Years in review

The last 3 years I’ve made year-end iMovies and am so glad to have them now. I hope they’ll be great fun to look back on, and the process of making them is revelatory.

So much happens in a year! It’s easy to lose track. They’re not at all expressions of everything that happened. I was in Denmark somewhere between 5 – 10 times last year and that’s not in here at all. I also nearly burned down my apartment building right before I had to move out. None of the photos of the smoked out kitchen are in there. For, perhaps, obvious reasons.

Really… 2012 was a tough year. I had to move twice and live in friends’ places for a couple months in between. I wasn’t sure if I’d get a residence permit ’til it came through in August. Oh, then there was the skin cancer removed from my face. That actually turned out to be great fun!  Which is the overarching theme of the year — there is beauty EVERYWHERE.

When your sweet 100-lb. dog has three grand mal seizures in one afternoon, lets loose gallons of pee on the oriental rug, and licks your face to thank you for taking care of him? Beauty. When the surgeon tells you you MUST stop laughing so he can stitch your eyebrow back up straight? Beauty. What’s featured here? These are just personal highlights that have good pictures to go along with them. Beauty is everywhere, people. Everywhere.

The most interesting thing about making the videos has been the song selection — every single time I start this process a song has popped into mind immediately as the only possible theme song for the year. You’ll notice that each of the songs is very different. The moods for the years vary wildly: “All Will be Well” by the Gabe Dixon Band, “Many the Miles” by Sara Bareilles and this year “Beauty in the World,” Macy Gray.  Buy those (don’t download illegally). I did . On iTunes.

What would your theme song for last year be?

Here are all 3 iMovies (& 2013 & 2014’s added in later, too). I hope you enjoy…

Screenshot 2015-02-14 14.08.28click photo to play 2014 Year in Review

3 Words for 2011: Service. Joy. Embrace.

Why pick just one word for 2011 when, like Chris Brogan, you could have three? What will your words be?

I’ve been kickin’ around my 3 words: Service? Useful? Growth? Learning? Pleasure? Joy? Connection? Explore?

These are the ideas that keep coming up:

1. I want to be useful, of service, engage in ways that make a difference, that help, that inspire, that are valuable. How can I be more valuable to you this year? Please do let me know!

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.” George Bernard Shaw

2. It’s essential to me to celebrate the moments of life as I live them… even more this year than ever before. To savor, to commemorate, to be present and smile. That is where joy comes in.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming … WOW! What a ride!”

3. The European Summit 2010 made clear that I am at a place where the level of skills and knowledge I’ve accrued up til now no longer suffice. New teams, knowledge and skills are needed. It’s like standing on the edge of Columbus’s map, ready to go further, out where there be dragons. That’s how it seemed last year, anyway. Like I was standing on the top of a ski run far, far too steep to be safe for me and my eyes were huge and sometimes brimming with giant tears. Now I feel like Jean Luc Picard at the helm of the Starship Enterprise. It’s time to assemble a first-rate crew and boldly go into the beyond. This is a time of growth, discovery and exploration. It’s time to embrace the unknown. There a song for this, too: Deb Talan‘s Big Strong Girl. Check it out!

So the words for 2011 are:

Service. Joy. Embrace.

The soundtrack for these words is the Black Eyed Peas, I’ve Got a Feelin’. FUN!

BEP I Gotta Feelin

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Word for 2010: Journey

One Word. Healing. Defining Moments. I’ve been quietly reflecting on 2010 in my own way these last weeks. These are the #reverb10 prompts that’ve touched me most.

In the end, the word for 2010 came to me last night in the midst of a conversation over a glass of Shiraz: Journey.

2010 has been a journey like no other and now here I am: 40, in a new city I love, in this beautiful country, meeting great people, taking on interesting work projects, planning trips even I can hardly believe (Angkor Wat & safari in Botswana in the first half of 2011!).

Last night we were laughing and asking questions, sharing our Bucket Lists, each one striving to live his or her own unique adventure.

On this New Year’s Eve, instead of pining away for the family and home I don’t have, I am seeing and embracing the genius in this life I’ve created.  It’s a blank slate yet again and full to bursting with opportunities, wonderful people, beauty, adventures of a lifetime.

