This category is mainly about me connecting with myself, my inner and outer self…it combines old categories of body and soul, spiritualism, personal ethics, service to community, health, and (gasp!) fitness. Man, this category sucks. 🙂
In the past, it has mainly been about avoiding catastrophes physically. I go for regular massages, usually when my shoulders or IT bands are screaming at me; I try to take my Prevacid every day to control stomach issues, although a new type of yogourt was keeping me near regular levels even without the Prevacid; I update my eyeglasses, go to the dentist, etc. On the exercise front, though, I’m basically a couch potato these days when I’m not playing with Jacob. My golfing has taken a backseat to just about everything else, and while Andrea and I manage a few active outings here and there, it isn’t consistent. I did manage a slightly more active trip to Hawaii, with kayaking, hiking, swimming, more hiking, etc. On the service side, I have been more focused on the indirect side of things — less about me being active, more about me continuing my charitable giving. I’ve helped with United Way campaigns, etc., but not to a “leadership” level.
On the ethics front, I created my “personal rules” list, but I’m not sure I’m really living them or embodying them. On the spiritual front, there hasn’t been much in my life of late. Leading up to the wedding in 2008, I was a bit nervous about my spiritual beliefs. Having seen or heard of disasters for people with other church services, I felt like a bit of a hypocrite considering a formal “religious” wedding in a church. In fact, I was fully intending to grill any potential minister like a fish to make sure I agreed with their philosophy of faith. Yet, when I met Andrea’s former Minister, Wib, my concerns fell away. I didn’t feel the need to grill him, it was enough that I got to know him as a person and that Andrea knew and trusted him, and liked him. I trust her judgement, I didn’t need to “verify” our choice.
For the coming year, I have a couple of personal ethics goals, small issues that I want to work on…essentially, making more of an effort in a couple of areas of my life where I tend to be harsh. On the health front, I need a new doctor, new dentist, and orthotics. For fitness, I need to start back into some of the martial arts routines and riding the exercise bike. I really want to get us organized this summer for going for bicycle rides around our house too. And I’m determined to go golfing at least three times this year.
On a community front, I don’t feel like I have much free time to get very involved in much this year. I’m involved in a few online communities, mainly as I can timeshift my participation. But I’m intrigued by a proposal that my friend Stephan has developed regarding astronomy! Hope to be able to share more on that in the future…
I do have to come to a decision about my method of charitable giving. I tend to do most of it by giving through the United Way campaign at work, but I’m increasingly disturbed by the administration costs that the local U/W is charging. Since most of my giving is earmarked, rather than a simple contribution to U/W itself, I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to continue to contribute through this means. For example, I could give $$ directly to CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) as a lump sum rather than as part of biweekly paycheque contributions to the U/W. There are pluses and minuses to both approaches, but I need to figure it out rather than continuing to just drift along. This has been on my list for sometime, and I intend to decide by September’s launch of the new campaign at work.
As I noted above, I haven’t been very active on the spiritual front. Andrea and I have been to church a few times but I feel disconnected, an observer rather than a participant. It seems odd to me that, separate from the wedding, I was most affected spiritually by two books. The first is Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. It wasn’t that the writing was amazing, or even that the structure was emotionally moving. Instead, it was more that the issues being dealt with were compelling, and honestly / openly portrayed. Equally, I really liked The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. The book is, umm, odd. Some parts of it are really confusing. And everyone who reads it comes away with a slightly different impression of what was happening. For me, I read it on my honeymoon, and there is a strong sense in the story of things coming together when you are perfectly still — as you achieve total stillness, oneness with your self, the universe begins to open up to you. The book isn’t directly metaphysical, and the main plot makes for a strange story, but that was my main reaction to the story — the challenge of becoming perfectly still, letting the world slip away. So, while I try to figure out my own spiritualism, I think I’m going to reclaim my interest in meditation this year and try to read some interesting tomes rather than following forms of more organized religion.
My bucket list for this category is, oddly enough, huge — I have 38 items on my bucket list that I’m listing under this heading! In there, I have a mix of fitness items, spiritual work, other items that aren’t quite fitness but are generally more “active” in nature, etc. From the long list, I think the ones that I’m likely to work on this year are related to my weight; meditation; martial arts; and giving blood.