Monday, December 13, 2010

#Reverb10 catch-up: Party & Wisdom

Dec. 9: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I'm not much of a party-er - at least not in the way that people seem to party here.  I don't enjoy drinking too much or being out of control (are we seeing a theme here??).  But I do enjoy the company of friends, great food, laughter and fun conversation.

I'd say in 2010, the last really good 'party' was when I was home in the states in May and a group of friends went out with me and Jim to a Richmond place called "Bottom's Up", which is a pizza place that is built down in the Shockoe Bottom area of the city (it's called the Bottom because there are interstate and railway bridges that run above it all).  It was me, Jim and some of my closest friends (Suzanne, Richard, Joseph, Ana, Scott and Vanessa).  My Richmond friends do my heart good (well, Scott & Ana no longer live in Richmond, but they're still 'Richmond' friends).  They are my family.  They are home.  Nothing delights me more than being in the presence of the people that I love and it is always such a soul-reviving, all-is-well-with-the-world feeling for me when we are able to be together.

I was listening to one of my favorite radio podcasts - On Being (formerly known as Speaking of Faith) and the episode I was listening to was an interview with the late Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue and his thoughts on "The Inner Landscape of Beauty".  It was a beautiful episode, but one of the things that struck me was when he said:

...when is the last time that you had a great conversation, a conversation which wasn't just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture. But when had you last a great conversation, in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew. That you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost and a sense of an event of a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plane....a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards, you know?'s just absolutely amazing, like, as we would say at home, they are food and drink for the soul, you know?

That's a good time for me.  That's what knocks my socks off.  And the people that I love the most in my life do that for me nearly every time I see them.

Dec. 10: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Hmmm....this is a difficult one because 'wisdom' has a great deal of meaning for me.  A wise decision and a smart decision are not always the same thing in my mind.  Wisdom implies maturity, forward-thinking, sometimes painful but ultimately better decision than what one may do otherwise.  Several years ago, I was pretty focused on wisdom, trying to get to the root of it, how one gets it, etc.  Maybe I'll write about that some time.  So to ask me what the wisest decision I made was this year is a big question.

The easy answer is to say that it was my decision to lose weight.  But that sounds too simple to me.  Wisdom is more than that.  Wisdom seeks out health, wellbeing and wholeness for all.  Wisdom leans into the pain and works through it for the greater good.  Wisdom knows the real value in things.  Wisdom seeks balance, with acknowledgement to the joyful as well as the suffering.

So if I look deeper, I'd say that the wisest decision I made this year was to let go of my fear and shame and strive to be who I know I can be.  I knew I wasn't living up to my fullest potential.  I knew I could do better.  I knew I could achieve more.  I knew I could be happier and less restricted.  So the wisest decision I made this year was to set out to overcome the obstacles that were hindering me, to root out the causes and search for solutions that would allow me to be free.

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