In addition to the #reverb10 prompts, here are some of my top tools for New Year’s. Enjoy!

Christine Kane‘s Word of the Year Worksheet
Superhero Andrea Sher’s Mondo Beyondo
Ali Edwards’ One Little Word e-course

and a poem that reminds me (instead of trying to force or cajole life into a certain shape) to see and seize all the many possibilities the Universe might work through me!

Poetics, A.R. Ammons

I look for the way
things will turn
out spiraling from a center,
the shape
things will take to come forth in

so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
wind-glittering
totally its apparent self:

I look for the forms
things want to come as

from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
unfold:

not the shape on paper — though
that, too — but the
uninterfering means on paper:

not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning itself
through me
from the self not mine but ours.

And here’s the year in pictures again, just in case you missed it last time! 😉

Gettin’ a little reverb…

reverb10buttonThe musicians among you will know about that post title. Reverb is a very bad thing onstage.

Reverb10, though, is a very good thing. It’s an idea, a site, a movement of over 3,000 bloggers and counting… all reflecting on 2010 with one prompted question each day of December… and you know how I love completing the year and calling in the next! (If you’re new here and don’t know, you can see New Year’s posts here, here and here.)

A funny thing happened as I was signing up for and getting acquainted with Reverb10 this weekend. I read the prompts:

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

December 12 – Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

and thought, “I can’t tell them that ON THE INTERNET!” So all that stuff about vulnerability…? It was pretty much out the window.

Another thing happened: I realized I’ve had such strong feelings about this year it’s been difficult for me to get distance, to answer these questions. For example, I was pretty sure my word for 2010 should be REARRANGE… but I just couldn’t shake that Ass-Kicking (Maybe that’s the word for my 2010?) feeling… so I put together a little slideshow to review the year, to stand back and have a look at what it was really all about.

This is not by any means everything that happened in 2010 (I’m not gonna tell you that.) It’s just some of the stuff I have photos of. In more or less chronological order:

December 4 – Wonder How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

One thing’s for sure… December 4’s prompt? How I cultivated Wonder? Spending time with great people, eating beautiful food, and seeing the world. Jerash in Jordan and the library at Ephesus in Turkey were awe-inspiring.

There’s something else… my daily walks with The Big Dog are as wondrous as anything else. So is sitting at dinner with someone I love. What I wouldn’t give to do that even one-third of the nights each year. Sometimes travel is just commuting. Don’t fall prey to romanticizing it, ok? How did you cultivate wonder this year?

Thank you to all of you who made these highlights of 2010 possible. And for the photos, too.

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still thinking about completing 2006

THINGS I LEARNED IN 2006
– To stand up for myself simply, firmly. In 2007 I will work on grace! HA! I have not been graceful with this!
– I can create pretty much anything I want, with the help of my friends. Great dates with wonderful men?! No problem! (Thanks Lori!) Now the trick is to get reeeeaaalllyy clear about what I want to create!
– 2006 may not have been so much about things I learned as places I went: London, Bad Gastein, Austria; Mykonos, Greece; Sigtuna, Sweden; all over Switzerland, Germany three times; France twice, the US twice… and on and on.

THINGS I’M PROUD OF FROM 2006
– So many students saying I was an inspiring teacher, that they’re inspired to learn more, get involved in the political process, read more, really figure out their codes of ethics and what’s important to them, etc.
– I lived like I make a lot more money than I do — and I didn’t go into debt!
– So many new classes, leading over twenty students to another country — twice! And they learned and had a great time, too.

THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR FROM 2006
Academic travel
Great, great friends
– Seeing so many beautiful places
– Spending time at Joe’s again

– Those great first dates in London in June

THINGS FROM 2006 SO GREAT I’LL NEVER GET OVER THEM (I’ll never be the same)
– Hyde Park
Wengen — I loved it there!
– seeing my ExMsrs buddies again — I love how it’s just like old times!

– the Wisdom Course Europe, meeting Helga and Lilly What a context to live from. And an opportunity to meet soooo many fantastic people from all over the world!

