Dreams and Meaning

I avoided the work yesterday. Biiiiig resistance to choosing five dreams. I hate committing to a finite number of things. You know those people who have like one big dream, to be a rockstar or a professional athlete or a doctor or a dog trainer? That’s never been me. I have *never* known just one thing I wanted to be or to do. I knew I wanted to get married. I knew I wanted to have children. Because I could do those without excluding a whole lot of other stuff. I don’t have one big dream. I have like 100,000 tiny interests, things I like to do and learn about. Would I want any one of them to be my full-time job? Hell no. If I had one of those kind of burning passion dreams, you know I’d be running it down hard to make it happen. But I really, really don’t. I have things that I’d like to do, I guess. But they’re not long lasting passions. I like to do them. Not really to the exclusion of other things.

Boy, what I could do with 10,000 lives. So many things to do and try and learn.

But look, I chose 5 anyway. Do I feel like, “Yes! These are the five dreams!” I really don’t. They’re things that would be cool. I know I like to do some of them (play music, travel, blog) and some I think would be really fun (have a homestead, write a cookbook).

But if you had asked me last month? One of those dreams might have been “Become a certified professional herbalist.” And a few months before that? “A professional writer.” “Go on a weeklong meditation retreat.” “Train as a yoga instructor.” These are all plausible things for me at one time or another. I wonder what would be on the list if I did it next month?

20121007-200317.jpg

And the bigger meaning, the feeling behind my five dreams? Again, I had a long list of possibilities. Learning, creativity, adventure…but I settled on connection.

When I play music, it’s one of the only times I enter into the flow, where I lose track of time and connect with something bigger.

When I travel, I’m creating a connection between myself and a new place – taking in the people, smells, architecture, language, and it expands my world and connects me to it in a very new, concrete way.

When I think about having our own homestead, I think about creating a long-term connection with a place, the land, the house that we own and can repaint or add on to in our own vision. Connecting with a community in a lasting way.

When I blog, what I really want is a connection with you. I want you to say, yes, me too or wow, I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. I want you to see me, and I want to see you. To know that we’re in this together, that we’re not alone.

The cookbook thing? I think I want to do that to share myself, my knowledge, something I love with you. Maybe it’s the latent Italian grandmother in me, but I want you to be nourished, to connect with you through food.

Because isn’t connection what it’s really all about? As I try on this being vulnerable thing more and more, I really think it might. Being human, seeing each other for who we really are, and reaching out our hands despite our perceived differences or the possibility of ridicule. It’s worth the risk, no?

20121007-201059.jpg

A New Morning Layer

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m participating in Hannah Marcotti’s Spirits of Joy e-course right now, and it continues to be awesome.

Today’s mission: adding a new layer to our morning ritual.

My poison? Gratitude journalling.

My morning ritual goes something like: wake up, check email, FB, Flipboard (for my google reader feed), Instagram, play Scrabble/Words With Friends (and just for the recond, Words with Friends friends: the Scrabble app is SO MUCH BETTER! But I digress…) and then rinse and repeat until August wakes up. This is usually about an hour after I wake up, but sometimes more. I can’t really get up and *do* stuff, because he will wake up within 10 minutes of me leaving bed, so there is no working out, getting up to sit by myself, cleaning or any other productive awesome thing unless I want a very betrayed-feeling little friend within minutes.

(I have learned that I *can* get up and make coffee and be back in bed with a hot mug usually before he stirs. This is almost enough of a new layer to my day. I feel sneaky AND I get coffee: it’s a total win.)

But this morning I also decided to pull up the app I use for writing and crack open my gratitude journal.

In the past, I’ve usually done this in the evening. But let’s be real: I’m a morning person. Yep. It’s true. So the corollary of that? *Not a night person.* I’m not creative or even using my brain fully at night and it was always such a slog to try to break through that inertia, so many many times I’ve started and stopped this nightly ritual.

But I thought this morning, maybe the gratitude journalling can be my new layer to my daily ritual. I wholeheartedly acknowledge that gratitude is a useful virtue to cultivate, no Stewart Smalley reservations or anything. And, bonus: it breaks the daily writing ice in a non-threatening way. Like, look! I’m just writing a list of awesome stuff that happened yesterday! Oh, you feel like writing some more about that? Ok…

Can you believe I almost just posted the photo of today’s vision book entry? Who am I kidding. Soooo verbal….

Without further ado:

20121005-172652.jpg
Also, this happened while I was trying to take that picture:

20121005-172712.jpg
Thanks, Aug.

