mordwen: (Default)

It's been a while since I've posted and I wasn't in a terrific headspace when I did...

Some of you know about my tradition of choosing a word for the year...

Last year, I wrote:

My word for this year is "open": opening physically to give birth, opening emotionally to love this new addition to our family, being open to change, being open to challenge.

I think I've done pretty well with that, although I didn't open physically to give birth very well (in the end, there was a scalpel involved) but I think I succeeded on all the others. Certainly it's been a tumultuous year of change and challenge, and of love and laughter as well. Harper has turned out to be an absolute delight. Doug, I think, would also say she's a handful and he could probably do with a year of better health and more energy to devote to himself as well as to the family.

Last night at the Prodigal Sons and Daughters' picnic, I was chatting with Julian, who I used to live with and with whom I had a fairly fraught relationship. We discussed meds and moods and how we've grown. He observed that I seem to have everything going for me right now and to a great extent that's true: I have a wonderful partner in Doug, and Harper is absolutely the child I dreamed of. I have friends and work and food on the table. I live in a terrific city that I adore. I have my challenges still: I put my foot in it often enough, sometimes badly, and the most recent person I've upset is one of my sisters (I've apologised profusely; now I wait). But my complaints are mostly minor niggles: that we're not at Woodford for New Year this year; that the work I'm doing is not yet the Dream Job.

I think this year my word is "empathy". I think that the issues that I have had towards the end of this year have mostly been a failure of empathy. I like that it's about feeling, and not a conscious thing. I can get the words right as much as I like, but like smiling on the phone, unless the expression is coming from a place of genuine care and understanding, the tone will still be wrong and maybe the words, no matter how innocent, will still be the wrong ones for the situation or will come out tinged with some negative air that I didn't consciously intend.

What's your word?

mordwen: (happy)
Happy new year, everyone...

The grand adventure was grand but it is good to be back in Melbourne... with our lovely kitty and our beautiful house, both of which were looked after incredibly well by [livejournal.com profile] horngirl  (thank you!!).

Despite everybody's dire warnings, the flights (Melb to Bris, Bris to Syd, Syd to Melb) didn't hurt at all, although my feet swelled up pretty badly on the middle one, possibly due to having walked all over Woodford for the previous week.

The heat didn't incapacitate me at all -- I love heat; I got my belly covered in henna -- photos to come; lots of lovely people cooed over my henna-decorated belly; I saw terrific music; we ran two fairly successful workshops of citizen media; and I spent time with people I only get to see around Woodford, like Geoff Wilson and Melinda Reed and Angela Deane and Lily Collard and now Rachel di Re. Amusingly, I discovered that my old friend from primary and high school, Lesley Jones, has been going to Woodford for the last six years. Why? Because her partner and the father of her two kids is Lino from Waiting for Guiness. We think the only reason I haven't run into her in the past is because she has spent most of the previous festivals in the children's festival, but now that Joey is 9 and Oscar is 6 or so, they were out and about more.

Doug managed to come down with a stomach bug early in the festival, so his enjoyment was tempered somewhat and we didn't end up having many big nights. We had a quiet New Year's and didn't make it up the hill for the sunrise ceremony, but that was fine by both of us really, as much as I would like to think I could haul myself up there, it probably wasn't a good idea. As it was, we could hear the shakahachi flute and the Tibetan singing waft down into our tent and lay there as the sky turned pink looking out through our little window.

The big night for me was the night before that, actually, the 20th birthday party for the chai tent, where I danced to Jambezi, and then Transfusion (a new outfit from the Dva guys) and finally Wild Marmalade. I staggered back to the tent by 2am, very tired but very happy.

