Mantras for 2018

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I guess I really did go into hibernation.

And, as Emily reminded me during our phone call the other morning, resting means that our energy will come back. And boy, it's back.

I find myself inspired all over the place lately. I'm inspired by Elizabeth Lesser's book Marrow. One of the best memoirs I've ever read. I'm inspired by the Making Oprah podcast and hearing how Oprah set about the hard work of evolving over her lifetime even though she could have grown comfortable with success. I'm inspired by all the clients who've sat in my office this month and cried when they talked about wanting to do the right thing or be better leaders. I'm inspired by my sister and her husband in Seattle who are risking a new venture together. I'm inspired by my 14 year-old son, playing his first season of high school basketball, and how he's happily spent every varsity game on the bench, joking around with the other freshman who knows he won't get put in. I am still riled up about all the inequity and oppression having its heyday in our country and world, but it feels like my calling right now is to take actions, however small, that serve the Good in the universe.

I sat down on New Years Day to write in my journal, thinking I'd just jot down a few things. Because I'd had two weeks of sleep, reading, and letting my heart lead the way, I filled the pages. It's amazing what happens when we get quiet enough to hear ourselves again. Amazing what grows in the fertile soil of solitude and under-stimulation.

I wrote the following "rules" for 2018 in just a couple minutes, and I've been sinking into them more and more every day. Here they are, in an annotated version. What is it your heart wants to say to you in this new year?

DON'T SNAP OUT OF THE MOMENT by making jokes or giving advice. I've started to notice a pattern in myself. When shit gets real, when I feel vulnerable or like someone's seeing me a little too clearly, I've gotten skilled at making a joke or saying something that sounds wise. I miss out on so much when I do that! So I'm trying to let myself really see and be seen, shut my mouth sometimes, and let it be awkward if it wants to.

HIBERNATE to stay alive. See above.

MAKE MY OWN NEWS instead of being addicted to the despairing headlines. I went through my phase of over-consumption, my voyeuristic panics. The reality is that I can't immediately do anything about notifications from the decrepit halls of the White House. So instead, I volunteer at the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. I'm helping raise money for a center that will serve homeless young adults. I'm trying to love my enemies.

BE AS AFFECTIONATE AS I WANT TO BE. Tone it down only if that's the more loving thing to do. I want to err on the side of connection. I have a habit of touching people when I talk to them, and I don't see that changing anytime soon unless it's clear I'm crossing a boundary. Life is TOO SHORT to withhold, too short to be skimpy on praise, to meter compliments, to cause anyone ever to wonder if I think they are a worthy human being.

GIVE TOTALLY AND FREELY no matter my history, future, or relationship with the recipient. I can be a pretty boundaried person, and some of those boundaries have served me well. But I don't need to have them up when they are not needed. I can trust myself to put them up if a situation or relationship calls for that. Otherwise? It's too much work to maintain them all the time. I don't need to be in intimate relationship with everyone in my life, but I certainly don't need to fear vulnerable moments that may or may not culminate in deeper connection in this life or the next.

DILIGENTLY MEET MY RESPONSIBILITIES so I can relax more and more often. It's not a big secret that most of us are more relaxed once we've taken care of business. Since I'm such an all-or-nothing person, I can tend to put off big things for fear that I won't do them perfectly. And that means my downtime isn't really downtime. I want that to change this year. I'm starting with some better systems for email and bookkeeping, and we will see where that leads.

WRITE SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS and get more comfortable with process. Brian Grazer, hit Hollywood Producer (Empire, Apollo 13) got his little movie Splash rejected OVER 1,000 times before it was made! My excuses for not writing or writing and not putting it out there seem pathetic. I'm not out to shame myself, but to care a little less about a grand reveal and work more on the process. Patience has never been my jam.

Happy 2018, folks. Permission granted to be present in our bodies, to open our hearts, to quiet our minds. And see what grows.