THINGS I’M CREATING FOR 2007
Abundance!
Living in partnership
Singing!
Continuing the journey! (skiing in Arabba in March is a good start — two people from the Greece trip are coming from LA to stay with Mufasa! How cool is that?!)

MONDO BEYONDO — IT STAYS THE SAME FROM LAST YEAR
This is called LOVE FULFILLED. I can have family again. I can have it all… and it can look like this.

How do you measure…?

Rent Seasons Of Love Music Video

So now I am finally getting around to the New Year’s business I love…
(and the above video makes a good soundtrack for these thoughts…)

How was 2006 for you when you looked back? What were you proud of? What moments will you hold dear forever? What did you learn? What did you celebrate as 2007 rolled in?

Two New Year’s Eves ago I was in the Stein Erikson Lodge in Deer Valley (Park City), Utah. Last year I was in a beautiful little restaurant in Lyon, France; this year I was in a home in Lingfield, England, near Brighton. They have funny traditions on New Year’s, those Brits. They all sang Auld Lang Syne at the top of their lungs and kissed every single person in the room. (This took a while.) This year I was with a man who loves me; that was nice.

In 2005 I learned concrete things… I wrote, “How to drive a stick shift car,” and “How to sell a house without a real estate agent.” In 2006 I learned bigger, more abstract lessons. I learned my own worth, and that love is all around me and I just have to reach out for it and let it in; I learned to be responsible for how incredibly powerful I am. I’m not always graceful with that, but I’m starting to get it! I learned to set clear, concise boundaries and just say so when something doesn’t work. That will make a difference forever — I will never be bullied again.

I’m proud of my Dating Game and being inspiring to so many people (especially that the valedictorian named me during graduation in May as the most inspiring prof she’d had) and my assisting with the Wisdom Course all over Europe.

This year I celebrate the night we skinny dipped in Mykonos, Greece and hollered out our New Moon intentions. I loved Mark’s, “I will skinny dip every year for the rest of my life!” I celebrate meeting wonderful people from all over the world. I celebrate really getting and living the phrase, “The world is my oyster.” I feel like I have become a citizen of the world this year, and it makes so much more possible. I celebrate that even though I am far away, the love with my friends and family in the U.S. has not gone anywhere. I celebrate the night with Lori that we saw The Blue Man group in the piazza in downtown Lugano and that Lori got a glimpse of “having it all” when she was here — I’ll never forget when she realized she could eat as much pastry and cappuccino as she wanted and she wasn’t gaining any weight!

This New Year’s I celebrate that I have had the opportunity to spend so much time with my Mother. What a rare and special treat. This year I celebrate that I am financially responsible. I celebrate Swiss chocolate and finding love and new friends. I celebrate travel.
2006 held more beauty than I can possibly describe. I think, too, for the first time I can say that if something were to happen to me, I have a sense that my life has turned out now; I have been a success. There was always somewhere else to get before… it hadn’t turned out yet. I have only begun to scratch the surface now, but life is beautiful, and full, and good. I’m thankful to have done and seen so much.

Especially I celebrate the power of intention; in 2004 I created COMMUNITY as the context for the year and I have that. Last year I said LOVE and I have that beyond anything I could imagine. 2007’s context is ABUNDANCE.

I am already so present to that I am rich in my friends. I celebrate you! Thank you all for being part of the adventure! Come to visit! Babies and friends are welcome, too.

What will 2007 be about for you?

The Real New Year’s Business

‘Time to actually use New Year’s for what I say it’s for… reflecting, regrouping and creating the coming year. It’s like a do-over. I just love that!

