Wishcasting Wednesday

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today Jamie is asking:

What peace do you wish for?

My answer came easily and immediately today. The peace I wish for is peace with and within my body.  This is true both in an immediate and long-term sense.

I spent 2.5 weeks working Hurricane Sandy relief operations in New York and came home as a result of a respiratory infection. We were working 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week on top of the bug left me exhausted. Since arriving home on Sunday the coughing has been so constant that sleep is pretty much impossible for more than a few minutes at a time. I wish for the peace of easy breathing and deep sleep.

In a larger sense, I also wish for peace with and within my body. I have always been fat but it didn’t keep me from dancing, hiking, hard physical labor, etc. nor did it shape my definition of self until I injured my knee. Now I walk with a limp and I see myself in increasingly negative ways.  The number on the scale and the speed/grace with which I move have overshadowed the good things about who I am and the other numbers that are a part of who I am (my IQ, my years of education, the number of hours that I offer in volunteer service each year, the skills an experiences that I have, my commitment to a more just/inclusive/sustainable/compassionate world). I wish for the peace that would come from shifting my relationship with my physical being back to something more positive – back to a relationship where I work with what is to be healthier and happier rather than treating my physical being as the enemy. I wish for a peace within my skin that would stem the erosion of my confidence.


Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish To Reflect On?

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today Jamie is asking “What Do You Wish To Reflect On?

At first I pulled away from this Wishcasting prompt. I spend too much time in my head – a pattern that I am trying to change. After a few moments, I realized that “reflecting on” something was in fact about moving thoughts out of my mind as well as reflecting from the external world back into my thoughts and spirit.

The image of light bouncing off reflective surfaces was very strong. I began to think of patterns of thought/action/being where a change of direction would be useful. In this light (no pun intended), I would like to reflect back to myself more of the forgiveness, gentleness, and understanding that I offer to other. I wish to reflect on myself the same gentleness that I shine on others.

I considered how reflections in water can magnify the beauty of a that which is reflected. I wish to reflect onto my spirit greater celebrations of the simple joys, the moments of happiness, the bliss of ordinary miracles.

I considered where I could be more thoughtful and take time to reflect more deeply. I need to listen more closely to my desires, both great and small. I wish to show my spirit great respect by learning to have and to express desires and dreams.

What do you wish to reflect on?

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do I wish to experience

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today Jamie asks us “What Do You Wish to Experience?” My answer, I wish to experience . . .

  • More moments of breathless awe and wonder.
  • More comfort in my own body.
  • More sore stomach muscles from laughing hard and long.
  • More vicarious successes as I help others make their dreams come true.
  • More sighs of contentment as I walk through the door of a home that is a sanctuary and haven.
  • More ah-ha moments of learning and understanding.
  • More dirt beneath my fingernails as I tend a garden of my own.
  • More hugs and kisses.
  • More opportunities to be showered in the laughter of toddlers and young children.
  • More wisdom acquired through time with elders.
  • More time with family (chosen and blood), more time with friends, and more time in community.
  • More delight and celebration of the mirabilia in my life.
  • More mindfulness and intentionality in how I spend my time, my energy, and my dollars.
  • More confidence in myself and belief in my own power and gifts
  • More time creating and offering my creations to the world.
  • More breathless moments that follow breaking through my own perceived limitations and fighting for justice, inclusivity and sustainability.
  • More in time in nature.

The garden of me

For this metaphor to work I have to be the gardener and the garden but that also fits.

Imagine a garden that has, over the years, become overgrown with weeds and some plants pushing out others. Nearby trees have grown to a point where the garden doesn’t get quite enough light or water for all the plants there.  Sadly some plants have died but overall the garden is surviving  but it is far from thriving.

Something happens, perhaps a storm or intentional pruning, but suddenly the trees are creating less shade and demanding less from the soil. A new gardener moves in and starts clearing the weeds and thinning/moving some plants around or maybe the it is just that the old gardener is renewed and revitalized.