Then of course, we went to Sydney for Coopstock, which this year was every single Oscar-winning animated short in chronological order. It was terrific. There are some clangers in there, but there are also obviously some absolutely brilliant pieces, such as "The Old Man and the Sea", "The Dot and the Line", "Herb Alpert Double Feature" (and Matthew went to considerable effort to get this), "Sand Castle" (beautiful, beautiful film), "Crac" (lovely, touching film about the life of a rocking chair), "Tango" (amazing piece of choreography!), "The Man who Planted Trees", and "Ryan" (an incredible, confronting biopic). That's not to mention all the well known Pixar and Aardman shorts and other nifty items like "The Chubb Chubbs".

Some of you know that a few years ago, [livejournal.com profile] crystal_storm , [livejournal.com profile] razorgirl_au  and I started a tradition of choosing a word for each year rather than doing resolutions. That tradition has now spread further afield, as many of you commented with your own words on last year's post, which I love. My word last year was "grace", which, interestingly, is a word Doug has been using to describe how I've handled the challenges of this pregnancy. I think I have brought more grace into my life this year: I am calmer, and more at peace with myself than in any time in my memory.

My word for this year is "open": opening physically to give birth, opening emotionally to love this new addition to our family, being open to change, being open to challenge.

Feel free to join in our tradition and share your word if you choose. Love to all!

mordwen: (Default)
Here at the sweltering end of the globe (currently around 40° and forecast to hit 42° Celsius -- that's 107.6° F for you northerners) it's New Year's Eve and time to glance back and evaluate. A few years ago, I was pretty miserable. I made up for it by making public posts about politics and intellectual pursuits and private posts about struggles I was having with the interface between me and the world. I saw friends happy and didn't know how to process that. And then at other times, I was really happy, mostly when there was food and music, like at Woodford.

I'm hesitant to talk about happiness now because I'm aware that there are people out there experiencing their own grief and fear and other challenges, and I remember what that felt like. To them I want to say: this too shall pass.

A few years ago, [profile] crystal_storm and I started a tradition of choosing a word for each new year instead of doing resolutions. [profile] razorgirl_au joined in and I now know that [personal profile] e_dan is doing it too. I just saw on [profile] artbroken's journal that he's looking for Clarity and Momentum this year. I've sought Clarity before and it was a year of insights and wonders. My word year before last was Heal — physical, mental and spiritual healing — and I mended my broken back, embarked on a psychological journey and changed my ritual practices that year.

The word for this year was Replenish. I'm not sure how that worked but I guess it did. People keep on telling me how happy I look. It was a crazy year. A year in which I moved to America and then back again. A year in which I had not one but two wedding ceremonies, both to the same man (only one legal, of course, and I'm still not sure how I feel about the fact it was legal rather than just a handfasting). We learned a little about parenting a teenager, succeeded from time to time and failed frequently. We had happy times and tumultuous times. We cried in each others' arms a lot. We saw a couples therapist and worked through a huge amount. I couldn't find a job and scraped by with occasional freelance work and Doug's generosity. It was a very hard year in that sense. And it was magical: new friends, Burning Man, roadtrips, Peru, redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, Harbin Hotsprings. Interestingly, for a year with the aim of replenishment, both our ceremonies included a ritual of filling each other's cup with mead. Honey, thank you for helping me to fill our cup.

I've been trying to work out this year's word. Usually I'm at Woodford now, but I did Burning Man instead and moving countries is expensive! I think it might just be Grace (specifically in the sense of 'accept with grace'). I think this year has challenges in it that I will need to flow with and I think that learning to embrace and accept those challenges with grace would be a lesson that would enrich me and endow me with great power for the future when I want to change and create. I'm also looking for the 'courteous goodwill' and the charm and elegance it implies: I'd love to refine my harsher edges and become more gently persuasive in my arguments. I can't often hear the tones that people hear in my voice and react against but I'd like to learn to soften them.

So, there you have it. A far-too-public airing of my life as it stands, but one that feels right for now.  I'd love to hear what concepts you would choose to bring into your lives, if you'd care to share. I wish you all the brightest of blessings for the New Year.

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