One thing I love about Helen’s blog is that it connects me to other great blogs. This is an expanded version of something I found just clicking around…

THINGS I LEARNED IN 2005
How to buy and sell houses without a real estate agent
How to move to a foreign country
How to drive a stick shift car
How to break up with a guy and not feel guilty
I *love* stinky French cheeses
A lot of new Italian words
That life can begin and be sweet again and again

THINGS I’M PROUD OF FROM 2005
Building community here at the College here
Teaching so very well at the University of Idaho
The article I wrote for the Univ. of ID alumni magazine
Staying in touch with Zach, keeping the lines of communication open
That I created this new life trajectory so quickly, so clearly
Just staying afloat these first few months here

TEN THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR FROM 2005
Good food
Great health
So many wonderful friends
My Mom and Dad
An outrageous amount of travel
Blogging… Helen, Mema, Andrew, Beth, Katia, the three mamas (community of bloggers)
The great new apartment I live in
Getting to see Mema and Stacy when I drove across the U.S.
Having the time to drive across the U.S. like this
Mufasa

THINGS FROM 2005 SO GREAT I’LL NEVER GET OVER THEM (I’ll never be the same)
The two New Year’s Eves that bookended the year
My time and job in Idaho — I needed it for my health, sanity, clarity and growth
That night at the night club Rise in Denver with Beth and Joe
Hot air ballooning to say goodbye to Boulder
Making money on a real estate investment — and reinvesting some of it
It is so beautiful here… all the moments I think, “I can’t believe I live here!”
All of Mom’s help

THINGS I’M CREATING FOR 2006
Home
Love
Adventures here: the Olympics, parasailing, etc.
Staying in touch with friends: seeing Beth in February, Extreme Measures in June, Lori in May…. who knows after that!

MONDO BEYONDO
This is called LOVE FULFILLED. I can have family again. I can have it all… and it can look like this.

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Reflecting on the year…

It’s almost midnight. I’m packing up my office because I’m moving to a new one tomorrow. I’ve still got one more class’s grades to hand in, but I’ll do that before I leave here tonight.

Not sure when I’ll be back here to blog because Mom and Dad are in town, Rick and Molly and the boys get here in a couple of days… then I’m off to France to meet up with the French professor mentioned a few posts back. I won’t be back before the New Year.

I am feeling lucky and happy and am looking back at 2005 already, though New Year’s is days off… I like to use this time to reflect, reassess, redirect…

Last New Year’s Eve was fantastic, a breath of fresh air after running scared for years. Patti let me tag along to her company’s holiday party in Park City. We were in the Stein Erikson Lodge at the Deer Valley Resort. The Gin Blossoms were the band. Being around Patti there made me realize that there were bigger possibilities waiting for me somewhere on the planet, that the life I wanted probably wasn’t going to happen in Moscow, Idaho. I wanted more for myself, and to find a man who’d like to travel and adventure with me. I wanted community and love and friends again.

When we left the party, on the snowy drive home, we created what we’d have in the New Year. For Patti it was abundance and her life is now richer and fuller than she’d imagined, I think.

For me, it was community. Let me tell you, this year was like magic that way.

Today Mom and I went shopping with Sara, my new friend I had Thanksgiving dinner with. I spend time up at her house with her daughters and husband, and feel welcome there even with her in-laws who don’t speak English. She and another colleague, Caroline, and I talk a lot about their new Cultural Studies major because our academic interests so overlap. Caroline commutes from Zurich and stays at my house a couple nights per week. It’s like having slumber parties again. Sometimes we laugh so hard I’m afraid the neighbors will complain. Sometimes it’s one a.m. and we’re still laughing.

They’re both good friends with the Frenchman and recommend him highly. We’re talking about starting a supper club and we’re reforming the College. We’re all so glad to have found one another, we even say so. The other night I was having a little dinner at my house and Frenchie (as Beth calls him) stopped in mid-meal and said, “I’ve been here six years and never had dinner like this with my colleagues.” He’s thrilled to have found us all, too.

And so I have a community. (I have another bunch of friends I go to hear jazz with every weekend, but that’s another post.) It’s so good, like coming home. How crazy is that? I moved to a country where they don’t speak my language and found friends who feel like home.

That’s just one little thing that’s happened this year. I also have abundance and love and contentment and maturity in ways I’d never guessed at. I know now, after these last few years, that I can do anything. I know a few things I still need to work on (I lost my cool with people I love a few times this year and wish I hadn’t). It’s been a good year.

And you know what I’m creating for next year…? LOVE Love everywhere. What would it be like if people on this college campus related to each other with the love this bunch of us is cultivating? I can’t wait to see…

Happy New Year to you!