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The On Being Project

Seven Questions to End 2017 with Clarity and Start 2018 with Intention

1. What was one of the moments I was most proud of this year? What does that tell me about what I want to spend my energy/time/money on next year?

I was really proud to have taken feedback on this column and turned it into this column. I want to learn in public as often as possible in 2018.

2. Who really enriched my life this year in a big way? Who is someone I am wanting to get to know better in the year ahead?

My artist friend Wendy MacNaughton. We made this poster together and it was such a thrilling collaborative experience. I am excited to get to know Rodney Foxworthy, this wise man who reached out to me and wrote this incredible piece.

3. It was a year of resistance for many people. What did I resist most effectively? What did I surrender to?

Interestingly, I feel like the majority of my resistance and surrender energy were flowing in the same direction — how to address my own internal racism and how to think about structural and cultural change with regard to race and inequity.

4. Who did I feel most jealous of this year? What is that person up to that I want to bring more of into my own life?

I felt most jealous when I read long reported pieces. I want to spend more time in 2018 interviewing people, doing research, and writing long investigations into the themes that I’m most passionate about right now. I also felt jealous of anyone who has a hot tub or manages to notice if their shirt is actually buttoned up after nursing their child in public.

5. When was I most physically joyful in 2017? How can I get there more in 2018?

Dancing. I am learning how to dance without getting drunk — no space in my life for hangovers. I also feel joyful when I’m biking, which I want to do more of, when I’m snuggling with my kids or my husband, and when I’m in the middle of tall redwoods.

6. What is one question that you found yourself asking over and over again this year? What version of an answer are you living your way into?

I continue to ask: What does it look like to be a person deeply embedded in a community and a neighborhood and also have a global consciousness and impact? I was surprised to find that going to my hometown and interviewing my very own mother on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the film festival she co-founded gave me some insight into the answer. Aren’t the answers always right under your nose?

7. And finally, in honor of Krista Tippett’s beautiful modeling: What makes me despair and what gives me hope right now?

I feel deep despair over so much of what is happening nationally — particularly the way in which ordinary citizens with so much common cause are being pitted against one another by fear and distraction. It gives me hope that women are speaking out so courageously about the sexual assault and harassment they have experienced and that individuals and institutions are being forced to respond. The On Being Project gives me a tremendous amount of hope — this site, its readers, the podcasts that the team produces which consistently blow me away and make me ache to ask more questions, the prospect of gathering in 2018. I feel so lucky to write here and “know” all of you. Thank you.

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