It’s not often that posts on social media include the bad and the ugly it’s mostly the good- the shiny bits of our lives. So, here’s a bit of all of it. Recently on the way to work with the bees this just poured out of me and I’m posting it before I change my mind.
This is part update, part honesty, part things I’m in love with and part resources I hope you find helpful. The form this takes just came out this way - so I’m sticking with it. Could be a throw-back from the computer programming years :).
1. Monarchs are coming back to my yard which means my new larger capacity butterfly netting will be getting used. 26 butterflies were released last year from our nursery and I have high hopes to top that number in 2019.
2. Winter was difficult for me this year. I’m still trying to shake it.
3. Mental health fluctuates and requires more monitoring than I realized. Check on each other.
4. Our dog is aging and so is her bladder…enter the death theme here.
5. A lot of our bee hives died over the winter and that sucked. See # 6.
6. Pesticides and herbicides all suck. I wish everyone would plant native flowers and trees in place of grass and let them grow, grow, grow.
7. Care for your soil, let something in your part of the world go wild. This brings diversity and is essential for life on the planet. Truthfully, it’s what will keep us all alive - diversity that is. See # 2, 5, 6 and 8.
8. Plant a tree or 10. If this scares you call me. Go here to find local native plants wherever you are.
9. The body does indeed keep the score. Get Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book by this name. Read anything that helps you feel what’s happening in there.
10. We bought 4 nucleus hives from Isaac @ Honey Run Farm to replace our losses and I’m so grateful to know him. This brings us back to 6 hives. Perfect number for now - until there is another swarm. Follow his blog, you won’t be sorry you did.
11. This is my third year with the Harmony Project and this organization is a huge gift to the Columbus Ohio Community and to each of us that serves in it. It has been a lifeline, and it has also been uncomfortable and challenging. See # 30.
12. The work of restorative practices that I teach in the schools and in the community is a whole new way of thinking about life, relationships and all the systems that govern our lives. Many of us don’t think about these systems and their impact - I learned this is privilege.
13. I love chickens. See #’s 6 & 7.
14. Understanding how white supremacy lives in me has been one of the greatest gifts I have stepped into this year, and it was uncomfortable and horrifying. Disarming all the ways white supremacy has made its way into my thinking, living and understanding of the world is a lifetime of work. Naming it is the beginning. Go do it. Layla F. Saad wrote the book Me and White Supremacy. It will be available in February 2020. Go get it. See # 30.
15. I love blackberries. See # 6.
16. Reading Radical Dharma by Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams has been a game changer. Spending time with her at a Radical Dharma camp and women’s retreat, listening to her words and work with leadership and power were life changing. Rev. Angel is a superhero. Get her books. Go see her. Just do it. See # 30 & 32.
17. Milkweed is amazing. See # 6 and 10.
18. Restorative practices are easy to teach and much much harder to embody and practice in my every day actions- this is the heart of it. I’m committed to bringing RP to anyone that will listen. Perhaps it pushes against our underlying, deeply entrenched systems which takes me down to # 30.
19. The Columbus Care Coalition is the most amazing organization I have the privilege of serving with. An entire community can become one that is trauma responsive, relationship focused and centers the needs of all those that are marginalized. Columbus, Ohio is leading the way in this area.
20. Ticks suck and they are a part of our environment. It’s been a journey to learn how to live with them, be aware and stay healthy.
21. I love honey bees- but you likely knew that.
22. The mites on the honey bees are similar to ticks which humans struggle with. The question I’m settling into is this: how can we support the honey bee to boost their immune system to fight them, and live with them? Same for us.
23. It hurts when I get stung. Every stinking time.
24. My favorite thing is being in the natural world- without talking. Most people who “know” me think I’m an extrovert. I’m not sorry that I disagree with you. I don’t believe any one of us are just a certain way. We are indeed changing organisms, as is all of life. Just like you, my body has been conditioned to performance, perfectionism and patriarchy. I’ve gotten good at that. That’s not who I am and I am beginning to disarm the above in my life.
