Reflections & New Intentions

 

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This is very belated, but I still wanted to get a New Year’s Resolutions post up before January was over. I feel like people are heatedly divided about the value of resolutions. There are lots of people who think they are at best foolish and inevitably broken,  and at worst, another tool of the anxiety-producing capitalist patriarchal surveillance state.           ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m not part of that camp. I understand those critiques, but I reject them. I think resolutions, like any sort of goal, can be an entirely positive practice. There’s nothing wrong with setting an intention and using a ritualized holiday to help concretize it. I believe there is significant energy in a practice that includes millions of people all engaging in the same activity around one day. What a powerful foundation to set us up for success!

Before I begin sharing my intentions and goals for 2016, I wanted to borrow One Raw Bite‘s idea to share her 2015 Resolution post and reflect a year later on how she did. I wrote the following resolutions in this post on December 31, 2014:

1. Connect more with people. Avoid small talk if I have the option to exchange more meaningfully; have longer conversations in person, ask people about their feelings and opinions about things that matter.

I kind of crushed this. A few days after I originally wrote this, I started a conversation with another coffee shop regular (I do 99.9% of my non-campus work—-lesson planning, writing/researching– –at coffee shops), Mark, who became one of my best friends in Boston. We totally bonded about movies (he’s a filmmaker) and music, and he’s a super solid dude. I also met Louie this year, in England, a person who I shared a very deep connection with and who I am very grateful to have in my life. I was also more vulnerable with the people in my life who I already knew—it was a tough year, and I was willing to breakdown, be weak, ask for help, and give the hard-to-talk-about details to friends I let myself trust. It was terrifying–and also one of the most powerful aspects of my year.

2. Continue grounding rituals. Lemon water in the morning, self-care books and journaling/gratitude lists at night. Daily yoga practice, exercise that feels good, green smoothie or green juice for breakfast. Deep cleaning and de-cluttering; practicing the one-in/one-out rule.

I am a creature of routine, so this was sort of an easy one to stick to. I think I *almost* stuck with the one-in/one-out rule, but I still need to get rid of more clothes. I was and continue to be somewhat inconsistent with journaling and gratitude lists, but I did better last year than ever before. I am going to re-commit to that practice this year too.

3. Eight hours of sleep as much as possible. Lots of water.

Mostly solid! I still struggle with getting to bed early, but it’s certainly gotten better, thanks in large part to the fact that 2015 was the year I agreed to teach 6am yoga and bootcamp classes at my studio. 6am is not usually a time I witness, but the class forces me to wake up when it’s dark and see the sun rise. I actually really love being an early riser and am excited to continue on this early-to-bed/early-to-rise path.

4. Doing more for others. More care packages, more phone calls, more helping out. Complimenting people (mindfully) more often. Getting back to volunteer yoga teaching (ideally in the juvenile detention center I’ve been in contact with in Boston, but really anywhere that works out). And getting back involved with organizing and activism in whatever form best serves the struggle.

I did okay-ish on this, but there is room for improvement here. Never made it into a detention center to teach yoga, but I did get involved with Black & Pink, had a prison pen pal, and have done some jail visits. I also made it out to several #BLM protests and marches. Doing good work for our world is not a one-time resolution thing. This is a life’s work, and I’m eager to continue to devote my time and energy to justice. <3

5. Writing for me (blog, creative personal stuff, maybe a zine!) at least a few times a week, and writing for school/work at least a little bit most days of the week.

Not so great. Blogging fell by the wayside, and nothing creative ever really came into fruition. Still working on this!

6. Pausing. Really pausing before I react to things. Breathing during that pause, remembering what my words and actions mean in the world. Contributing more kind energy than hostile energy into the world (interpersonally, anyway…I’ll still probably be pretty hostile about social injustice). Practicing lovingkindness towards all beings (including myself). Saying and living, everyday: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. 

Learning how to re-channel the emotions I was dealing with because of repressed trauma was a major theme of 2015 and although this is a never-ending practice, I have a really good handle on it. (#iheartmytherapist)

7. More music. It’s always been a big part of my life, but it’s taken different forms. I’d like to devote some dollars to seeing more shows, I’d like to make more mixes for myself and others, I’d like to go dancing more. And maybe, just maybe, playing some music again, too.

I did indeed get to more shows this year, and it ruled! Still haven’t played any more music, but I’ll always be open to being in a band again someday! (I’m ready universe, assemble me a gang of musical riot grrrrls!).

8. Start a podcast (already in the works with one of my fave ladies!).

So my dear friend Melody and I actually did start and record a podcast. We got our theme, a website, and one epsiode on the books. But then we realized we needed a lot more technological savvy and decided to put it on hold until we bought some better equipment and learned some audio editing stuff. And we’re still in that stage now. :/ But the dream is not dead! We are still gonna make it happen. Be ready: 2016 will see the official launch of Feminist Killjoys, PhD!

