Hello and welcome to 2015, you guys. Here’s to hoping it’s found you riding high, yet stable enough to have some clear ideas about how you want to spend it.
As those of you who have read anything I’ve ever written already are aware, me and stability are kind of at odds most of the time. Those old blueprints are hard to shake. I’ve spent most of my life on an existential hamster wheel of being simultaneously homesick and terrified of being trapped. Push pull push pull run run run crash.
This year I moved four times. I didn’t mean to. I meant to move once. But things happened.
You know how when you pray for patience and you are immediately surrounded by snails and assholes? Well, pray for stability and you get tossed around like a birdie in an extreme badminton game, I guess.
Roots and wings. Roots and wings. That’s been a mantra of mine for going on a decade now.
And while I know I’m still not in a forever place (because that’s not a thing), It’s possible I’ve veering into the most stable place I’ve been in maybe forever. The tenacity of creating an environment of stability gives rise to the deeper, internal stability.
Originally, I rented this house with someone I was in a relationship with. The relationship didn’t continue, but the house felt really good. My son called it the “Deja Vu House” because he said it felt like it was built just for us. And I loved the Japanese soaking tub, the old growth trees, the view of Mt. St. Helens, and the neighborhood. I committed to keeping the house despite having no idea how to pay the rent, despite the rampant rumors that roommates are, generally, the worst, and I stayed with friends like a gypsy while we sorted out the details of going separate ways.
Then, I channeled the little blond kids from Mary Poppins and tossed a Craigslist ad into the ether and I am now sharing this lovely house with an adorable family of three whose choices and lifestyle are ridiculously complementary, where they aren’t just straight up parallel, to mine. Also, their daughter is the same age as my son. The food, laughing, music (stereo and live, yeah, live), and twinkly candlelight that have happened here regularly exceed expectations.
Ta fucking da, people. Sometimes things work!
Sometimes things even work out far better than you ever could have imagined.
Nothing really changes the fact that I’m still a struggling single mom (is there any other kind?) with my boy who is getting more teenager all the time, but with all of this home action going on and my ongoing commitment to being strong, clear, and flexible, I have more calm energy to navigate his care and unschooling adventures. It’s truly amazing what kind of pressure can be relieved from having someone else cook a meal or do dishes sometimes. Even just knowing the entire responsibility of things is not on my single set of mom-shoulders. More validation that we need each other in this world. We just do. Village! Also more validation that the whole strong, clear, and flexible schtick I’m always on about works.
Here’s another notable thing from 2014. I liquid damaged my shmancy laptop not once, but twice in a month. It was super expensive to fix and sucked a lot. I went over twenty days total in December and early January without it. This means I didn’t get a lot of work done and the all the financial fear wires were tripped. I wondered why I am always failing so hard and other unrealistic spinout bouts. But it was also a forced hiatus that was as nice as getting away from screens always is. I talked to more faces, read more books, and had new ideas. Because of this remembrance of analog life, a weekly internet sabbath is on the agenda. I’ll probably be putting my two cents in about that this year where it’s applicable. Because often, it’s just the thing.
My friend Bridget Pilloud said that it was also a great reminder to stop pouring my sustaining fluids into unsustainable things.
Oh yeah. That too. Seems a theme might be emerging.
:::strokes imaginary goatee for a period of time while cocking head quizzically:::
Man. Home really is so crucial. And I don’t mean just a house, but country, culture, community, family, the concepts of safety and sanctuary. I’m re-reading Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and he talks about how hard it is to concentrate on anything, to be in the moment and use your good psychic energy effectively to be of service to yourself, your family or the world if you are busy worrying about your basic survival. See also: Maslow and his pyramid-shaped hierarchy of needs.
This is especially relevant in the rising sights of how deep and insidious the institutions of racism have ingrained themselves into our society and our psyches. I like to think I’m part of the solution by doing my volunteer work for A Social Ignition in the decarceration and reentry arenas, and perhaps that’s true.
I really hope so.
But it turns out that I have to also take responsibility for the ways that I’m part of the problem with my awkward white silence and the ongoing ignorance of my privilege. Staring all of that directly in the face is new. And imperative. Everyone deserves safety and sanctuary. And everyone is definitely not getting it. We have an entire population of citizens in our country and culture who, on account of skin color worry daily about whether they or their children will be killed. The last few months have really cracked my heart open like a supernova of shame and confusion and new tablets of compassion. I have realized that the fact that talking about racial inequality for me is awkward rather than crucial to my survival is a major privilege that I don’t intend to take for granted. Awkward won’t leave my son bleeding in the street. I can deal with awkward.
So, I want to, like, balls to the wall explore safety and sanctuary this year. Personally and professionally. I want to continue growing my part in the conversation about human rights, equality, health, hearth and a harmony that is so much more than tired navel gazing and “finding ourselves”.
I want to practice and teach high level discernment.
No more pouring sustainable fluids into unsustainable things.
This is the year I uplevel my health coaching business even more, realizing and honing a community that really aligns with these values, a brave and unflinching community of people who understand that authenticity isn’t earned, it’s burned through. Like my pal Janelle Hanchett says, “It’s what’s left after everything else is stripped away.” People who have developed or are committed to developing discipline of bodies and minds, addictions and distractions. I want my community (looking right at you) to be so strong and so free that lending a hand, or gracefully accepting one, is habitual. And both are gifts.
This kind of outfit requires deep nourishment, an expansive redefinition of health and the non-negotiable actions to support it.
I’m feel hopeful just thinking about it.
Because LOVE lives in your body and your home where you feed and are fed on all the levels.
How about in 2015 we flex our muscles so our minds will be strong? And we use our dollar votes to buy and eat food instead of whatever-that-other-poisonous-stuff is that stalls our ideas and clogs our digestive systems? How about we speak up when we witness injustice, even when it threatens our ego or our place in line?
Let’s keep keeping these containers clear, strong, and flexible enough to carry the uncertainty and grief that we can’t control, but can attend with more grace. Let’s stop pouring our sustaining fluids into unsustainable things, and instead, deepen our true-calling-relationships and projects, recognize connections, engage agency, act on factual faith, and cultivate deep silence and stillness so we can be intentionally vocal and powerfully active.
What do you say? You in?
Image credit: My photo of photo by Aaron Siskind: The Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation 37 viewed at Portland Art Museum