25. Community care is what I’m thinking about now. Not just self-care but an awareness of care that takes care of me so that I can extend into the community and support others. Community care includes everyone. Especially the marginalized.
26. I love my garden. I’m more alive when I’m growing things. If you don’t feel particularly alive try planting a garden. I know you are telling yourself…I don’t have enough time, not enough land, not enough knowledge, it’s too hard and it doesn’t matter; Well it does. It’s good for all of us to get connected to our food system so that we can make changes to how we impact the world and our bodies. Also go back to # 25.
27. Johnny’s seeds are the best. If you want to feel successful at your new hobby get Johnny’s seeds, get row cover, get started, make mistakes, go back to the beginning of this sentence. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do this. See number 6, 7, 8 & 26.
28. I love circles more and more and more. Circle up with each other. Check in, share what’s working, what’s not working. You will be amazed at what you can learn about and from each other. It might also help when things aren’t so smooth. You know, when conflict happens. See # 30.
29. Practice listening. Real listening. You know the kind of listening where you don’t interrupt, fix the person or think about all the ways your life is worse. That kind of listening. See # 26.
30. I’m recognizing when I’m uncomfortable and doing more of it. It happens often, is challenging and I recommend it.
31. I learned this year that white supremacy causes white people to suffer too. Like really suffer. If you are white, get close to how white supremacy has caused you to suffer and stay separate from others. This was intentionally created by people in power, history and a culture of oppression. It’s radical to disarm it in each of us. In order to do that we have to feel it.
32. I’m Looking around at the spaces I find myself in and asking the question: Who’s missing? Is there a variety of age, race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, physical capacity? If not, why not? Think prairie here. If the whole prairie was all coneflowers wouldn’t that be boring? Oh and none of the pollinators can thrive on one type of food. None of them. Go back to #30. Repeat.
33. Spikenard Bee Sanctuary in Floyd VA has been so much more than a place to learn about honey bees. Over the last 8 years, it has reconnected me to the very essence of service- giving and receiving. Nature is an excellent example of a community of care. Go to Spikenard if you ever get the chance. Check out this cool swarm of bees.
34. I’m reading from diverse authors - meaning, ones that don’t look like me. See # 30 and 31.
35. Real matcha is the bomb. Thanks to Rev. Angel I found out about Breakaway Matcha. Who knew cold brew matcha even existed. Who knew matcha could taste this good? And it’s good for you too.
36. Death happened this year. Much more of it than I’m fond of. I was lucky to grow up on a farm where I saw the life cycle firsthand; Birth and death. Sometimes in the same day. But, this year has been particularly challenging in the practice of acceptance- real full on acceptance of death.
37. I’m learning that power, leadership and love are all okay for women to possess (think your favorite superhero) and can in fact co-exist in the same body. I’m leading from my power with more love.
38. Gathering is one of my superpowers and I’m owning that in hosting honest dialogues about race conversations. See # 30.
39. Building a rain garden has been eye opening. The number of species of insects, plants and animals who have made it their home has expanded our habitat for wildlife 10 fold (and that’s saying something if you know my yard). Return some of your land to the wild. See # 41
40. Teaching embodied mindfulness, self-care and self-awareness to teachers, students and administrators is the foundation of community care. I learn something new about my own self-care and awareness every single time I teach. I want to support a culture that lifts up all of us in self-care and gives us the ability to ask for what we need and just be better humans. See # 26.
41. Climate change is real and I get really down about this. I’m focusing on doing something right where I am. I’m building an ARK (Acts of Restorative Kindness) in my own yard. A place where wildlife, insects and native plants can thrive. This website called - We are The Ark - encourages this very thing and has great tips on how to get started. See # 12.
42. I still ferment things often. This is where the wild theme comes full circle. We all need diversity in our life especially in our gut microbiome. Go to a farmers market, get some local veggies and start fermenting. You won’t regret this and your body will thank you. This is another radical act. Come see me at the Clintonville Farmers Market.See # 6, 7 & 26.
My partner just finished this beauty (little free library) to add to the ark we are building in our neighborhood. An ark of relationships and interconnectedness.
I’d love to hear from you. I want to know your bad and ugly right along with the good.