I taught 3 yoga classes this summer. Each one I was inspired to start with a short meditation. The first was about a street art piece where you could write in chalk the answer to this sentence “Before I die, I want to….” I wrote Love Without Restraint, and I urged my yogees to appreciate what they do now and what they are hoping to do. The second class I spoke of a water turtle and how it needs some in time in its shell, but cannot live healthily without swimming outside of the shell. And finally, I spoke of the power of a yoga class’ community in which all say “Ommmmm” together and how this power of community can resonate off the mat.
I think these short meditations speak highly of my goals of my Open Book Project (OBP, for short – insert rap song here – why I need a maestro perchance for this project.) I want to learn to love without restraining, to understand that sometimes I still need to turtle up and use solitude to my advantage but now is the time for me to learn how to swim and to be and SEE myself more outside of my shell, and that this can most likely be accomplished with trust in myself and trust in a community that knows my heart and brain well. Hopefully this will lead to more peace of mind to trust future steps, having learned from the process, others, and myself.
Using Beth Barbush’s model of Living Chapters (http://living chapters.org), I will open myself to others through trusting in them to write a chapter of my life within a month context based on a theme we have chosen. Besides monthly chapter writers, there will also be monthly wild card participants, a 6-month project manager, 6-month confidant, and perhaps a project maestro. I will use roles and rules established by the artistic genuis Ms. Barbush, as written out here:http://livingchapters.org/ therolesandtherules. There will be some changes from her plan, including I will not be making my entries public (as requested by Beth) except to those involved in the project.
Besides this project benefiting my growth in trusting, I hope that it will spark people’s thoughts and conversations on the power of community & creativity, through correspondence about the project or within another community. Perhaps it will lead to more trust and community building in a bigger way by just putting it out there. By the writer trying one of the monthly directives (optional), perhaps they will experience some individual growth.
I begin my opening with an explanation of my month’s themes and self-proposed goals. (They are just suggestions, and should be only used as you see fit – changed, ignored, helpful tool.) OBP’s plan is for the writer to submit the chapter to project manager for realistic/goal-conducive directive checking a week before the month begins, and the wild card to do the same mid-month. Project manager/writer will post “chapter” on blog. Shannon will respond on blog twice a month reflecting on directives and theme.
- August – Perspective While Being Present (Writer:Paul, WildCard: Mindy)
- Recent choices in my life have led me away frome being authentically me. I am working to re-establish authenticity through my own work and also the work to be more open to a community and trust in their knowledge of me to assist in this. I am challenged right now by finding myself in Boise, ID! Very excited to start a new position at an Expeditionary Learning school, one of my loves, but challenged by not being among a close knit community of friends or in a more urban environment that opens my path to opportunity in arts, social justice work, and intellectual growth. How do I enjoy this present of mountains, outdoor life, biking in a new city while also making sure to be authentic to my love of city, arts/intellect, friends, and social justice?
- Proposed self-goals: Meditate and do yoga to remind myself to be present, use Open Book Project to be present among friends in my larger community, and write on my Plan B: Boise Adventure blog. Invest in my job’s creative nature, a local non-profit, and Boise’s offerings of beautiful nature and biking, with hopes this will lead to friends. Be open to seeing messages in daily living. Get a Dog. Read the NY Times.
- September – Faith (Writer: Kellie, Wild Card: Dawn)
- Spritituality has always been a huge part of my life and has been a driving force in my work. This was rooted in my Catholic faith, and most specifically my work as a Lasallian, as a member in high school & college, and as volunteer after college. However, an incident as a Lasallian Volunteer made me question Catholicism and recent decisions by the Catholic Church to, in my opinion, be less inclusive has made me seek spiritual guidance elsewhere. I have explored Buddhism primarily and feel more connection with this, though I have a hard time completely letting go of the God of my Catholicism. I want more faith in my life and I have learned from friends a regular practice, readings on this, and discussion is perhaps a way to make this grow.
- Proposed self-goals: Meditate, yoga, and find a place where I can practice weekly.
- October – Love (Writer: Paige N, Wild Card: Bob)
- Oh, geesh. Probably the area of most growth needed here. I feel I have an amazing heart that has a capacity to love to the –nth degree, and once someone is in my heart they are there forever (for good or for bad). However, letting someone truly in is a longer process for me (turtling-up). Also letting a partner in is not easy. I can make friends pretty easily, but boyfriends are a challenge. I love my family but am often challenged on how to navigate these relationships. My friends I love so dearly but I wonder if I do a good job of making our relationships mutually beneficial.
- Proposed self-goals: I need help here! I would say I hope to use the words boyfriend (with confidence) and say I love you (freely) by the end of 2014. I want to make efforts to be a great friend and aunt. I would like to feel more comfort than pain from my family.
- November – Career (Writer: Laurie, Wild Card: Trisha)
- This area has gotten so much focus in my life and I am okay with that, to a certain extent, as it is important to me, but I definitely want more of a balance in my life. However, I don’t think I’d be happy letting go of my heart wants in a career: to be creative, educate, work on social justice – which thus far means empowering under-opportunitied youth to find new opportunity and use their strengths which have often been underappreciated, use my anthropological/sociological skills to border cross among class, race, and status quo, and to use community resources and build community in work. I have been blessed with coworkers I respect, and I’d like to continue to be open with them and to use my brain. To discover if Expeditionary Learning is a good fit for me, and invest in this network inside and outside of my school. To be open to seeing if this leads me back East.
- Proposed self-goals: Be open with my coworkers. To be present and invest in Anser (my present school) and EL network. To write about it.
- December – Creativity (Writer: Erin/Krista, Wild Card: ?)
- I believe I am creative. I loved being a member of Fluid Movement – the water ballet/synchonized swimming group in Bmore with Jobi, Mandy, Nicole, and so many more. I loved serving on their board. I loved doing the We Are Here To Plant a Tree project in KC. I loved discussing my idea of community classroom with Erin, based on Bmore’s Art on Purpose. I loved working with Kellie to dream of Project 7 and Project-Based Learning at Sylvan Beach, ahem, I mean Taharka Brothers. I love modern dance and attending those events with Paige. I love dance, in general, arts, and theatre. I have loved Single Carrot Theatre and Stoop Storytellers in MD, and The Living Room in KC. I want to play my grandmother’s mandolin (after I find it after this hellacious year of living in storage). I have loved being a MD and KC filmfestival volunteer and doing this with Nicole and Matt, and have tried my hand at writing a screenplay about my KC students and entering a contest. I have loved attending the Marfa Film Festival with Amy. I loved doing R.O.O.T.S. with Laurie in NYC. I loved making a tree table with my dad based on Krista’s desingn. I loved painting my bookcase and my peacock painting using Annie’s resources and encouragement. I want to try and tap into this creativity in a more focused & fun way, but wonder if perhaps my creativity is best utilized in the art of people and education. But perhaps I can still have a fun creative hobby, too.
- Proposed Self-Goals: Write on my blog. Dance. Do an art something in Boise.
- January – Home? Confidence in Decisions? (Writer: Crystal, Wild Card: Charlotte)
- How do I find home in my heart? Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except yourself. – Buddha. How do I build a home literally and emotionally?