My hub, Jeff, a voracious reader, challenged me to 3 words for a new year’s resolution, an idea garnered from a fun blog post. Always up for a challenge, my 3 words for 2014 are the above title. I also chose a companion scripture as my partnering moral baseline… it’s Micah 6:8 ~ do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.

peace ~ Most of my life I have lived with mind tension as a deep thinker… meaning I’ve always pondered why things are the way they are or why systems exist that do not seem right or just for all people, especially in the U.S. Many days my pondering has left me angry or spouting critical words when I cannot justify things others seem to conform to because, “that’s life”. Or, as my mom used to emphatically claim, “that’s how they say we are supposed to do it!” I always wondered who “they” were.

I never knew how to describe these thoughts in my formative years. As a child I was taught to fall in line with existing cultural systems and not to challenge the status quo. I didn’t know what to do with my nonconforming thoughts… other than stuff them. In the second half of life, I have come to embrace this God-given critical thinking skillset as a valuable gift. I am using it for good, to tell stories that encourage others to think deeper & differently about lifestyle choices. I conformed so much the first half of my life, it left me feeling frustrated & exhausted from striving & complying to fleeting Western prosperity standards. I am now determined to redeem those years of stuffing & conforming in a more life-giving way.

In 2013, I began following some contemplative thinkers & activists. Their concepts have helped provide ways to channel my thoughts, create spaces of silence/solitude, and mold a healthier lifestyle. And, the first step of my peace action plan for ‘14 is enrolling in a class with one of these renowned thinkers/teachers to dig even deeper ~ more redemption!

tone ~ How you posture yourself and use your words affects all aspects of life engagement… tone is my word for this. I want to hone my tone, so to speak. I want to listen better, ask better questions, write better, & tell better stories… to engage, rather than disengage or polarize.

I also want to live & listen deeper in my diverse neighborhood, to enable sharing of stories that build bridges from one persons world to another. Connections are life giving to those who need housing, food and empowerment with their gifts through work. As well, connections are life giving to the non-poor who benefit from relationships that help to see & break the poverty of affluence. I would like a honed voice promoting these relationships for common good in my city… So, my ’14 tone action plan includes taking a storytelling class to better craft my words, questions & responses.

creativity ~ What If we all truly understood our gifts & heritage, redeeming both for good? Well, I want that… owning & redeeming more of my stuff, again by processing life extensively in my neighborhood. I liken this approach to Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” architectural mantra, translated into rich blended community lifestyle living this year. I am so weary from my past “going & doing”. I want to stay, create and develop strong relationships, enjoying all the amazing gifts my neighborhood offers.

I also desire deepening my creativity within my lifestyle and resolve to design a booklet of lifestyle models I find inspiring… folks living different, building deep community, promoting justice, empowering other’s gifts ~ especially children! This will be a manifesto of tangible models that inspire life change or break down fear that grips, women in particular, from leaving perceived comfort settings or conforming mindsets (similar to where I used to be).

We all need fresh ideas & tangible models, especially in our urban settings where many are over-taxed from the pace of life and constant commuting. I’ll kickoff my creativity action plan through connecting with inspiring peeps & get to writing this manifesto!

Stay tuned friends, we’ll see where this goes… and please, feel free to comment/share your resolute thoughts, words or plans for 2014!

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