Non-goals and new-beginnings

The last part of 2010 and all of 2011 were about major transitions in my life. The result is that my life is headed in a new and fascinating direction and this blog will play an important part in that journey. Yet I haven’t been sure how to begin the story here — not until today. Not until I saw post about non-goals by Joanna Powell Colbert of Gaian Soul who was inspired by Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks blog who was inspired by Erin LoGooechner of Design for Mankind.

Erin defines non-goals as “action items that I’ve already put into practice, or things about myself that I want to stay the same this year.” She points out that these non-goals balance the change many of us seek in the new year with stability. They also serve as self praise. I think most of us could use a bit more of that.  The authors of the posts that I read wrote the non-goals  in the third person. I think that part of their power comes from letting yourself “hear” the rather than simply “saying” them.

Non-goals and a look back suddenly felt like the right way to begin the journey here. First a bit of context may be helpful. In July of 2010 I accepted a university administration position in Afghanistan. Given that my only experience with travel out of the US had been an academic conference at a high end golf resort in Australia, my time in Kabul was eye opening to say the least. When I came back to the US in the summer of 2011, I made the decision not to return to Kabul for a complicated combination of reasons. It was the wrong time for academic hiring and I had no clear plan for what would come next.  I found myself in uncharted waters with no plan for the journey forward. One thing led to another and I am now doing a year of service through AmeriCorps to gain some experience outside of academia in general and in the non-profit sector specifically. Given that the last time my life did not revolve around a school or university I was four years old, it has been quite a change but I am enjoying the discoveries and new challenges.

My 2012 non-goals are:

  • You followed your inner wisdom even when others thought you were crazy.  It took you where you needed to be! Be sure to keep listening to your wise self but don’t forget to let your inner-child out to play from time to time (she is pretty wise in her own way).
  • You opened your mind and your heart to the adventure that is life and to living in the present and you started learning to be yourself.
  • In less than four weeks, you gave more than 300 hours of your time to help the victims of Hurricane Irene flooding in New York.  Folks noticed how good you are at handling chaos and taking care of what needs to be done. The praise you received on the job were well deserved. Disaster response work matters to you and you are awesome at it so keep up the good work and take advantage of opportunities to increase your credentials in that area.
  • You made nineteen Kiva loans to empower women around the world and here in Indiana you are helping students develop job skills which will increase their opportunities.
  • Of the 28 students in the first graduating class at the university where I taught in Kabul, six were in one of my two classes.
  • The courage to take the position in Kabul and putting up with the less than clean showers was worth it. You paid off all your consumer debt!! Celebrate the freedom that comes from getting rid of it!
  • Good job on the purging and letting go of stuff. It feels so good to create space in life for new treasures so keep it up.
  • You are finally starting to believe in yourself and to see what others see in you. You have valuable things to offer the world. Keep up the good work in finding your passion and your voice and offering it to the world.
  • You are becoming more comfortable with letting others closer to you. Having the courage to care and to let others know you care feels great.
  • You discovered that life that has room for more than work is pretty amazing and that sometimes creating the life you want requires coloring outside the lines.  Don’t forget those lessons.

As for the look ahead, I will be focusing on discoverydiscernment, and deepening  as I weave  my passions for knowledge (learning & teaching), the natural world, empowering people & communities, and everyday miracles & beauty into a curious life.

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