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Annual Theme Book Camp Quarantine Shared Vision Uncategorized

Shared Vision

I actually have / had a theme for this year. It is / was called Shared Vision. Typically it is something that would have filled the majority of space on this blog. For years now, I’ve selected a theme for the upcoming year sometime around October or November. I consider how that theme impacts all the different aspects of my life: wife, mother, friend, relative, citizen, financial provider, author, Christian. The spreadsheets are seriously impressive in January when comes the time to start meeting all those smart goals I established in the fall.

Then 2020.

I should end this post there, probably. The words “then 2020” have a specific, unique meaning to each of us, but they also have a universal core we can mutually understand. That we share.

Twenty-twenty has not thus far been the vision I expected to share within anyone. Most of my careful plans appear upended. Can’t go to a writing conference mid-pandemic, for example.

Six months in and it’s finally time to recast my vision. To my utter shock, most of my goals still have pathways even through pandemic, given that I and my immediate family are relatively safe and cloistered and employed.

Line by line through four printed pages of minute type in tiny boxes, and I see a way forward. Or at least a way to be here for a while.

Being present, being here now, has been somewhat of a struggle for me. Not just during pandemic but in all times. My mind tends to wander to ruminate on the past and to fantasize about the possible futures.

Now, during pandemic, more than ever before I need to anchor myself in the now. In the here. In what is and the way it is.

Happily, my shared vision theme document from last fall pretty perfectly sets the stage. There are some things that I can’t do, or that I choose not to do. But there are lots of other things I can work on where I am when I am.

And at least one shared vision is coming on Sunday…it’s Book Camp time! Book Camp looks way different this year. The kids are another year older and that much more capable. They’ve been in near-isolation since spring break. Virtually no other camps, except a virtual camp, have been had this summer.

More than that, I have a formal job now. Book Camp and work–wait, what?! It’s really only possible because this is the sixth Book Camp (seven years since we started, but that one summer we moved to Florida) and because the kids are teens or nearly so. The schedule has a Book Camp Intensive before work and one after work, teatime mid-afternoon, and loads of other neat perks. In between, though, the kids will be self-directed, working on assignments and the big group opus.

The two families have undertaken what a niece calls “severe quarantine” for two weeks leading up to camp. This is serious business.

Oh, and did I mention Book Camp is TWO WEEKS LONG this year? That’s right! Given the weird schedule and all, I don’t promise to blog every day this book camp, but I will keep you apprised.

To Book Camp! To shared visions! To being present even when “then 2020.”

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Annual Theme Shared Vision Uncategorized

A Speck of an Inkling of a Possibility

Recently I invited someone close to me to share in a vision with me for my future as a writer and artist. Being admirably honest and intensely specific, they said of my prospects: “It is like a speck of an inkling of a possibility.”

That was Sunday. On Monday I returned to my desk and reviewed my theme for this year. Lo and behold! I discovered a grave mistake I had made.

Let me back up. Every year I choose a theme to guide my work and other aspects of my life. For 2020, my theme is Shared Vision. Each of my past themes has been introspective, gazing internally at trouble areas and solutions. This year, I’m focusing on my own visions and how others relate to them, but I’m also seeking to share in a vision with people I’m close to. To seek to understand what they want in their own lives and how I might relate to that vision through emotional, physical, or spiritual support.

Last November I prepared the Spreadsheet of Destiny, aka the spreadsheet of my intentions for my theme. Turns out that November-me had a pretty clear notion of what January-me would need.

One line item on my spreadsheet reveals the vision to be present. One strategy for being present? Don’t indulge fantasies (for good or ill) of the future.

I reread that line on Monday, and Sunday’s conversation suddenly became clear. I had asked this person close to me to indulge a future fantasy. Why? Because it’s more entertaining than doing the work and more satisfying than failing. The other person couldn’t indulge in that fantasy. They couldn’t. Because the fantasy felt like a speck of an inkling of a possibility.

On Monday I understood where they were coming from. I understood my mistake was indulging a fantasy and dragging another person into it.

Another thing happened on Monday, though. A speck of an inkling of a possibility didn’t sound like such a bad thing. During a depression dip, that phrase might have blocked my writing for a week or a month as I focused on the tininess of myself. But Monday. Monday I had the health and sight to see it as enough and expansive and not a bad phrase at all.

In the universe, I am a speck of an inkling of a possibility. So are you. And that is plenty. From that, we can write worlds, compose galaxies, paint the heavens themselves. From just a speck of an inkling of a possibility has been born every song, book, movie, masterpiece, and machine ever created. Inhabit the speck. And let it expand as you create. And fill the world with art.

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