Practicing how to live well.
I like to think of myself in terms of sweaters.
“A perfect fit!”
“But, why are there so many scratchy bits?”
I don’t think that my culture fully prepared me for sweaters, but it did teach me one thing.
“Don’t pull on a snagged thread.”
If you do, you’ll descend into irreversible existential crisis at approximately the same pace as your rapidly unraveling fabric (I may have added something of my own to that).
And one more thing about sweaters.
“I don’t wear the same one everyday.”
The danger of a single sweater, I can only assume, is that I’d find one that captures everything that I love about sweaters.
That would be a fashion disaster.
You’re still with me, trying on my a-bit-about-me sweater analogy. I’m honoured. No, really, I am.
Here’s what I’m saying. I practice in different contexts, different mediums and I don’t always look the same.
Said differently, I practice while wearing different sweaters. Does that make sense?
You’ve stayed long enough, so I’m going to share a few different looks with you, with hope that there is a sweater that fits:
I’m an artist. I song write daily, exploring characters and stories through lyrics, chords, sounds, and a healthy dose of editing. I play in an online improv group, audition for acting roles, draw (mostly cartoon animals), write poetry, blog, and write freelance. I am constantly reminding myself that a practice is still a practice, even if it isn’t a daily one.
I’m a collaborator. I scribe for a medical psychotherapist, supporting mindfulness and pain management programs. I’m an all-purpose-excutive-in-residence for a political activist and NGO founder, who works with a network of South Sudanese leaders. I compose music for DND hosts and retiring professors (I’m open to broadening this lineup). I raise service puppies with my life-partner. I’m a coach, advisor, and confidante for friends and colleagues in the midst of transition, change, and uncertainty.
I’m a strategist. I consult with a program for young mothers and children in Newfoundland, developing program guides and communications materials. I write speeches for politicians and leaders in the for-impact sector. I coach and accompany people building organizations, campaigns, and projects. And, with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I’ll admit to managing a very successful fantasy team in a three-sport league with my friends.
I’m a student. I study an Indigenous-African language called Mabaan, sharing my weekend mornings with students of all ages. I run ultra marathons, constantly learning about physical and mental strategies that help me understand my limits. I work far too hard to understand and master the game of golf; yeah, that’s about learning mental and physical strategies too…I’m a student of politics, youth governance, mindfulness, internal family systems, tradition, colonization and decolonization, and resistance.
Anyway, that’s a “bit” about me and my practices.
But, to bring it home, if we’re sticking with the sweater analogy, the truth is…I’m a rack of sweaters so let’s find one that fits.
PS – I live in Halifax, NS with my partner Kelsey, and Ralph, a service-puppy-in-training.