But I have only myself to blame, which is really uncomfortable, so I try blaming other people for not rescuing me, but then that isn’t very comfortable either, so I resolve to not even involve other people next time, and just try a little harder to do everything better by myself. (Whew. I’m a little freaked out just typing all that.)

Now, I’ve been working on all this stuff, as I said, and one of the things that happened towards the end of 2014 is that life circumstances were such that I got super overwhelmed by all the Things To Do (admittedly, that’s the passive many ways I knowingly and willingly set myself up for much of that overwhelm, it didn’t just happen out of nowhere). Travel, high school applications, social and family obligations, Dickens Fair, Josh starting graduate school, kid care, housework, holiday hoo-ha...there was so much going on that I just couldn’t juggle it all myself in the pro-active ways I was used to. I had to drop some Things, and give some of the Things to Josh or other people, and just trust that it would all somehow work out ok. And you know what? It did work out ok. It totally did. Sometimes just barely, and sometimes at the last possible moment or not in the way I thought it would, but overall: Things worked out ok. And in acknowledging that fact, I found myself feeling more confident, and yes, more trusting, about the possibility that this whole “trusting that other people will help do the Things and that Things will work out ok” process might be repeatable. And get easier each time. It was kind of exciting, and made me want to trust some more.

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