12Jan

Choose Your Own Dust Storm

2012 for our family has whirled in like a dust storm. For all my hope that we would receive some sort of cosmic prize package for making it through 2011 intact, we’re still in the gritty thick of uncertainty. The positive side is that there’s no better time to evaluate core values than when nothing else is guaranteed. The less positive side is that we’ve simply had no time for self-evaluation.

Here’s a snack-sized recap of the past three weeks: We’ve traveled over 8,500 miles, mostly by car. We’ve celebrated a holiday each with Dan’s whole family and with mine, and we wish we could have spent more time with both. We’ve seen dear friends and missed getting to see others. We’ve made our traditional dash  to Urgent Care and added Natalie’s broken arm X-rays to our vacation album. We’ve procured a new driver’s license, a new passport, and one precious visa, and we’ve woken up on Italian time for many mornings in an ongoing attempt to get the other.

We still have a little bit of buffer time here in the States, but it’s not certain that I’ll be able to return home when Dan and the girls do. This week has been a unique exercise in balancing anxiety with trust that all will turn out for the best. Not to say that I’ve successfully gone all Zen Master, but I’m grateful for the perspective that comes with derailed plans, and I’m glad to finally have a bit of time today to take stock of what I’m bringing to the new year.

I don’t have any word or mantra picked out for 2012, and I haven’t dared yet to think of goals beyond the immediate future. However, the day that my Kickstarter project ended, one possible version of this year misted out of sight and another began to come into focus. It’s hard to fill in the details without even knowing which country I’ll be in come February, but I’m discovering just how important flexibility is on my list of guiding values. This year, I need to have space on my margins, the grace to enjoy life through its unpredictability instead of rushing from one source of resentment to the next.

It’s also on my heart to embody generosity this year, not so much with finances as with my time and attention (though being able to give more in a traditional sense would be great too). Of course, this will require me to reclaim my time and attention so that I can give them to the things that matter, and some heavy decisions are involved.

Unfortunately, there’s no PA system booming down from heaven to tell me what I should do this year. This is more like a choose-your-own-adventure novel with further direction on hold until I pick a page. I’ve never cared for those books, but there’s something to be said for being an active participant in your own story, isn’t there? Plus, I have a pretty good idea of the values I want to help guide my decisions this year:

flexibility

generosity

authenticity

beauty

courage

…and this—creativity, community, intention, art, whatever name writing takes on any given day.

I’ll keep you posted as the dust begins to settle.

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4 comments

  1. One thing is for sure: there is NO DUST ON YOU. You’re a whirlwind of awesome.

  2. wishing for you and yours ALL the best. I’m not current so not sure what some of this post means. I do appreciate your heart and determination and perspective. and of course, thanks for the positive that seeps through your writing (got a drop or two on my face and shoulder).

  3. I am trying to keep reading between the lines here, but what I know is that you are the bravest person I know. You handle stress and crisis so well, that no matter what the world throws at you, you are able to deliver. I am so sorry your funding didn’t come through. If anyone should be writing a book it is you. I hope you don’t give up on that dream. I also hope your life returns to the way it should be soon. I hope you are able to return home and start fresh.

    I am sending you a BIG hug and lots of prayers. xoxo

  4. You definitely have some crazy things going on, but let me say – as someone far away who knows none of the details – you’ve got to keep writing about it all. You’ve got a VOICE, a humor, a sparkle in the way you put words together and tell a story (in this case, yours)!

    Best of luck on working out all those details. And I’m with you on flexibility and generosity for 2012. Especially generosity.

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