This new gardener also brings in new, nutrient rich soil to add to the garden. The gardener tends and edits and celebrates the treasures in the garden; she even adds a few new plants. Mother Nature helps out and provides some lovely soaking rains and the gardener helps out by watering between rainfalls.  The gardener enlists the assistance of experts to deal with some particularly challenging projects and issues (e.g., laying down some hardscape) and the gardener buys some new tools and gains some new knowledge and skills.

The garden becomes more luxurious and more colorful. Butterflies, birds, bees, dragonflies and such begin to call the garden home. Visitors stop by to share this lovely space with the gardener and sometimes they offer new ideas or insights for changes in the garden.

In my life the trees represent my work life. Madison represents the new, nutrient rich soil. The rainfall represents time with friends and in community. The weeds are my self-doubt, my perceived failures, my accumulated stuff,  my discomfort with my body and its limitations.  The expert, tools, and skills are the various things I have been learning this year and the people from whom I have been learning those things. The individual plants are the various foci, relationships, and activities in my life (for example the herbs are my spiritual path, the climbing yellow rose is my sister Sharon). Not sure what the winged creatures represent — actually as I typed those words it occurred to me that they represent my joy.  The visitors are the symbolic of opening myself to connection with others.

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do I wish to become?

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today Jamie asks “What do you wish to become?

Once again the timing is impeccable. I have been doing some work that involves getting in touch with your archetypes and superhero selves. I described the mix of traits to friends and ask for suggestions of someone who embodies those traits. A friend suggested Nanny Ogg from Terry Pratchett’s, DiscWorld series. I am reading Equal Rites now.  In thinking about who I wish to become, here are some of pieces of my puzzle:

  • an activist for a more inclusive and sustainable world
  • a midwife/doula for the work of other world changers
  • as fit and healthy as possible
  • a person who infects others with joyfulness
  • a storyteller and weaver of empowerment webs
  • more playful and colorful
  • more spirited and spirit filled

So who do you wish to become?

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do you wish for this summer?

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios and Jamie has asked, “What do you wish for this summer?”

For me, summer 2012 is already shaping up to be a summer of dreams come true. For a few years I have dreamed of moving to Madison, Wisconsin. I love the climate there. I have a circle of friends who share my values in that area. A week from tomorrow I will be moving to Madison. I have found a temporary place to live for July and August. The temporary space is lovely and an ideal launching pad for my new life. On Monday, I have an interview of a position in Madison. The position would support my wish to develop my own consulting and coaching practice. I have a lead on a place to stay staring in August. This place would come furnished as is it would be a year-long, quasi-housesitting gig. This means I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to furnish a house right away. The opportunities and connections that have been growing in my life during 2012 continue to blossom and bear fruit. I continue to learn more about myself, to gain confidence, and to dream bigger.

My wishes for this summer are that the wonderful trends in my life continue, that I live up to my commitment to myself to focus on my physical well-being, that I continue to be grateful and enchanted by the developments in my life.

So what do you wish for this summer?

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do you wish for your home?

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today Jamie asks a question that is very timely for me. She asks “What do you wish for your home?” This feels especially timely given that: (1) I am sifting, sorting, packing things in preparation for an unknown type of move to an unknown location with several continents being possible landing places. The next place I hang my hat, may be a short-term location or not.  I am spending a good deal of time and energy trying to figure out what is important to me and what I want to release rather than move to a future version of my home/pay to store. (2) I received an email from my landlord saying that the realtor who has the contract for the building where I live wanted to show my apartment this morning. Given that the email arrived after 10 pm, I have to be at work at 8 am and the showing is at 11 am it left me feeling rather invaded. Strangers in my space bother me a great deal and I feel an odd obligation to make my place as showable as possible.  I gave up sleep to try and make things less messy. The space is small and with the packing, sorting process it seemed very chaotic.

