Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 Intentions, Micro and Macro

I'd forgotten the practice of setting an intention for the year until I was with friends' on New Year's Eve and the idea popped up in someone's Facebook feed.

I've been, as you have observed if you've been anywhere near me online or in person, in a frantic tempest of anxiety since the lead-up to the election. We also learned this autumn that a family member's very ill, so I've been a mental train wreck. And our house is in need of so much care, adding another layer of stress.

I finally enlisted the help of my beloved friend Lexie, of Alexis Yael... This Wabi-Sabi Life. Her word for the year is hope, and here's her post about it.

That kind of vibrant optimism is gorgeous, necessary... and, for me, totally intimidating. I'm not without hope, but I'm still motivated (polityically/socially) largely by fury. But I'll talk about that in a moment. One thing swirling around was self-care, because Shane and other friends have been worried about my spending so much of my concentration on the larger world that my own wellness has demonstrably suffered.

I also received news just before this discussion with Alexis that I'm having my long-awaited hysterectomy on the seventeenth of this month, which means self-care (and accepting that I'll need more help than usual from others) will be mandatory for many weeks.

But the through-line that Lexie was able to see that I wasn't was the need for focus itself, and repeated mentions of simplification. I was spinning out so badly about where my focus should be directed that I'd missed that focus should be the aim. And she suggested that I use simplify. A verb is power. Simplifying my home, my thoughts,and my awareness of body to their essentials will help me find this elusive focus.

So I'm making some plans to clear the way for major surgery. Trimming my hair and cleaning essential spaces: I'll do little tasks like that now that'll be hard to manage in a week and a half.

There's my internal focus.

But I'm terribly very concerned about our world. And Alexis (I adore you, my friend) reminded me a couple of months back of that delicious, fierce phrase that we saw in Captain America: Civil War. In it, a female character (YES!) delivers a paraphrase of this iconic moment from the Cap comics:
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'
image from

My phrase for interfacing with the nation and the world this year is #plantyourself.

You may know that I am made intensely uncomfortable by the trappings of patriotism. You might know that I'm impatient with moral absolutism and dogma. The Bill of Rights and the essential foundations of the Constitution are among those few singular truths to which I hold. Interestingly, I'm finding there is a seed of passionate patriotism within, and the sneaking specter of authoritarianism has drawn it out.

I will plant it and I will plant myself like a tree.

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