Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yearly Wrap up:

For many in my circle of friends, 
2016 has been a horrid year – 
in tone and content of public discourse,
being forced to acknowledge those citizens with whom we share
the same basic geographic space 
but apparently little else;
in the outcome of the political election
and in the loss of our perception of the moral character of our country.

If you’re like me,
it’s easy to let the past few weeks
of increasingly desperate social media ‘feed’ 
color your perception of the entire year.

I was challenged recently by a friend 
to ‘re-frame’ the year before it ended; 
to sit down and intentionally reflect on 
“16 Things that went Right in 2016”. 

(Goes without saying that 'right' in this context means 'well',
 not 'right' as in a political orientation!)

‘Setting intentions’ for 2017 is the next challenge– 
which may well be influenced by how successful I am 
 in first setting a positive perspective for the year that’s ending).

So here it goes …

16/15/14: Two opportunities to discover Northern CA and a trip to San Francisco. 
Let me say without hesitation that I’m a fan!
Art Boy has lived in CA before –in  Los Angeles - 
so when I heard he was moving back to CA again, my inner response was “meh, ok.”
I figured Northern CA was like southern CA:
 all the superficiality, glitz, 
preoccupation with outward appearance and perfection - only cooler.
 I’ve lived to be schooled. 
Northern CA has its own separate character, topography and mood – 
and it sings to my soul in too many ways to count. 
 (Actually my trips there could practically count as the top 10 of the things 
that have gone well this year!) 

I’ve written about my trips (here and here
in case you want to remind yourself of all the gorgeousness. 
(I'll be starting 2017 with another trip to CA as well!. 
But that’s news for another day.)

13: A fabulous 10 day trip to Cuba
satisfying my inner adventuress in exploring new cultures and locations.
It was also a check to see how efficiently my liver tolerates a challenge- 
and I’m here to say it seems to do quite well with metabolizing rum! 
Good to know.

12: Reading 36 books 
(+ enough news articles from the NYT, Washington Post, New Yorker, 
Atlantic Review, Indian Times and Huffington Post to equal 
several doctoral theses.)

11. Regularly giving myself the gift of time and space for silence and meditation, 
both in my own house and while walking labyrinths.

10. Creating – 
and it’s really hard not to be judgmental and qualifying, 
giving my inner critic voice room to say “but not as much as you should have” 
and “not as much as you have in the past”. 
Hey, voice in my head – just shush! 
I made things – 
a painted folk art piece I love, 
images with my camera, 
and books of those favorite images
so they can be enjoyed without sitting at a computer 
and there are many more works ‘in process’.

9. Learning how to manage the pain and reality of living 
with both chronic and life threatening medical conditions. 
(Rheumatoid Arthritis and Smoldering Myeloma); 
using a combination of holistic/alternative measures and traditional medications. 
I think the combo is working! 
Pain is reduced, 
inflammation markers on my blood work have improved 
and vital organs, so far, look minimally impacted. 
I’m taking it as a WIN!

8/7. 2 years of post-retirement, full time employment coming to an ‘official’ end.  
As most of you know, returning to work has been a mixed blessing for me. 
Adrenaline is still my preferred drug of choice and developing a clinic from scratch, 
with all the administrative and technological components of creating a ‘dashboard’ 
in the electronic medical record 
along with the data keeping and reporting obligations of being accountable 
to hospital Administration, the Foundation funding the grant and state officials 
hardly qualifies as “living on the edge”. 
Living on The Cliffs of Insanity, maybe,
but NOT exciting by any stretch of the imagination. 

The pluses: 
 I’ve used different executive decision making regions of my brain, 
had income that’s allowed me to take the trips I’ve loved, 
bought extra things for family I wouldn’t have been able to afford without it, 
been challenged by strong willed, passionate professionals – all with opinions about the things we ‘should be doing’ and happy to share those opinions on a frequent basis, 
made a distinct difference in the lives of children in the foster care system, 
exceeded expectations by serving over  850 kids 
and created a viable program that will continue for years 
as an integral part of the hospital, 
serving as a model for how to medically manage children in state custody. 

As my boss says “competence is its own punishment” – 
and I’ve been asked to be a Standing member on 2 oversight committees in the Capitol. 
I get to share the expertise that comes from over 3 decades of being in Child Welfare 
with folks who might actually have the power/ability to make some lasting changes. 

The minuses -  
been challenged by strong willed, passionate professionals – all with opinions about the things we ‘should be doing’ and happy to share those opinions on a frequent basis, 
operating a clinic while being without the appropriate amount of dedicated space or staff, 
lack of ongoing support from hospital administration 
and stretching my limited physical stamina to beyond what feels healthy on many days. 

Overall, the pluses carry the day. 
While the decision about when to try retirement again will definitely be revisited 
on a frequent basis 
and there might come a day when the pluses DON’T win out, 
for right now, 
I’m still here – by choice.

6. A full year of being Junior Warden on the Vestry of our church during a time of transition. 
The retirement of our Rector, working with the Diocese on finding an Interim, facilitating the Nominating Committee, extra meetings with Vestry, meetings with the Bishop – 
all extra obligations of which I was blissfully unaware when I was elected. 
And all spinning plates I’ve been able to juggle 
without (knock on wood) dropping any, so far. 
No thanks to me as much as to the faithful good people in our parish 
and the grace of God! 
5.  Two trips to Rosebud reservation (for mission work and play);
trips which deepen my ties to place and people 
in ways that nourish my spiritual life 
and connects me on a cellular level,
in ways I can't explain,
to a broader circle of ‘ancestors’.

4. Deepening relationships with a circle of soul sisters who meet monthly 
for “Bread, Wine and Whine”; 
women who laugh, cry and grow together as we face growing old – 
and there’s frequently nothing overtly amusing about that – 
but somehow there is when its shared.
3. Deepening relationship with family members who share decades of history from different perspectives and love many of the same people I do.
2.  Continuing to watch my sons as they grow into men who are strong, sensitive, 
capable and caring; 
creating lives that reflect who they are and what they value. 
1. The extraordinary joy of seeing another generation come safely into being 
and the blessing of being a small part in a new life.
Maybe, 2016 hasn't been such a bad year after all.

What would be on your list?

No comments: