A few weeks ago, I heard about this program called “A Year With Myself: A Yearlong Adventure Of Empowering Yourself“. Every week you receive a new lesson with articles by well-known people in the personal growth and creativity fields, with some writing prompts and some actions you can take to dig into the theme for each week. It’s a go-at-your-own-pace kind of a thing, which is good, because I’m just now getting around to posting about weeks 1 and 2, the themes of which are “The Threshold”, and “Roots”.
So, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but I am really weird about my name. I think it stems from the fact that my name is Jennifer and I was born in the early 1970’s, at which time every other girl was also named Jennifer. So I grew up always having to give both of my names, to distinguish myself from all the other Jennifers around me. But I never really thought about it, because that was what all the Jennifers had to do. It wasn’t ever any kind of “Thing”.
Then I hit 5th grade, and the weirdest thing happened. We were all asked to write our name on pieces of construction paper that would then be taped to the front of our desks, and for some reason, which I still haven’t figured out, I watched myself write down “Jenny”. It was so odd. I have no idea where that came from. So now, for the past almost-30 years, I have been Jenny, at school, at work, and with my friends. But not with my family, who still call me Jennifer or Jen.
(On a related note, for some reason this topic came up over Christmas, and regarding my self-assigned “nickname”, my mom said, “Well, you’ll notice that we completely rejected that, and refuse to call you by that name. And I burst out laughing and said, “Well that’s OK, because all this you’ve not been allowed to call me Jenny.”)
Then in addition to all of this, for some reason I inspire those around me to make up their own nicknames for me, some of which have included J.D. Hogg (from “The Dukes Of Hazard”, based on my initials), J.R. (ditto), and my personal favorite, bestowed upon me by a fellow bookseller when I worked at one of the big chain bookstores, “Jennyer”, which is defined as “a heightened state of being Jenny”.
The reason I’m bringing all of this up now is that this is the year I turn 40, which is a h-u-g-e threshold for me. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I want to transition into the next decade of my life, and as part of this transformation I’ve wondered if I want to go back to being called Jennifer (I’m leaning towards no.)
The other big difference between the start of this year and the start of the last few years is that I’m actually feeling fairly good, physically speaking. Things have been sort of stable and manageable for a while, which means that I actually have energy and excitement and ideas about some new projects I might work on, and some new goals I might work toward. (I’m saying this all very quietly, because I don’t want to scare it all away.)
So in response to the writing prompt by Patti Digh from chapter 1, ” What spaces are you standing between? What ‘monkey bar’ (explained in the article, if you want to check it out. Chapter 1 is free to download) are you moving from, and what monkey bar are you moving to, in 2012?, I would say this:
I am moving from a year (or 4) of fighting for my health to the exclusion of everything else, to a year that already has lots of space and inspiration for welcoming in my new desires.
It is a still place. It’s not stagnant, just still. It is a place of breathing deeply and easily. It is a place of gathering resources and planting desires. It is restful. It is peaceful and calm. It is supportive and nourishing and welcoming. It is not scary at all. And it’s been a hell of a long time in coming.
After mindfully considering and actively engaging in your current thresholds, chapter 2 then asks you to consider your roots, and your compass. It asks you to think about the foundation that will sustain you, and the tools that will help guide you and keep you connected to yourself as you undertake the journey of this year.
This week’s prompts come from Goddess Leonie Dawson who asks, “Have you found your soul’s compass yet?” And then, from the creator of this program, C.A. Kobu, “What do roots mean for you?”
As I’ve been learning over the past few years, my most basic, fundamental grounding in this world is my body. I couldn’t experience anything here were it not for living inside this body.
So then there are roots to support my body: eating, drinking, taking care of my health, movement, building strength and endurance, staying limber.
And then the roots to support these practices are my beliefs:
-I deserve to be here, just ‘cuz
-I am allowed to take care of my body
-I am allowed to have places where I start and others begin
-It is OK to enjoy being in my body
-I can trust my body, because it knows exactly what to do
Everything else flows out of this place.
Until next time.
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