My Star Word for this year is “Empathy”. The internet defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster says, “Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling.”
When Facebook sent me my “Year in Review,” the thing that stood out for me was that 90% of the pictures I posted through the year were of landscapes, seascapes, and skyscapes. There were VERY few pictures of people, and very few posts about people. I suppose that’s not unusual for an introvert like I am, but I also realized that I tend to flit through life without getting really close to other folks. It’s part of the shell that I’ve built up to keep from suffering the grief that comes from separation. After the nomadic life that I’ve lived (27 houses in eight states and three countries), I realize that I’ve always just found new friends, and forgotten to tend the old ones. But I’ve never had a BFF. The closest thing I’ve had is my family – siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles, parents and children. I try to keep up with them, but I do a poor job of it. The ones I’m reasonably close to are now living in Washington, California, Texas, Arkansas, New York, Illinois, and Alabama. We gather for weddings and funerals and are able to take up where we left off. Anyway, I’d like to change a little of that this year, and, with my Star Word, try to become closer to the people who matter to me, and closer to the ones near to me.
Here are my intentions for 2019.
- Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 20 more pounds this year. – I’ve done well with the weight loss, and am down 1.4 pounds for the month.
- Continue to average 150 miles a month on my Fitbit. – Again, I’ve done well. According to my Fitbit, I’ve walked 191.55 miles this month.
- Continue to work with my personal trainer for strength, balance, and endurance. – Check. She has added more core training, and we do both stairs and ramps, in addition to single steps up and down without a railing.
- Return to weekly Tai Chi classes – Check. I was out of practice in both balance and stamina, but I’m doing better with each session.
- You can follow my success (or not) on my blog “Nevertheless I Persisted.”
- Practice empathy by taking a picture a day of someone who crosses my path. – I’ve done a pretty good job of taking the pictures.
- Try to learn the story of each person I take a picture of. – I don’t always get a story to go with each picture, but I’m trying.
- Post those on a new blog “Tribes“.
- Expand my leisure reading from fluff mysteries to more substantial novels. – Books read this month.
- The Library Book by Susan Orleans – finished
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – finished
- Becoming by Michelle Obama – finished
- Womanish Midrash by Wil Gafney – reading
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – reading
- Continue to read the Washington Post and the New York Times for reasonably non-biased reporting. – I scan the headlines and read articles that interest me.
- Continue to watch the Rachel Maddow Show to feed my angst and resolve. – Check
- Return to writing. Try writing a story about each person I take a picture of. – My stories are usually pretty short and of the newspaper “who, what, when, where” variety. I’m trying to expand them.
- Keep writing midrash poetry, as I’m inspired by the Sunday sermon or weekly Bible study. – Currently working on one about Gabriel the Archangel. I’m also writing poems that fulfill a bi-weekly assignment for my creative writing class.
- Continue to participate in weekly Bible study, and weekly Worship. – Check. We will be expanding to two services the beginning of February. I may try to go to the new early service just to be supportive.
- Try to carve out time daily for intentional prayer and meditation. – I’m not doing very well with this, although my midrash poetry and Wil Gafney’s book are driving me deeper into my beliefs.
- Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones. – I still regularly attend the Gazebo Group (the folks who meet on Monday evenings for Happy Hour.)
- Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church. – I go to Coffee Hour after church to talk to people I don’t see often. I also regularly attend Bible Study.
- Tend the relationships I have on Social Media. – I try to keep up with people I call my friends on Facebook. It’s hard when so much of the stuff there is political.
- Keep up with People Power as an Admin. – A new group of people has become very active as admins, and I’m allowing them to take the lead. I keep up with what’s going on, though, and support if and when necessary.
- Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials. – Attended the Environmental Priorities Lobby Day at the State Capital and talked to my state senator and one of my state representatives. The other state representative was busy in a committee meeting, but I met with her intern about my environmental wishes.
- Attend GA Nominating Committee meetings, both face-to-face and virtually. – Not active yet this year.
- Support #BlackLiveMatter, #Me,Too, #ThePoorPeople’sCampaign, #ClimateAction, and other social justice movements. – I donate regularly to MoveOn, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I attend rallies and marches if I’m available.