Reverb15 is actually over. The prompts are still pulling at me though, so here’s a collection of some I responded to today, with links to the full prompts. Maybe I’ll respond to the the rest later, maybe not.
Day 11: Of Atoms and Stories. The prompt here was “What stories touched you this year? Which stories of your own are you glad you shared?”
Like Kat, I loved what Brandon did this year with HONY. I was touched especially by stories of the refugees, shared by him and elsewhere, people putting themselves in boats and leaving everything without any guarantee about what would happen to them when they landed (if they were lucky enough to make it), willing to risk their very lives because the life they were leaving was so so bad.
Also, the earthquake and devastation in Nepal, and all the good people tried to do to help.
And all the deaths by guns.
I was touched by all the suffering, but also the good that came as a response to it, how willing people are to help, how determined so many of us still are to continue to choose love in the face of fear and hurt and brutality.
Similarly, the stories of my own I’m glad I shared are of my own struggles, my own suffering, and the goodness that remains, that continues and even thrives despite it. Most recently, I shared a story while on retreat about what it’s like to be a disordered eater, and rather than being met with confusion or resistance, my readers understood it, even if it hadn’t been their own experience.
Day 12: The Alchemy of Fear. The prompt was “Can you think of an instance in the past year where you have been successful at making fear useful? What fears do you hold about the year ahead? And how could you use the energy of those fears in a different way?”
My fear this past year has centered around my health. I had three significant boughts of illness and/or injury and each time I was terrified the situation had the potential to become chronic or long term, to fundamentally change the quality of my life. I feared they were markers of age, of a body that was faltering, and that I would need to significantly alter the way I lived because of it. I used this fear to reevaluate how I was caring for myself and how I was living, to find appropriate support, and to educate myself about how to do better. I learned to be gentler, but also to take back my own power, to be fierce in a particularly compassionate way.
My fears about the year ahead are the same ones that linger now – that I want so much, have so many plans, and I will try to do them all, that I will burn out again, that I won’t pace myself. I could turn this same energy towards becoming a master at pacing myself, at taking care of myself, and cultivating a life that is small, but deep and wide, on getting really clear about what is most important and clearing away the rest.
Day 13: Shake It Off! The prompt was, “What are you going to shake off with fierceness before you enter the new year?”
Okay, a theme is forming in my answers, which is the secret reason I love reverbing so much – it helps me to see the truth, the ways in which I’ve been fooling myself and the ways that I’ve evolved beyond habitual patterns. It clears away the clutter and gets right to the point.
What I’m going to shake off with fierceness, maybe not before the new year but certainly soon-ish, is the notion that I’m not good enough, that I’m not doing enough, that I have to earn the right to be here. I don’t have to prove anything. I have enough. I am enough. I can relax, sink into that sense of contentment and confidence.
Day 16: Transformation. The prompt was, “Tell us about transformation.”
The primary transformation I’ve made, am making, is to honor my body – what it wants, what it needs, what feels good to it, what drains it. It begins with allowing it to be, whatever that looks like. No more smashing myself to bits, starving and stuffing myself because I don’t measure up to some external standard, rushing around even though I’m exhausted and need to rest because I’m trying to prove something. What is interesting about transformation is that like a caterpillar turning to a butterfly, the transformation from one manifestation to another requires a complete melting of everything into a soup of nothing, eventually reconstructing as something beautiful with wings, tender and fragile but possessing the power of flight.