9. Finding a way to honor my priorities so that the academy doesn’t run/ruin my life and so I don’t start to resent a job I love. Maybe this means turning down opportunities that seem best for my career. Maybe it doesn’t, but I am committed this year to making decisions that serve me best, and if moving halfway across the country again doesn’t serve me, I won’t do it. (Whoo, that’s a really scary thing to write!)

Still in process. I stayed at the school I’m at now for another one-year contract and am currently in the process of trying to figure out next steps. I feel like I’m ready to practice this, but stay tuned….

10.  More laughing. More tattoos. More turmeric root.

CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. I laughed a ton (miraculously; it was a really dark year, but thankfully the laughs still came). I got sweet new ink. And I ate raw turmeric probably at least 300 days of last year. I will continue to crush all three of these in 2016. :)

*

As for 2016, I will continue the above, and I’ll do some other things too: I will stop holding on to the past in ways that foreclose the future (this is maybe the biggest challenge of my life). I will continue to forgive myself. I will stay present. I will not only say, but actually believe, “Body, you are beautiful!” I will take risks for the love that is in my life, and I will trust it. I will drink more water and more champagne, and less of everything else. I will say yes to new adventures and believe in the process. I will practice acceptance. I will write a poem (or several). I will paint my nails a color I’ve never worn before. I will regularly and gently remind others of their value and worth. I will keep trying to land a handstand. I will snuggle my kitten and place kisses on the noses of any dogs who will let me. I will maintain good bangs and treat myself to a massage. I will blog more and read more and talk to friends more and feel stuck less. I will plant some seeds and make some magic. I will love and care for myself and others, with every inch of me, with every chance I get. I will be happy sometimes and sad sometimes and angry sometimes and full of uncompromising joy sometimes…and I will be grateful for every bit of it. <3

***

love you guys. what are your intentions for the new year? xoxoxo

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13 thoughts on “Reflections & New Intentions

  1. lysette says:

    I hope you two can pull the podcast together, love the title! I’m still mulling over my resolutions, pretty sure I know them all just need to see it written out on the page, reading over your 2015 was very inspiring, you came out of a tough year with a stronger spirit xo

    • raechel says:

      We are totally going to, hopefully by end of February! :) Writing out resolutions is helpful.

      And thank you for the kind words and empathy, friend; that means a lot. xo

  2. FoodFeud says:

    Good for you on checking in on past resolutions! I always have the best intentions but have a hard time keeping them in mind as the year…or day…progresses. Did you remind and affirm daily? Or how did you keep tabs?
    I’m a fan of resolutions as well, I’ll take any chance at em.

    • raechel says:

      One thing that totally helped was being semi-active on an Affirmation & Gratitude listserve, run by Lacy Davis. Basically you email your daily affirmations/gratitude lists to a listserve and then you get yours and everyone else’s on the list that submits. It’s one of my favorite things! You can get on the list too if you’re interested (it’s mostly feminist/queerdo/punk/witchy/fitness grrrls). Just contact Lacy!

  3. Shannon says:

    I love your intentions. I also prefer the term intentions to resolutions, find it to be much more strengths-based. I also admire you for looking inwards, making changes, and generally being such an inspiring person. I so look forward to seeing what new adventures you have this year! xo

  4. onesonicbite says:

    I hope you are able to figure out the technical side of podcasting soon, because your podcast looks like it would be really good. Sounds can be really weird and abstract. I remember having to take a class on it and it could be a little frustrating. Once our teacher showed us a mixer board (like you would see for concerts and such) and was like “if you want you check this room out, but uh… I don’t even know how to explain how to work it” Thanks teach XD I don’t even know what podcasters use to edit their episodes (seems a lot of people end up sourcing out their editing as the podcast gets more popular)

      • onesonicbite says:

        In the teachers defense it was totally not related to the topic. The class was about editing sound for film/video… and the mixer board was used more for music related things (like DJing, concerts, etc) So they were just laying out there. Although most classes I took teachers just weren’t good at explaining how to edit stuff. My education with film editing was more like “have fun” while people at traditional colleges had step by step tutorials.

  5. frugalveganmom says:

    Love your way of looking back at the year, if only I was so organized! Turmeric root is one thing I’ve been meaning to try forever though, but they only carry it fresh occasionally at our co-op. Do you order yours online or maybe it’s available fresh at larger places like Whole Foods? How do you eat it?

    • raechel says:

      My favorite way to use raw turmeric root is to make a soup with it. I boil 2-3 large carrots (chopped), then add the carrots and water to my vitamix with kale, turmeric root, and ginger root. i blend it until smooth and serve it drizzled with a little tahini, salt, and pepper. SO easy and tasty and most importantly, makes me feel SO GOOD.

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