It’s that time of year my loves. Gotta be honest, I’m sort of in the mood to dropkick 2021 out the door (had too many friends dealing with too much shit, and, well, omicron). But I also crave the catharsis that always comes with annual reflection (solo or with friends).
Truth is, I love nothing more than a good question. Well, maybe a good question, a dinner table full of friends, IPA, and some warm bread. Whether you’re just carving out some time to journal solo or gathering with some good people to reflect in community (you can print these out, tear them up, and throw them in a bowl), here are some prompts to help you along…
What are you craving to learn more about next year? How might you go about it—an online class, a mentor, a book?
What was a really nourishing practice for you this year?
What did you shed, let go of, or give up this year? How did you get lighter?
What do you want to savor more in the year ahead? (Thanks or the inspo, Anna.)
What was the most overhyped experience you had in 2021?
What writer, filmmaker, musician really moved you this year?
How has your body been this year—resilient, tired, vital, healing? How would you like to change your relationship with your body in the year ahead?
Who made you feel most heard this year? Who did you learn to have better boundaries with?
What did you learn about your own capacity for uncertainty this year?
What completely ordinary thing are you most grateful for right now in your life?
*If you’re so inclined, would LOVE to read any of your answers in comments.*
And if this newsletter has nourished you this year, consider giving a subscription to someone else?
I'm craving for more writings by Courtney Martin and Sarah Wheeler! I wrote to Sarah in connection with her wonderful Momspreading's latest theme of "How much hope do we need?" that my focus will continue to be on learning more about peace studies. My "mentor" and longtime correspondent in this regard is Prof. James Tully (Pol.Philosophy, UVIC). He is editing or publishing three (!) books in 2022, including a collection of his works. His particular topic is "integral nonviolence", and his most original research concerns the Original (Indigenous) peoples of North America. It's exciting that Canada's leading philosopher has devoted most of his professional career to these subjects and I'm eager to learn more from his new publications.
Okay, if I'm to keep my responses manageable to your 10 questions, I'll try hard to be mercifully short. My most nourishing practice in 2021 was finishing the draft of my next book, "Indian Ideas of Freedom"(HarperCollins, 2022), with an Afterword by Tully.
Sharron and I got rid of "stuff", selecting from our locker books that are definitely unwanted.
I'll savor correspondence with my granddaughters, now in college and majoring in Gender Studies, African history, International Relations and Ethics, respectively. One granddaughter will be president of the Queer Club at her college and examine bell hooks' books, a treasure now to reflect on after her recent death and lasting legacy.
An overhyped experience was reading most of the media discussion about American politics, a chiefly banal and uninspired commentary.
Writer: Thich Nhat Hanh, "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet (2021); filmmaker, Spike Lee, "Da 5 Bloods"; musician: Paul McCartney, "The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present".
Now in our 80's, Sharron and I get fatigued too easily, especially with long trips, so if we return to India to celebrate our meeting there 61 years ago, then we need to be in better shape, especially taking treks in the nearby forest that Courtney and her family know from walking with us.
I felt most heard in the high school ethics class where I've volunteered teaching for 10 years. I learned to have better boundaries with colleagues in India through zoom lectures at the Univ. of Delhi.
Because I have a dread of contracting COVID/ variants, especially at my age, I learned that I have more limited capacity for uncertainty than expected. I AM SCARED!
I'm most grateful for daily conversations with Sharron. After 60 years together, my gratitude comes from the fact that such regular exchanges are "completely ordinary", yet never to be taken for granted. Dennis Dalton (DD)
Love these questions.....have printed them out and will spend some time with them over the coming days, thank you (and Happy New Year to you)