Here are a few things I wish for my home?

  • Places to organize and store the tools and equipment for the things I enjoy.
  • A designated sacred space for meditation and ritual.
  • A place that I can make my own – after a life of renting, I am sick of white walls.
  • A place that allows me to connect with nature – at a minimum a deck for container gardening and a place to have a bird feeder.
  • A place that I can share with friends and guests.
  • Comfortable and functional spaces for doing the things I enjoy. I am rather tired of my best work space being sitting on my bed.
  • A place that is accessible to friends with mobility issues.
  • A place where I feel settled even if I am only settled for a short time.

My ideal home is a web of locations. It is a home based where I live communally with like-minded folks. Preferably that would be in the Madison area. From that location I would spend part of my time working short-term contracts overseas, a few weeks a year each in Orlando and Oklahoma in a home that has wheels.

Dream a little dream

I have been thinking a great deal about how I want my life to look a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, etc. In my search for possible positions for after my AmeriCorps position ends this summer, I came across this site and suddenly the ideas started to seem a great deal more possible. The ten year plan is that I would be part of a communal or cooperative earth-focused living arrangement such as Meadowsong EcoVillage though ideally this home would be much, much closer to Madison. This community would serve as home base from which I would travel for disaster response work and short-term consultancies for NGO working in the areas of poverty reduction, gender issues, social justice and environmental causes. Between time abroad and on deployment, I would work on similar issues as a consultant, writer, and/or volunteer closer to home.

The question is, “how to I make that happen?” I have the skills necessary for monitoring and evaluation contracts but not the experience requested. I have been watching for a mid-career position abroad that would help me get that experience but so far most positions require 3-5 years of NGO M&E experience on USAID funded projects which I do not have.  I need network ties that could offset this lack — I need to think about how I might cultivate those. I also need to accept that I might need to live in DC, NYC, or Atlanta for a couple of years.

I need to work on a writing practice and quality content that I can get out there.

I need to keep downsizing and decluttering.

I need to be better informed about international humanitarian affairs.


Was that an explosion? I wonder if the meeting will be canceled.

Reading FB and twitter posts from people in Kabul has a surreal quality this morning (morning US time that is). Posts on Facebook from those whom I know personally and tweets from others posting on twitter are a mix of references to the chaos of the start of the spring offensive by the Taliban (or acts of Pakistani agitators or even a plot by the Russians depending on whom you believe) and everyday activities that pass for “normal” in Kabul.  Single comments and threads include references to both rockets/gunfire/explosions/bodies and the ways that “normal” life continues (e.g., students finishing exams; work on projects that continue despite distractions and difficulty concentrating, how meetings might be affected).

These posts are evidence of how different life is here and there. I wasn’t able to explain this pattern to folks back here when I was in Kabul anymore than I can explain it looking back at Kabul from here. I keep hoping that I will eventually be able to pull together a bunch of thoughts I have related to this and what freedom of thinking and security mean. My time first in Kabul and now as an AmeriCorps member has caused me to view security and freedom of thought in an entirely new way.

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do I wish to rise above?

It is Wishcasting Wednesday at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today Jamie asks “What do you wish to rise above?”  

I didn’t have an immediate answer to this question. As I sat thinking about it the image of a pied-billed grebe running across the surface of the water to take off came to mind.  (This is an amazing photo by Jessica Yarnell and you can see more of her work on her blog. Pied-billed grebes are one of my favorite birds. I imagined them trying to take off with weights tied to their feet. It wouldn’t work at all.

2012 has been a year filled with learning and connecting. These first three months have been filled with the whispers of places I could soar. Unfortunately, I am trying to lift off with weights tied around my feet. The two heaviest are fatigue/exhaustion and lack of confidence.

My wish is to rise above these so that I can live the life of which I am dreaming. I don’t need to soar immediately but I need to rise just enough so that I  can more effectively work on cutting the ropes that bind these hinderances to me.

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