Day Twelve

On November 12, 2011 by Eden M. Kennedy

Today at Camp Mighty we had our team lunches, where the group of people we raised money with for Charity: Water got together to read five things from our life lists to the rest of the group. If you, the listener, knew of a way to help the list reader take a step toward one of the items on their list, you spoke up and said so. Do you need 200 pounds of sand for your playground project? Well, there happens to be someone sitting behind you whose best friend’s cousin’s father is the head of Home Depot. Maybe they can help you.

It was a lunch peppered with possibilities like that, as well as inspiration, goofiness, tears, nervousness, and did I say tears? Because I barely began to speak before Oh, The Choked-Upedness.

So since I’ve been so very life list-reluctant, I thought I’d tell you my five things that actually turned into six things.

1. I apologized to everyone for coming in late and missing the first couple of people’s lists because I was busy checking off a list thing of my own: GET A MASSAGE. I plan to do this at least every quarter, but ideally every month of 2012, and possibly longer if I can budget it properly.

2. During my massage, which was a combination of cranio-sacral/energy work, Deb told me that she opened up my throat chakra. Afterward, I asked if she had any advice for keeping my throat chakra open and she chuckled and said, “Well, yeah. Say what you need to say.” As someone who was a very, very angry teenager with a chronic sore throat, and who has been working on this very thing for quite some time, and who also enjoys giving energy workers shit, I then said, “Oh, is that all? I was hoping you could recommend a crystal or something.” Deb then did this thing where she looked left and right, like she wanted to make sure no one else heard her, and then she lowered her voice and said, “I hear turquoise helps. Do you have a turquoise necklace?” No, but I’m on my way to the bead shop, Deb, thanks.

3. Because I want to find other ways to open my throat by connecting my brain and my mouth, the third thing on my list (and which I borrowed from Alice) is to take an improv class. This sounds somewhat terrifying to me, but there’s a grain of a part of me that thinks I might like it, and I believe it will behoove me to honor that grain. Even though Honor the Grain sounds like a book about Thanksgiving starring an anthropomorphized ear of corn. Oh, wait, I actually wrote Honor That Grain, which is more of an exhortation. Honor That Grain! sounds like a silent Micky Mouse short that never got off the drawing board. Which leads me to . . .

4. When I was six I wanted to be either a truck driver or a cartoonist. I have driven some seriously medium-sized trucks, but what I’ve never managed to do is put together a story and drawings. I want to work on the drawing part. I can draw trees and furniture but I want to be able to draw faces and bodies, to really capture expressions and postures in just a few bold strokes. So next year we can all look forward to me posting an awkward series of stick figures with their heads on fire, maybe? Is that enough of a plot?

5. Because Jack and I just had our 15th anniversary, it felt right to include the fact that I’ve been experimenting with The Work, and it’s helping me to loosen up some of my emotional knots, and so one of my most important goals for the next year is simply to forgive my husband* for being who he is. I mean that without a shred of arrogance. To me this means it’s my job to stop projecting my own problems onto Jack and then blaming him for them. I hope that makes sense. Whenever I untangle one of these dumb little long-standing resentments, I feel ten pounds lighter, and I want to feel 1,000 pounds lighter. It’s better for everyone that way. And speaking of better for everyone . . .

* and my parents, and my brothers, and everyone else in the world, including you

6. When my mom was dying, I got to witness the work of hospice nurses, aides, and volunteers over a two-year period, and they are some of the most amazing, beautiful, tuned-in, funny, grounded, and okay-with-life-and-death people I’ve ever met. So my last goal is to take just one tiny step toward volunteering to support a hospice group. One of the midwives who helped me have Jackson is also a hospice worker, which I think is so great — she gets ‘em coming in and going out — and I trust her completely, and it seems like one way to become an amazing, beautiful, tuned-in, funny, grounded, and okay-with-life-and-death person myself is to hang around with people who are already like that, and then go forth in the spirit of total awesomeness.

Tomorrow I will tell you about our Skill Sessions. You might be somewhat jealous.



16 Responses to “Day Twelve”

  • I couldn’t agree with you more about the hospice workers. When my uncle was dying they were so comforting to him and to my entire family. While I am still upset 6 years later about the death, I am happy that I had the experience of what hospice can be. It made me strangely okay with what is ahead for me personally, and for when my parents will be in that situation. Now I know I can deal with it.