Morning Affirmation (Spirits of Joy)

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m participating in Hannah Marcotti’s Spirits of Joy e-course right now, and it is so awesome.

I’m not a terribly visual person – I much prefer the precision of the written word that I can tweak in just the right way to convey my message. But this month is all about creating a vision book, an actual artifact of our journey. I’ve never really taken to vision boards – I’ve tried it once or twice and have found it frustrating to my perfectionism (ah…maybe that’s part of the point, no?) But I’m doing this vision book anyway, and the daily-ness of it is making me care less about being perfect – because if I wait until I can make it perfect, I will never get it done and it will all pile on top of me and I’ll give up in sadness in frustration.

This could still happen.

But so far, it hasn’t. Because I’m doing the daily prompts like they are stream of consciousness writing (which I love but also terrifies me). I’m getting it done “good enough” style – and then, magically, it’s done. Sure, the paper is a little ripply from the glue being too wet and I didn’t find that exact shade of purple I wanted. But holy shit – I made something. It didn’t kill me.

And also – I’m learning things as I go. What kind of glue works better, how much I love this book of background paper that I picked up at Jo-Ann’s a year ago, how much I love the box of random paper remnants that I bought from Discount School Supply last year. How I really need to buy some non-food related magazines, so that I have a selection of slightly more diverse images and copy to choose from.

Something else I’ve never really taken to: affirmations. They feel weird and phony and a little Stewart Smalley. But – I’ve been bombarded lately from about 4 people that I look up to about doing them, so you know, I thought it might be worth a shot. (In case you’re wondering, those four people are Tara Wagner, Hannah Marcotti, Jenn Gibson and Brene Brown).

I’ve been reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (it’s SO GOOD) and she quotes Lynne Twist about scarcity, which I found so illuminating for me:

For me, and for many of us, our first waking though of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. (from The Soul of Money, 43-45)

Whoa. That is so me, so much of the time.

And something else I found fascinating from this chapter on scarcity – Brene Brown argues that the opposite of scarcity is NOT abundance, but rather, it’s what she calls Wholeheartedness, which is centered around,

…vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough (p. 29, emphasis mine).

I just love this idea so much – Wholeheartedness. The willingness to be seen. Here I am: here is what I’ve made.

Here is my morning affirmation.

20121004-195252.jpg

Spirits of Joy: Day Three

20121003-094440.jpg

I am Harvesting Honey. Not *a* harvesting honey. No. One of my super powers is one of distillation and synthesis – of taking in information, ideas, words, feelings, sounds. Driving to the heart of it all – and then producing something new, out of the old.

My husband always tells me this about myself:

You are so good at synthesizing things, bringing disparate ideas together in a new way, making connections that I’ve never considered.

Love him.

But I have a way (that trained middle school girl in me) of disowning and disbelieving those compliments. My internal monologue goes something like:

Nah. Everyone can do that. You’re just saying that. Aw, that’s sweet. But probably not true.

But I’m trying to step into the possibility that this is true (and other nice things that people say about me).

So here I am: a truth synthesizer, an idea mixer, a transformer of basic elements into something more than their constituent parts: a honey harvester.

Spirits of Joy

I’m participating in Hannah Marcotti‘s lovely Spirits of Joy course right now, and I’m so thrilled with how much fun the kids and I are having with our morning art time. I know it’s only day 2, but I hope we can keep the momentum going for the month of October and maybe even beyond!

As a way to break the stalemate I have been having with posting lately*, I’m going to commit to posting a photo of the process/product of the Spirits of Joy prompts. Here we go!

Day 1

20121002-113956.jpg
Silas, working on his own homemade book. Wow, art projects look messy during the making!

20121002-114118.jpg
My finished product.

Day 2

20121002-114202.jpg
We took the mess making to the living room floor, which gave everyone a lot more room to explore.

20121002-114300.jpg
Cutting is so soothing

20121002-114423.jpg
Silas, exploring body art

20121002-114442.jpg
My day two finished product.

*I really really want to post and connect with all y’all…but as a polymath, it’s so so hard for me to choose one subject! I’m all over the place these days, as usual, with many candles burning, none more brightly than the others so it’s hard to choose THIS candle! I’ll write about this one! Also, as I sat down to write this, I’m realizing that I’m really good at posting – when someone else gives me an assignment. Weird! Thanks, 19 years of schooling! Wow, something to explore another time.