Friday, February 22, 2019

Rethinking my tribe

I get contemplative this time of year, and I like it. The long evenings of dark, the rainy dim afternoons lead me to thinking about how things are for me and what changes I might like to make and what might be missing. And lately, I've been thinking about my tribe, those people in my inner circles.

You've probably done this exercise, where you put those you're closest to in the very inner circle, then a second circle, then a third, and maybe a fourth. I label this close friends (innermost), good friends (second circle), and friends (third circle). The rest are acquaintances and I generally don't list those. I drew these circles while I was on retreat over New Year's, and I did it in conjunction with a review of my calendar from last year: whom had I been spending with?

When I mentioned this to a close friend, she said she had been thinking about this too. In her case, she has a couple of people who have been in her innermost circle but her life has changed a lot and she no longer feels close to them and wants to shift them to an outer circle. We talked about the challenge in that, when friendships no longer fit. That's happened to me several times and it's not easy.

That's not my situation now. Instead, I want to bring a couple of good friends into the close friends circle and maybe even a couple from the friends circle.  I'm wanting to expand my tribe in some ways that will open me up to new thinking and new experiences. I'm excited about this possibility.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Why I love cats

After seeing the cats in my eulogy and several other assignments, Mary Anne Radmacher, the teacher of our What Matters Most course, asked me to consider the things about cats that mean the most to me. Here's what I think

Interdependent affection, tender sensuality, supreme experts in self-care

All things I aspire to.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Writing my eulogy

In a course I'm taking this month on what matters to us, one of our assignments was to write a eulogy for ourselves assuming we have died at age 103. I found this an interesting experince, not only to think about what I want to be remembered for but to set some challenges for myself for the next 30 years. I mean, who knows? 

Here's what I came up with:

My good friend Jill Kelly was a popular novelist and even more popular painter. She was the author of 23 books, several of them national award-winners, and she was famous for her annual art giveaway, which got original art into the homes of young people and those in straitened circumstances.

Jill was proud to be 60 years sober and more than 35 years free of sugar addiction. She was active in AA until the end and helped many others find peace with food through her blogs and workshops.

After leaving behind a first career as college professor of French and a second career as an editor supporting the writings of others, she spent the remaining decades of her life encouraging the creativity of others, helping to end homelessness for elderly women, and telling everyone who would listen that color was proof of the existence of God.

Jill died the way she wanted to, at home with her cats around her and loving friends in attendance. She had just finished a gorgeous landscape.

Jill was known for her generosity towards others and her tenderness for animals. She was famous for her motto: Be more generous and less accommodating, which can be seen on bumpers around the country. She also watched for magic everywhere she went and encouraged others to do the same. She never met a cat she didn’t love. She will be sorely missed. 

What would you write for yours?

Friday, February 1, 2019

My intention for 2019

Each year recently, I've chosen an intention for the year, something I want to focus on in my life. Last year's focus was spaciousness and I'm finding that this is well incorporated into my daily routines. Don't get me wrong. My life isn't always spacious. I still overcommit my time some days or lack the energy for all the things I want to do. But I'm conscious of wanting and aiming for spaciousness in a way I wasn't before last year.

This year I have two intentions. The first is to be more generous and less accommodating. I've been discerning that these two states (generosity and accommodation) feel quite different in my body. Generosity is light and comes from a warm, loving place in me while accommodation is heavy and dark and arising out of should. I want to learn what spurs me to be generous and if there's a way to turn some of the accommodation into generosity and when I can't to say no.

The second intention is much more playful. This year I want to watch for magic every day.