TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated hope. You know, next week, it will have been one year since I set out to swim out on my own and fill the element with signatures on my own frequency. (see quote, below) I don’t know how indecent The Underbelly is. It is, to me, a very wild, precious, perfectly imperfect, good enough signature that I have decided to fill the element with.
It is, as you may imagine, at times terrifying. Also exhilarating.
And so, hope. This week is the first week of advent, which I can’t help but see in two ways each year: First, it’s the first week that we begin to contemplate Christmas, that special mass we set aside to consider the beginning of a Way that begins and ends with Love. It’s also the beginning of a descent into darkness, and then, miraculously, the beginning of an ascent into light.
The first week of advent we contemplate Hope. Right when we’re just starting to notice, “Oh, wow, it sure is *dark* these days, isn’t it?” At the end of November, American Thanksgiving over, Christmas seems forever away but the pressures of Christmas just cresting over the horizon. Advent. Hope.
I think I am quite bullish on us. Hopeful. I trust that we can, all of us, overcome ourselves — because, weirdly, we are our only adversary, both individually and collectively.
All we have to do to vanquish this foe, is to meet ourselves face to face, courageously, daily, with love — seek out that piece of us that is unlovable and love the hell out of it.
Seek out that piece in ourselves, our partners, our kids, our neighbours…Kurt Vonnegut thought Loving your neighbour was too much to ask. I think it’s the minimum. Seeing and learning to love the most vulnerable, unseen, unpretty, darkest bits in ourselves and our families, our neighbours, our enemies.
It’s both the hardest thing you will ever do and the only thing that matters. (IMHO)
It’s my why.
What is your why this year? What is your signature? What gives you hope? What do you trust? What do you expect?
Quite honestly, at this exact moment, I am feeling a deep mixture of hopeless/hopeful. Processing as I write this, in real time.
Remembering my why, even as it slips away from me with each sentence.
This is real — Hope is not some precious moments figurine :)
Hope takes courage. At least for me it does.
What about you? What gives you hope when you don’t have any? Where does your hope come from?
(Actually, in case this feels like a scary final exam that you haven’t studied for, a hint: If you really are feeling hopeless, remember your Vagus Nerve Activation! <= see the Self Care Kit Course for a long list of quick things to do, including:
Prepare for this season. Deeply. I am deeply aware of the many holidays we as humans have created during the darkest days of our annual trip around the sun. We need them.
The days get darker and darker and darker until, each year, for me, you think you just can’t even one more day and then, weirdly (and yes, science) the days begin to elongate. It’s nothing if not a metaphor for our lives, right?
Prepare. Candles, meditation, giving to each other, receiving from each other (actually, whichever one you do the least, do the other). Breathing.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
Practice. Each day. Practice being the best you. Your very very best YOU. In your own voice, your own signature.
9. Hero: Cassandra Wallace — Family Historian
Why? A Friend (h/t Tange English) shared a 60 Minutes story about a group of people whose descendants were abducted from the Kingdom of Dahomey and taken by force to Mobile Alabama. 160 years later, many of the descendants (including Cassandra Wallace) ensure that their family history is known and passed down. The entire history, including quite a number of photographs, endures.
This is important for so many reasons as Cassandra’s daughter, Caprinxia Wallace says “It's empowering, very. Like, growing up my mom made sure she told me all the stories that her dad told her about (her descendants)”
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts.