A purposeful turn and shift is going to take shape over the next few months. This blog has grown and changed with me over the last decade, and once again it is like a trustworthy friend who reminds me where I’ve been and where I’m going.
I’ve intentionally worked hard not to say too much or opine, long-winded, in the last months. The main reason for this is that I felt I had much to read, sit on, and learn from. It really was not a time to speak but to listen. In many ways I’ve been in hibernation awaiting what all my reading, thinking, and learning would push me toward. In fact, I’m still learning.
This spring a shift has begun, and now, instead of hibernation those inward lessons are pushing me outside: taking weekly hikes throughout the summer on the AT (and a plan for northern Michigan), continuing to read poetry and a myriad of other genres, dipping my brush into (very) amateur water-coloring, and finding my groove in muay thai kickboxing and Brazillian jui jitzu. It is certainly an eclectic mix of hobby, but these new goals are keeping me grounded as I contemplate their interaction with faith, my family, and the looming project of my dissertation.
One of the things I have learned over and over again is to not be afraid to be a beginner at something. In fact, it is really a lot of fun to be a beginner. No one is an expert at something right out of the gate, and the fear of looking silly or amateur can no longer keep me from starting something at all. There is too much to do and experience to avoid it out of fear. Hence, watercolor and learning to grapple and kickbox. After pushing past those fears of being the newbie at anything, we can really come to find out we are either quite adept, or, we learn we don’t have to be good at them to enjoy and learn from them.
The motto this month at our martial arts gym is gratitude. This of course includes the gratitude of health and the ability to take part in the things we chose to accomplish or set our minds to, but to also find what is good in others and the circumstances I find myself in, or those of the ones I care about. I am learning more each day to trust, to have faith in God’s plan, and to share of myself in small ways. My biggest weakness is patience and fear of not finishing something I’ve started. Those two things do not seem as overwhelming or as dark as they once did, and I am grateful for that lesson this month especially.
I still do not have prudent words of wisdom at every turn, just life experience and brief thoughts, but I will be sharing watercolors, hiking adventures, and what I am coming to learn in the commitment to two very large goals in the making: PhD graduation and belt accomplishment. Really, these two goals are intertwined into the larger part of me that has always been a lifelong learner and curious, eager scholar, both physically and mentally.