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New Year + Active Hope + Support

Dear Friends,

It's been a tumultuous week. Upsetting, emotional, evocative, challenging, and more. And yet my load was light in comparison to so many others. I spent some of it walking and swatting mosquitos in the woods of Upper Michigan. I spent other days closing inward, not knowing what to do, wanting to crawl into a hole. I spent time reading nourishing passages, talking with friends and family in quiet ways, and reading more challenging accounts. Other than replacing "week" with "beginning of the year", walking to skiing and mosquitos with negative thoughts, the sentiment in the above paragraph written 6 months ago, continues to stand in the New Year. (I also was not in the UP lately.) Some days and moments are filled with vigor and productivity and can-do and others feel soft or defeated or foggy. And yet, we must push on; not push ourselves needlessly but from stillness and contemplation, plan our actvities and actions and words so that we may be instruments of change, so we realize our next self, and we can take next steps that may not be comfortable. In our workshops about Active Hope, we talked about how likely the ideas that seem risky and outside the comfort zone are the ones we push ourselves to examine and act upon. We aren't talking not wearing your masks kind of risks- no, these are the little voices that urge us to take the next step, the daring deed that will better the life of someone, maybe even our own. And then finding the courage to act. I think of people with obvious car trouble on the side of the road- little voice says stop. Or whether I can donate hard-earned dollars toward community members. I wonder if you are feeling or experiencing any of these same pulls? Do those of us with great privilege and comfort have some sort of duty to show up for our fellow humans, for the animal kingdom, for the planet? A practice to consider... One of my recent meditations suggested we see ourselves as a gracious host to a gathering or party. That anything that happened or showed up in the meditation, we welcome to the party. Negativity, boredom, fantasies and planning- it's all welcome, no judgement. We can apply the same to what is happening in our lives- welcoming the experiences, however we categorize them- good, bad, neutral. I guess it's leaning into the idea of equanimity, a

s best we can. Sources of support: Looking at the pieces of my life that continue to give support: you all and creating content for us to move together each week, reading and listening to positive ideas, gratitude practices, and conversations with peers and family who find light and hope. May you find these and other practices helpful to you, too. May you have peaceful moments and find the silver linings, may you find courage to do the daring, may you be well in body, mind and spirit. I hope we connect soon. ~Ingri

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