4 Jun 2010, 4:19pm
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paths

thanks to various impetuses both positive and negative, i have been thinking even more than usual (hah) lately about my values and priorities and what i want to have and experience in my life. here’s some of what i’ve done:

made a list of all the things i can remember ever wanting to be “when i grow up.” found some trends/drew some conclusions:

lots of things on the list are artistic (not surprising). lots of things on the list, especially from when i was young, have to do with animals (sort of surprising! somehow i had forgotten).

mostly i have been better at dreaming than at acquiring the practical skills that would allow me to be financially successful at the things on the list, but i have dabbled in most of them.

clarified the values that are important to me in a “career”: personal sustainability (i.e. energizes and fulfills me in addition to providing some amount of financial security); environmental sustainability (i.e. not feeding the growth economy).

also: the three values i chose in an exercise during the cornerstone institute last summer as the most important to me in art-making and in life: communication, respect, and adventure.

made a list of things i want in my life (trying to think from the perspective of the old woman i want to be, as suggested to me by my friend laura):

* a happy, communicative, curious, loving family. a partner, a child, some cats!

* a community of close friends with whom to celebrate joys and work through challenges.

* a local multi-generational community invested in itself and its future.

* a home. a sense of physical and psychological ownership of my immediate environment. i want to make my home the way i make my love.

* a productive and beautiful garden and, ideally, animals (chickens, goats).

* creative outlets. some personal ones (art, writing) and some social ones (music, storytelling, placemaking, theatre).

* a living that meshes with my values (above).

* continued spiritual growth.

* continued learning, on physical, social and intellectual levels.

to be continued, expanded, revised, and refined, of course.

meanwhile: getting ready to leave at the end of the month. so many little things! can’t believe how many things i still need to worry about and deal with. can’t believe how many things there are for a. and i to squabble about and then discuss endlessly and then make up about. hah! i am having a lot of fun.

and my bike is finally coming together–yesterday i built my front wheel! i mean, i took a pile of (dynamo!) hub, spokes, rim, tube, and tire, and i put ‘em together. it is true and well-tensioned. my coworker tommy showed me how to do it (he built my rear wheel) and helped me out. all that’s left in building up my bike: installing the rear cassette and chain and adjusting derailleurs and brakes and so on now that i have wheels; installing fenders (ordered ‘em yesterday); putting on pedals (ditto); installing the front rack (hopefully ordered, but it was out of stock last time). oh and figuring out how to install the awesome dynamo-powered lights. and bar tape! then i will take it for a GLORIOUS test ride (heck i will probably take it for a glorious test ride before i’ve finished all that stuff)! and then i will start taking books to powell’s in my panniers to a) “train” and b) have less books to pack into boxes and put in storage for i-don’t-honestly-have-any-idea-how-long-(and-that-makes-me-a-little-uncomfortable-and-a-little-excited).

bike backstory: in june 2008, two weeks after getting hit by a car, i was in a lot of pain, on a lot of narcotic painkillers, and feeling very sorry for myself and very angry at cars and drivers everywhere. it was pretty clear that i was going to get some kind of settlement from the insurance company of the woman who hit me, though, and somewhere in that haze i decided that i was going to use it to buy The Most Amazing Bike In The World and get back on the horse. so i put down a deposit for a sweetpea frame and fork. behold, this spring, at long last, the resultant objet d’awesome:


this is the photo natalie ramsland sent me to let me know i could finally come pick it up!

yes. i am so excited to see where this bike takes me. and i love that even as i ride out of portland, this little piece of it will be what carries me to whatever is next. with tommy’s help, i have been building it up myself, so that hopefully if/when any problems arise, i will be able to diagnose and fix them myself. as a bonus, a.’s bike has pretty similar parts, so i should be able to help him out, too. (is it worth mentioning that “bike mechanic” was on that list i mentioned at the top of this entry? hah.)

on tuesday night at the vbc, starhawk talked about a book she is writing that will expound on eight principles. i can’t remember all of them, but many of them were similar to permaculture design principles (starhawk is also a permaculture teacher) applied to life in general. her first principle, for example, is that abundance comes not from money or material goods but from relationships. compare to the concept of one design element’s waste being another’s resource (a simple example: veggie scraps fed to chickens and chicken manure used as fertilizer to grow more veggies). it is obvious to most permaculturalists these days that permaculture principles can be applied to situations beyond land use. in our class this winter we heard from folks who have applied them to things like teaching and education. i love the way permaculture shifts perspectives and prods gently at assumptions.

anyway, my 25th birthday, and the end of my first quarter-century on earth, is coming up next month, and i have been thinking–probably inspired in part by the amusing and insightful blog my year of everything–about doing a “my year of permaculture” type personal project during my 26th year. cheesy, for sure! but possibly useful as a framework for observation (principle #1!) and reflection. something like examining and reflecting on one principle a month. maybe not very interesting for anyone but me–probably not book deal material ;) –but worthwhile.

i thought such a project would be impossible ’cause i won’t be settled and stable next year, but i think that is maybe exactly the situation in which such a project would be useful. how can i apply these principles to my life as it is, here and now, as opposed to how i want it to be or imagine it will be someday? this unsettled time will not be a time-out from my life–it is my life. it may also be easier for me to make productive changes than it will be later in my life.

anyway anyway anyway. starhawk also led us in an amazing spiral dance. the room was packed full of people and at the end of the dance we all knelt to touch the floor, then stood up again and sang an endless chord, on and on. i lost track of my own voice in the voices around me, but singing my own note helped me hear the whole big resonance all the better. it was pretty beautiful.

my vbc notes:

(and a couple other recent mandalas for good measure)

a. got a tattoo:

“The experience of aporia reminds us of limits: our limits, the limits of our understanding, the limits of our language. We see these limits not as explicit barriers that block all movement, but as paths that lead us in some directions, while also sometimes preventing us from getting to where we are trying to go. They help us to get this far, but they prevent us from getting any further. At this extremity, we encounter a deeper kind of aporia: a doubt that never goes entirely away…. The goal is not to eliminate aporia, or to regard it as simply a loss, an absence; but to see within doubt the questions that make a new understanding possible.”

(from this essay)

“I want to make my home the way I make my love.” Stacia, this is so wonderful. I can relate to so much in here. Am I a bad person for secretly hoping you end up in berkeley this year? :)

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