Honestly, I know this might sound dramatic, but this week’s prompt made me tear up a little. Bad feelings came flooding in: overwhelm, fear, powerlessness. Ahh.
I am afraid to set bold goals that I cannot keep. I am afraid to set too many goals and get buried alive – I’ve done that so many times. I am afraid of the things I want that lie outside my control. The pandemic only exacerbates these fears.
In the spirit of the Little Way, then, I am setting little goals. I have spent much of my life focused on big goals, but I don’t think that this is the time for me to set big goals about the course of my life. Like it or not, I feel like I’m in a holding pattern. Maybe I’m surrendering to the holding pattern, but I think there are real reasons for me to take this slowly. A dream about building community feels scary in the best of times, and we are not living in the best of times. These are interior goals, trying to both care for myself and develop the habits that will facilitate the cultivation of my dream in the long-term.
- Be present and patient with my family and friends. Concretely, this means responding to people who reach out to me, not arguing with my parents, not complaining about my cousin’s bad habits (or my sister’s bad habits, or my grandmother’s bad habits…). Practice charity at home. It’s so often easier for me to practice charity among strangers than it is to do so here.
- Reduce tech time, which leaves me drained and distracted. (This will be easier when I finish binge-watching my current TV show and DON’T start another one.) This also means avoiding “rabbit hole” websites like youtube.
- Get up at 8 am daily. Re-establish routines like wake-up times, bedtime, eating breakfast, scheduled CTA work hours.
- Write: journal daily. Cultivate creative habits and energies by brainstorming and drafting the pieces that have been floating around in my head. Set aside an hour each day as writing time: pick a block and stick to it. Submit a few things for publication from the list that I keep. Continue to examine my relationship with writing.
- VT Catholic Worker history research. This project has fallen to the wayside because I wasn’t able to get material from the Rutland Historical Society, but explore other avenues… can I get anything remotely from Marquette archives?
- Learn about other CW communities beyond NY – book list, new contacts.
- Who to work with/talk to/dream with: Martha, Zach, maybe Rick. This list feels too short. I have so many dear friends, but many of them won’t understand or relate to my dreams and fears for one reason or another.
- But also (re)invest in relationships with people who matter to me. Try for one phone call per week, respond to texts and such within a few days.
- Evaluate at least once a month: does it still make sense for me to stay at home? What are my options? Keep my eyes peeled for employment opportunities, but don’t stress too much about this right now. I am in a stable place and don’t need to rush into anything.
- Get my St. Francis statue for the backyard shrine
- Cross-stitch! Photo of the project I made this week: a medieval herb garden bookmark, a kit that my mom brought back from Westminster Abbey a few years ago. I include it because it’s emblematic of the slowness and smallness that I name here.
I’m really not sure why, but this exercise made me emotional. My goals feel simultaneously impossibly overambitious and pathetically small potatoes… such a distance between my dream post and my goal post! I don’t know if I’m refusing to dream big or if I’m being realistically minimal in my expectations.