You Should Listen to My Brilliant Friend

As I think I’ve posted before, I’m wicked crazy about calendars, resolutions, goals, objectives, intentions, affirmations, visualizations, vision boards, meditations — all of those magical tools and activities that can move me from the liminal (Hecate-blessed) space where change CAN happen to the “mundane” (I hate that word and would love to find a meaningful replacement) place where change DOES happen. And so, unlike my beloved friend, I do write down (and usually achieve) those boring kinds of resolutions (still working on “lose ten pounds,” although I lost 3 times that last year and am on track to do more this year).

Nonetheless, I’ve found Elizabeth’s greater point to be true: we’re a lot more likely to actually achieve goals that encapsulate and


who we really want to become or that allow us to do something that we really want to do (I really want to take fencing lessons with G/Son (I really want to BE a Nonna who can take fencing lessons) and that’s going to require more weight loss and more time on the boring-as-all-get-out-but-so-conveneint-that-there-are-no-excuses gym-quality treadmill that I bought and had installed in my basement) than we are to achieve those goals that we only think we “should” achieve. (Some time, I’ll tell you the story of the year that my mom decided that I “should” read Kon Tiki (I think she saw it on some list of books that kids in my grade “should” read and demanded it, even though I was already reading books way beyond that), which, while it is probably a v nice book, remains, to this day, unread, even though I am a v, v, v bad bookworm and have been known to read encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun; I could have gotten out of chores by saying that I was reading Kon Tiki and I still wouldn’t read it — that’s how much I hated doing what I “should” do)

For the past several years, I’ve adopted a practice that I learned about from Christine Kane: Word of the Year. Rather than write a set of random, unrelated resolutions, I spend the time from about Samhein until New Year’s Day pondering, journaling, trancing, and meditating about my life (OK, and also the standing-in-the-shower-&-standing-in-line-at-the-coffee-shop muttering, too.) I keep a list of possible Words and, on New Year’s Day, I commit to a Word and do Christine’s worksheet (which she’ll let you download for free; well, free in exchange for your email address and we all have an email address for that stuff, right?, although I do like getting her regular emails), interspersing it with pictures that I’ve found on-line that help me to get a visual understanding (hello, Younger Self!) of what my life will look like when I live this word. (Those pictures also become my screen saver for the year on my computer. My Word of the Year becomes, in some permutation, the password for many of my on-line sites.) On the date of my birthday each month, I spend time re-reading my Word of the Year worksheet and figuring out how I am, and am not, living my Word. And that leads to my plan for the coming month.

And then I go ahead and write out those boring, old resolutions, but I relate them to my Word of the Year. If the resolution just won’t relate to my Word of the Year, it goes on the (of course, I have one) “To Be Considered Later” List.

A word about “Ignite” which is the kind of presentation that Elizabeth is making in the video. Ignite presentations are allowed to be five minutes long and to include twenty power-point slides. I know that Elizabeth worked for a long time to get her ideas down to five minutes. (You should invite her to talk to your group for 20 or 50 minutes; she has a lot more to say. Leave a comment for me; I’ll get in touch with her for you.)

But the process forces the speaker to really hone ideas down to the bone.

How would it look if Pagan festivals, conferences, and gatherings regularly included at least 60 minutes of Ignite speakers? Would it give our young members a chance to showcase their new ideas (I can see Literata, Gleamchaser, and David Salisbury here!)? Would it give our elders a motivation to hone what they have to offer? (Z, JPW, Starhawk; are you in?) Would it give speakers w/ much more to say a way to entice people to their longer talks? (John Michael Greer, Anne Niven, and Chas Clifton, I’m looking at you.) Would it give some people who don’t identify as Pagan but who have much to say to us (Derrick Jensen, Mary Oliver, and Theodora Goss?? Who else??) a chance to speak to us w/o taking up too much festival/conference time?

What do you think? What do your five minutes look like? (And what ARE you going to do, as Elizabeth asks, with YOUR wild and wonderful life?) What resolutions did you make in January that need re-evaluation, recommitment, reevaluation now that we’re looking at June?

Also, too, I’m in Elizabeth’s Tumblr :).

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