    Great list!

  • Hi there, we live in similar areas and I can help with suggestions for improv classes around these parts. I sent you a message through Facebook. Ta! Becky

  • Ooh, you should totally ask Santa (or Jack/Jackson) to get you Scott McCloud’s two extremely excellent books on creating comics, “Making Comics” and “Understanding Comics”. (The third one, “Reinventing Comics” is okay but not where all the good stuff is.) These aren’t simply “here’s-how-to-draw” books, but instead they deconstruct this visual art form, explain how and why comics work, discuss how to render facial expressions, how framing makes a difference, how to get your story across. McCloud is a god to many a graphic novelist (including my 13-year-old budding graphic novelist), cuz he really gets it. And no, this is not a paid endorsement.

    I’ve secretly longed to take an improv class.

  • I know nothing about comic books, truck driving, or hospice, but holy moses, do I have a lot of experience with being an angry, angry teenager and blaming my loved ones for everything. Woo hoo! Yay, anger! As a fellow energy-worker-sasser who openly criticizes crystals, turtle shell rattles, and self help books, but secretly really, really, really, hopes all that shish works on me, I salute you for your honesty and your openness. Well done.

  • Awesome. I don’t mean that ironically. Between the hospice volunteering which will surround you with the best people, and the improv class, you sound like you are embarking on a year of Boldness. I was going to say fearlessness, but I think there will be fear, but then doing it anyway. Again — awesome. And now I have to google both The Work and Scott McCloud, then hit up Amazon.

  • Hospice is wonderful, so wonderful.

    I am worried this will bother you if I say this but I love the way you are one of those sharp, smart people who should really live on the Upper West Side (no, on Riverside Drive, definitely) but then you are so open to things in that California way. You got it coming and going, both coasts. Sorry for the stereotypes coastal people. I’m just resorting to them because it is 5 AM and I am fresh out of good descriptors.

    Now I am sending The Work to my sister.

    I like that though: FORGIVE EVERYONE! Hell yeah. Everyone needs their chakras opened. Damn, I miss California.

  • Well how weird is that? I came here to visit you and tell you how awesome you are Eden, and there’s my noggin’ on your post. Odd!

    I love love loved meeting you and look forward to more sit downs. Also, please let me know if I can help you with your journey/goals in any way. Your words re: hospice moved me so much. I try not to have regrets in life but one that I haven’t been able to shake is that my dad spent his final weeks in a hospital. He should have been at home with hospice care.

  • Great list, the improv class and the hospice volunteering are especially brave and I bet they will change your life.

    I totally relate to yours and Evany’s hesitance about the Life List. I think it’s good to make goals and good to write them down. And I’m really glad I finally wrote one, but mine is pretty short. I was supposed to come up with 100 items in October but could only muster 20. I’m trying only to add things I really want to do rather than add stuff just so that my list reaches 100. But I get inspired when I read other’s lists, so thanks for posting yours!

  • I’ve experienced a few (dozen) of those ten-pound enlightenments myself over the past year and they’re life changing. The hardest person to forgive, I’m finding, is MYSELF, mostly for being an idiot and not figuring any of this shit out sooner. But hell, at least were doing the work!

  • I loved your sharing. I’m checking out The Work and I was so touched by your desire to work with hospice. Their work is so important. It was great to be in your group.

  • Hi Eden- It was nice chatting with you over lunch the other day. That crystal story made me laugh. Maybe after my DO discovery, I’m headed to crystals next. :)

  • yes, it makes complete sense to me. i am struggling to do the same. i am trying to forgive him for being a real douche (pardon my french) when we first married. i am trying to forgive myself for marrying and feeling like i had to convince someone to love me. we’re 21 years deep in this. i am not her anymore, he is not him. but, those 2 a-holes still cast a shadow. sorry to go on, you gently hit home.

  • one of my most important goals for the next year is simply to forgive my husband* for being who he is. I mean that without a shred of arrogance. To me this means it’s my job to stop projecting my own problems onto Jack and then blaming him for them. I hope that makes sense.

    [Shameless plug] When I read this, I thought “she should be reading our book”, because we that’s one of its core points. The eBook is free this month and it’s in stock at Paradise Found (yes, we’re local.) And today I’m going to see if Chaucer’s will take it.

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