“That even as we grieved, we grew” ~ Amanda Gorman

Hello Friends!

Here I am, once again! I’m determined to make my writing a habit this year, even if I’m a little less certain that I have anything worthwhile to say. Heartfelt thanks for “tuning in” – just imagining a friend reading this makes it seem worthwhile.

“That even as we hurt, we hoped.”

“That even as we tired, we tried.”

Yep, I’m kind of obsessed with The Hill We Climb by the extraordinary Amanda Gorman. While I’ve missed a couple days of listening, I’ve tried to do so regularly. It’s a wonderful, uplifting “brain break” from the nonstop torrent words that fill my day via email and zoom (each of which fill my cup in their own way). Just to hear her cadence, her vocabulary, and to feel her vision for a brighter tomorrow… it lifts me up.

Writing the whole poem out in my journal is something I’m glad I took the time to do. I’ve always found that I process information better while speaking or writing – it wasn’t until I arrived at Oldfields that I learned some of the terms for each of our unique learning styles, and in so doing, became more aware of my own. In college and then later, in graduate school, I learned that I needed to be taking notes to really “absorb” the information presented by the professor. I took alot of notes (more like transcription), which made me pretty handy for my friends who were not similarly inclined, but I rarely found that I used them much once I’d taken them. The process of writing in itself is what enabled me to internalize the information. And, at 50+ years old, I continue to be who I am… and moreso. Since writing the poem out, different phrases from sunk in, and several seem to bubble up more often than others. “That even as we grieved, we grew.” This one most of all.

There is just so much grief in our world right now. While I’ve known this for months, while I’ve watched in horror as the numbers have climbed, supported friends through their losses, been moved by the flags planted in memorial in DC, and I’ve tried to feel it. In doing so, I think I’ve also learned that one can not feel grief, truly, until you have someone to grieve. And now, so many of us, do. It’s an experience that humbles us and unites us – always, in the past, and now more than ever (in my lifetime).

And so this phrase “as we grieved, we grew” is really stuck in my mind. It calls to me because I want to find the good out of the terrible, the lessons learned from this difficult and sad time, the call to action from all this pain. So, how do we do that?

When I think of the three lives lost from my life last month, representing the 100’s of thousands lost in the US alone over these long difficult months, I want to honor them by growing. It’s a course of action and an antidote to feeling “stuck” when all else seems so futile. I can’t comfort the families whose loved ones are gone, I can’t heal the wounded hearts and I can’t even fly to be with those I love to show them how much I care. I can’t do many things… but I can try to grow. It’s something!

And this brings me back to my admittedly self-centered plan for the blog this year. Or maybe it’s just another example of masterful rationalization, to make my focus on my “greatest impact” seem less selfish amidst such sorrowful times. I recognize that my ability to dedicate time, effort, thoughts and words to my achieving my personal “best” in 2021, is the ultimate luxury. It is the gift my friends can no longer enjoy. So I’m choosing to take each of their lives and their legacies as my inspiration. I’m going to stick to my knitting, my intentions and my goals and see what I can do with the time I’m given. There’s simply no time to waste.

Wishing you each a hopeful, healthy week ahead.

THIS WEEK’S RECOMMENDED RESOURCE IS:

  1. CliftonStrengths 34 – Grateful to my friend and inspiration (and birthday girl this past week), Shari Goodwin of Jaeger2, for recommending this tool to me. I’ve always believed in the importance of leaning into the things we love, and leveraging the things we enjoy – because we’ll likely practice them and be better at them. This really fun, reasonably priced and time-efficient self-assessment resource has given me much to think about over the past year. I highly recommend doing it & keeping the report “handy” especially while choosing where and how to invest the gift we’re given with each precious day.

CELEBRATING PROGRESS TOWARDS MY GOALS:

  1. Within my goal of maintaining a disciplined & balanced approach to the allocation of my energy – a couple of milestones to celebrate.
    • I am happy to say I’ve managed to securely plant reading & rowing in the routine in January. (Finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter today).
    • I also have two good examples of finding ways to not undertake, directly, a couple of tempting new volunteer projects. Instead, spent a little energy finding other terrific, willing and excited resources to “do the work”. Just a little “woo hoo” for momentarily resisting the urge to do it all myself and intentionally leaning into my #1 CliftonStrengths strength (I’ll share mine if you share yours!).
  2. To carry the message of the TRF (Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation) widely I was delighted to record my first 2 podcasts of 2021 (thank you Pete Fornatale, In the Money Podcast & Rick Thompson, Talk Saratoga), and to facilitate our first print media piece (anticipated in The Aiken Horse in last week of Feb).
  3. To help my Padre navigate and execute a move to live nearer to me  I am proud of us for completing our 3rd “virtual tour” this past week, and moving along toward making a timeline for next steps & decisions. Very thankful to Renee Birnbaum for her assistance (and if anyone is undertaking a similar journey, please let me know – Renee is a great resource with a national network of colleagues)

That’s it for now. Be well and keep on growing!

Namaste,

XO

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