2021 | A Welcome

I’m a Virgo sun, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy reflection and lists. I have been reflecting and processing over that past week leading up to the new year. Reflecting on how arbitrary the idea of time is but we abide by it (flurries of work as the end of the year approaches) and we feel it (not being able to physically visit my parents for a year). Marking time has felt … weird and discombobulated this year. I prefer the slower pace, working in my pjs over my first cup of coffee, getting up to walk Tepals to the park down the street whenever we need a break, and the practice of care in not having to soften answers to questions like “how are you?”

I don’t want to return to ‘normal’ — a sentiment I hear echoed by many: friends, social justice advocates, and colleagues. So, instead I think about what I do want to return to this year. The ways I want to strengthen what is working and the ways I want to continue to work towards changing what isn’t. 

Again, Virgo sun - love an abundance of planners + notebooks

I’m always setting goals. This meme from @notallgeminis is me. So, I didn’t want to set more goals. But, I did want to work larger intentions. The past couple of years I’ve used planners from Many Moons and Rainbow Vision, which were great for learning new-to-me practices around intention setting. One practice I liked was taking time at the start of the year to pull cards &/or reflect and then do some spell writing and casting. I’ve found that daily ritual tends to overwhelm me, but having broader intentions to return to over time is grounding. Classic strategist over here – everything must have a framework, a container! Anyhow, here’s my container for this next year.

2021 Intentions

  • Abundance
  • Entanglement
  • Home

 

ABUNDANCE IS A MINDSET

I’ve been practicing this one the longest and it’s the hardest to put into words. It’s a feeling and it’s an awareness. It’s an awareness of fear and scarcity and a reframing towards abundance. It’s gratitude and joy and self compassion.

EMBRACE ENTANGLEMENT

I continue to be inspired by everything Ross Gay thinks about in his poetry and discusses on a podcast. I have a hard time engaging with poetry but I love the ideas. So, this idea to embrace entanglement didn’t feel new when I first heard him speak about it, but like a radical, necessary shift in perspective. A shift away from a white supremacist idea of ‘perfection’ and the individual that produces perfection. And a shift towards centering interdependence, intuition, and kindness.

Embracing entanglement feels to me like a continuation of practicing self compassion, but going deeper. I default to blaming myself, as though we are ever the only one responsible for something (interdependence y’all) and as though this were a helpful reaction (it’s not). The idea is not to skirt responsibility and owning the harm you cause, but to release blame/guilt/shame of the self to make messing up okay because we will mess up. And if we don’t make it okay to acknowledge messing up, then we don’t learn from it. 

To embrace entanglement is to know we aren’t separate from one another. That there isn’t an easy or convenient way out of the unjust systems we are a part of. That to exist is hard and messy. And that’s ok. That’s the work. I come back to these two quotes from the podcast about entanglement. The contrarian in me resonates with the second one.

Danez Smith: You know, because if there is … because I see that, right, there is no easy exit from these systems, right. In order to truly like disentangle from whiteness, everybody gonna have to get touched in some type of way.
 
Ross Gay: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah! That’s it. That’s it. And that’s the thing is sort of like, what is this sort of emotional fortification you can offer anyone, a little Black kid, so that by the time someone says, “Oh, that happened to you because you’re Black,” you’re already like, “No it didn’t. It happened because of whiteness. It had nothing to do with me. It had to do with you. Had to do with you.”
HOME

I have pull this card multiple times at the beginning of multiple years (it’s actually called ‘Nest’ from Marcella Kroll’s Nature Nurture oracle deck). While I think about my physical house and the location of home, both which are likely to change this year — I also think about being at home in myself and how that’ll free me to be at home wherever I go. I especially think about this as I contemplate what we mean by ‘being your whole self’ at work, and how this feeling of belonging enables me to co-create a community of care at and in my work.

“We need to develop a sense of belonging in and to the world that tells us other people are ours to care for.”
– Mia Birdsong, How We Show Up

A Spell for Abundance

Ways that I feel abundant

  • mornings to move at my own pace. It doesn’t have to be every morning, but 2 out of 3.
  • a pot of coffee in the morning
  • seeing Tepals wag her tail when she sniffs something of ours. She recognizes us from our scent alone and that’s enough to make her feel joy, loved, and playful. 

 

This spell for abundance came to me while I was making up a plate of anchovies with Mama Lil Peppers, sprinkled with red pepper flakes and chopped parsley to eat on toast with butter. The spell was my awareness of feeling abundance in the practice of making this snack for myself. 

Remembering the joy and freedom of imagination as a kid when I played witch and mixed bottles of hotel shampoo together, helped me to remember now, as an adult, that magic does not have to follow an exact course or be serious. What invited me to magic in the first place was play, the safe and encouraged boundaries around creativity, imagination, and dreaming.

Offering this because I think sometimes it can be hard to find our way back to our own magic.

Mo(u)rning Thoughts

Today I woke up feeling heavy. Feeling sadness. Feeling grief in my mind, my heart, and my body. Feeling like any practice of self compassion was too hard when I have not been able to be or exercise outside for almost a week due to smoke from wildfires throughout the West Coast (and count me lucky that I have shelter). Feeling that the work of social justice is too slow. 

I read testimonials from ex-Everlane employees of color last night. The way they were treated was so obviously bad, but also so acute in some ways. Of course their experiences are not about my white-guilt, nor are they about illuminating my own experiences as a WOC. But, that didn’t stop me from fearing that I’ll never be able to unlearn + educate + practice my way out of the lessons of systemic racism that I’ve acquired in my 33 years of living. Nor the ways it shows up in individual acts from micro to straight up aggression. It made me worry about being a ‘cog’ in a capitalist machine thinking that ‘slowing down’ to reflect and practice intention is enough to break the machine. It is and mostly it isn’t.  

These feelings are in contrast. Generally, I feel like someone who is able to hold ‘conflicting’ truth and complexity. That I can see + feel + be part of the co-creation of a new way of being in this world that envisions different systems that are set up on solidarity, active-listening, collaboration, KINDNESS + EMPATHY that we are all living + trying AND it is HARD sometimes, but it is also GOOD.

But, today I feel like its not enough and I’m not enough (and not in the angry action-oriented way that propels me towards something. Instead, a quiet sadness that sits at the pit of my stomach letting me know – everything is not okay).

I am sharing because this is a part of being human. Because this is how I feel at one moment in time. Because we feel things and that is okay to embrace + acknowledge + sit with + share + discuss + let be.