Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: An End of the Year Reflection

So I have blogged more in 2013 than any year since I began in 2010.  I created a much more disciplined practice of posting at least once a week.  As I look over my posts for 2013 I shared a great deal of my spiritual and vocational journey here.  Not shocking that those two labels were the most common.  Since I left my position at the congregation in March I have been seeking and living into what is next for me.

As I start 2014 I begin two new adventures.  I will be serving as the Consulting Minister for the UU Congregation of the Outer Banks and I will be an Adjunct Instructor for the Prince William Sound Community College.  Finally after months of seeking I have two new part time positions that I am excited about.  I will get the chance to stretch my congregationally based ministry skills at UUCOB and my teaching skills teaching Religion and Popular Culture.  In a good way it is both exciting and terrifying. I know that both positions will be pushing me further out of comfort zone while also honing skills I have mastered.

In an interesting way though the search continues.  Both jobs are part-time and time-limited so discernment will continue. I think this is the way we will all have to be thinking about our careers, that we must always be in discernment about whether it continues to be a good fit and if a particular job ends, where will we look for what is next. It is an interesting balance to both deep dive into what is right here, right now while noticing what is on the horizon with the hope that past, present and future will somehow meld into opportunities as yet unseen.

I continue to be inspired by Parker Palmer.  In particular I continue to learn to listen to both where the path opens and where it closes.  It was clear that a path that opened to a new full time job with one organization was closed at least for now and that a path to a more entrepreneurial, portfolio career of putting many part time things together opened.    I am blessed that the part-time opportunities that opened for me were in my field, will stretch me, and replace my take-home pay from my previous full time position.  For so many others, far too many, are forced to put together part-time jobs far from their dreams and from the income they need to survive.

This year has been challenging on so many levels.  There was a great deal of grief from leaving my former position.  There has been the feeling of being lost and searching and not finding much.  There has been financial scarcity and the accompanying stress and fear.  There have been far too many dark nights and I am grateful for the friends who listened and loved me, my spouse and daughter who loved me through them and the help of medication that pulled me out of the darkest corners.  There has also been deep joy.  I have met so many interesting people this year through my networking. I have discovered organizations doing amazing work.  I have developed a deeper love of writing and posting to this blog.  I had the privilege to work with Dave Kaiser, who is an amazing coach!  I had the opportunity to participate in the Choice Center Discovery and Breakthrough weekends where I met 50+ amazing souls, was pushed way outside my comfort zone and found ways to conquer my fear.  I am closer to my sister and her family. I have longed to have a closer relationship with her and it is developing.  I also have been reaching out to my niece who like my daughter is an amazing young woman.  I have been the recipient of amazing generosity from both expected and unexpected places.

So as much as on one level I am ready to kick 2013 out the door, on the other I want to honor the many gifts and blessings of this year.  It was not all bad and it was not all good.  I have been changed profoundly by the events of this year.

My hopes as I go into 2014 is that I find balance and abundance.  That I push myself to read more, learn more, to feed my creative side even more through drawing, through writing.  I want to keep writing and maybe even attempt a book.   Maybe 2014 is the year I actually do the NaNo write. That the new professional opportunities that I am beginning will be fruitful, both for those I will be serving and for me. That as I embark on these new ministries, my professional life will blossom leading to greater and even deeper ministry. My deepest hope for 2014 is for abundance. Yes abundance on a material level, but also spiritual and emotional abundance.  I want to have a deep, full well from which to give and serve others.  My hope for this blog is that it will continue to spread.  That more of you will interact and comment, make suggestions, offer your feedback, share my posts (hint, hint).  Oh, and I certainly look forward to quite a few walks on the beaches in the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. May you find your own slice of beauty in 2014.

What are your thoughts as we close out 2013?  What were its gifts?  What about challenges? 
 What are your deep hopes for the start of this new year 2014?

May you bring forward the very best of 2013 into the new year and 
may your New Year be filled with the deepest of blessings!

See you next year!