I am my own Breakfast Club.

The Rebel.  The Jock.  The Recluse.  The Beauty.  The Geek.

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I am not necessarily these precise beings.  Rebel, yes, by default really, considering I am a volatile creature of passion.  Jock not so much; I’ll have to get over my completely illogical fear of the lifting machines at the YWCA first.  Recluse from time to time.  Beauty, meh.  Geek, absolutely.  I want to be a graphic novel character for Halloween.  Seriously.

My breakfast club is more specific, more particular, and its denizens were determined until recent days to exclude each other out of seeming necessity.  But no more.

We have the Intellectual, a studious and introverted creature who is insatiably curious.  It is she who is leading my research project on intentional community as well as my return to volunteering at the library.  For a long time the Intellectual disdained the Lush, an ostentatious partier, dancer, and pursuer of substances and good times of all sorts.  While still not anything resembling friends, the Intellectual and the Lush are willing to be in the same room at long last, eying each other warily across the way over a book and a drink respectively.

Then there’s the Homesteader, a nesting type who is happiest when quilting, cooking with local veggies, or making homemade bug repellant from vodka and essential oils.  She desires rootedness and connection, a place that is shared and beloved.  The Explorer craves connection too, but of a different sort, the variety that is much more transitory and serendipitous.  A campsite river view at sunrise.  Friends of friends of friends in a city at midnight.  The Explorer and the Homesteader have learned how to share the baton, however, and that meaning is built both in spontaneity and in months and years of hard work.

Finally, both above and within and inside the other four breakfasters, there’s the Dreamer and the Skeptic.  As you’d imagine, they’re still at odds much of the time.  The Dreamer sees possibility and opportunity everywhere she turns, while the Skeptic is quite convinced that it’s all to no avail, in the end.  The Dreamer wants nothing more than to create, because what else can she do when the world is so beautiful.  The Skeptic scoffs, because it is almost certain that anything the Dreamer creates will be forgotten.  But they are beginning to coexist.

The Intellectual.  The Lush.  The Homesteader.  The Explorer.  The Dreamer.  The Skeptic.  A motley crew, to be sure.  Yet they’re finally discovering how to learn from each other.

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Internal Audit: Couch Surfing and Connectedness

 I am getting more involved with Couch Surfing.  We’ve had three surfers already in the last month, with a fourth arriving today.  I love this project because connectedness and authentic conversation are two of the most important things to me (and the former happens to be my number one strength on Strengths Finder), and meeting new people who will share their experiences and delve into the meat of life is a joy.  I also don’t believe that travel should be expensive, and that to truly see and know a place you need to experience it with the people that live there.  I am still processing the trust and safety issues that emerge with this practice, especially the residue from my upbringing that tells me to not trust anyone, at least at first, but I do believe that people as individuals are good, and want to be open to the world rather than closed off as my parents sometimes seem to be.

Internal Audit: Yoga

Half moon pose
Half moon, one of my favorite poses recently.

I’m doing yoga.  I’m trying to go twice a week to two different studios that both have donation based classes, because while I feel it is totally reasonable and worthwhile to pay instructors for their skill and service, I also don’t feel like yoga classes should be expensive.  Yoga is both spiritual and physical for me, the latter beneficial as a counterpart to biking everywhere, a building of strength and increased confidence in the ability of my body, while the former generally has to do with being present, with absorbing myself so fully in something that I lose time and space and the constant soundtrack in my head of to-do lists, songs stuck in my brain, and the rest of the activity for the day, and can just be present in where I am and what is happening.  Cooking does this too, and sometimes biking though that more often is a time that allows me to think rather than escape from thinking.  I want to add a meditation and tai chi practice to yoga, but struggle with finding time to do it and committing with my whole being, though I know it is something I need and want that will help me be closer to the full person that I can be.

Internal Audit: Home

Soup
Blending soup by hand.

I’m keeping up Namaste House, which involves cooking and gardening and cleaning and arranging and making space that is pleasant.  I’m also coordinating our online bill pay for electric and gas, and will be making a house calendar to keep track of what’s going on with everyone.  I enjoy organizing these things, and creative problem solving, but get stressed when things seem unnecessarily complicated, especially when they involve money, which is something I wish I didn’t have to care about at all.  Maintaining the garden and planting new vegetables for this year is one of my very favorite things to do around the house, as is cooking.  I like both providing for myself and the rest of my housemates, as well as the challenge of DIY.  I feel compelled to do as much locally, sustainably, and without buying new things as I possibly can. 

primroses
I believe them to be primroses.

I’m also finding that I love having people over and cooking for them, to share conversation and good food and not have a particular agenda.  Our monthly potlucks are fun and worthwhile but sometimes exhausting by the end of the night, whereas having a couple of friends over for dinner is a fabulous and energizing experience.

An Internal Audit of Sorts

MayDay sloth
One of the floats at the MayDay parade, a perfect reminder.

It’s been high time I examine what I’m doing with myself and why, for weeks now really.  I spend my time on what sometimes seems like an unreasonable number of things, and manage to both get carried away by the tide of time and activity and constantly question what and why and how and when.  So I did a bit of an internal audit, a review of my life and passions at present, in hopes that I will better discern my path.  The whole thing is very ‘I’ centric, something I try to avoid but of course cannot when examining my motivations for action and persistence.

What I’m wondering is this: What am I doing with my life right now?  Why am I doing it?  What do I want to be doing more of?  Less of?

I have a handful of blurbs to answer these questions, and rather than post an absurdly lengthy single piece, will share it with the cloud over the next week or so.  Following is the first.  Any insight from readers on what you hear underneath what I am saying about how I should be spending my energies would be much appreciated, critical or otherwise.

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I’m working at the Community Council.  I spend a lot of time at the computer, on email, sitting and typing and just generally being remarkably sedentary.  I want to do less of this.  However, I also spend a good amount of time in meetings.  I enjoy the smaller meetings, the informal ones where I get to catch up and connect and problem solve.  I really like biking to various things, working with the Transition Town group, and doing the interviews with people for the Energy Resilience Group eblast.  I’ve also enjoyed learn about and having an effect on zoning and development in the neighborhood- it’s crazy work to be doing considering the fact that I’m not at all educated in planning, but it’s interesting and important and I feel like my role as community organizer matters in processing information from the city for the neighborhood to get people involved in more complicated things that are actually really important.