After reading Maria Popova’s recent blog post, In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times, I was reminded that at the end of each year we collectivley try and assess the year’s events and attempt, through resolutions, corrective measures. Like most resolutions, they usually fall prey to inertia and, for me anyway, the forces of habit and comfort. I am more of a long-term corrective person. In the late 1980s I went through some very tough changes personally (divorce, addiction, growing business, trying to be a good dad and husband, etc.) I emerged, several years later, a stronger and, ironically, more emotionally centered and optimistic person. Of course no change, when one is in relationships (professional and personal) is an isolationist act. Our lives are intermixed and, whether we like it or not, we influence and are influenced by those around us.
In my last blog post, A Year of Change: 2016.12.31>2017.12.31, I referred to 2017 as one of major changes for me both personally and professionally. I spent most of the year alone studying art in Florence, Italy; was fully disengaged from the company I founded; and Lea and I renewed and deepened our relationship. 2017 was also very difficult for me from a global perspective. The United States political system has shifted to one run by oligarchs whose only interests are their own and those of their donors. The system has been social-engineered through tax codes to decimate the lives of the vulnerable, sick and underrepresented; rob the poor to reward and make even richer the rich; and dismantle important safeguards. If I were in my 20s again (wishful thinking I know), I would be in the streets like I was in the late 1960s. But alas, 2018 will mark my 7th decade and I just don’t have the same energy to match my empathy. I also, now more than ever before, feel “the clock ticking.” I also, despite my very active engagement in social media, do not believe that much change comes about via Facebook—other than ideological confirmation and group-think reinforcement. I do, however, enjoy keeping up with friends and family on Facebook.
2018 will be likely match 2017 in change: Lea and I will be leaving Mérida, setting up a new home in Portland, Oregon, establishing new personal relationships and exploring a part of the United States that we know only slightly. I will continue with my art. Lea will start slow—but once her arm is fully recovered she will be back fully involved in her wonderful weaving art.
So what is my resolution?
2018 will be the year of stepping back and focusing on what is inside. I will let the unfolding of the new home, place and friendships, along with my artistic explorations, dictate my time. My health, relationships with Lea, my three daughters and granddaughter will be a re-engerized focus. I will continue to post on Facebook but will think of it more as “mind book” than “facebook.” My posts will be mostly through the blog rather than directly to facebook. I am, as is my nature, optimistic about eventual change within the US political system—but it will take the energy of others to make the change. I will remember to remind myself daily:
I don’t think it is possible to contribute to the present moment in any meaningful way while being wholly engulfed by it. It is only by stepping out of it, by taking a telescopic perspective, that we can then dip back in and do the work which our time asks of us.—Maria Popova