By Karelys Beltran
One of the big shocks of entering adulthood was realizing how bad adults are at having fun. It is something that needs to be cultivated on purpose. Being happy, content, and grateful requires discipline and focus as would any other endeavor. It’s like an Olympic sport and nothing to be lazy about.
Self-actualization is actually very hard to do because as humans we have evolved to survive and I have a sneaking suspicion that we fabricate stress in our lives to give a job to those wonderful and useful traits that we have inherited from our ancestors. But we are stuck many times at the bottom of Maslow's Pyramid of Needs, while living in the land of milk and honey.
As an immigrant child, I had to make the very conscious, but intellectual, decision that my time of survival had ended. I had no skills to pursue self-actualization and the realization of my dreams. My life so far, had been sixteen years of focus on needs like food and shelter and convincing the pecking order that I was worthy of resting at the higher pegs. Reaching adulthood was an initiation in this world where people believe that the pursuit of delight and happiness belongs only in youth. People seemed convinced that unrestrained joy and deep romance belonged in the years of no responsibility, no mortgages, no overbearing bosses, and strange arbitrary schedules that clash with natural internal clocks for no reason other than "This is the way it's been done for a long time."
The realization that we create our own stress by perhaps living bigger than our pockets, or making practical decisions trying to sooth ancient emotional wounds, was liberating. And right after that, the realization that I was in charge of my life therefore I could do whatever I wanted. What I wanted more than anything is to maintain the euphoria of my youth even as I signed off on bills and took care of my responsibilities that keep the wheels of my life well greased. I was stubborn on my determination that my life would not revolve around responsibilities but around the efforts to create fertile circumstances for joy that would morph into a self-sustaining ecosystem in its own right.
It's hard to do. That is why I am constantly seeking the company and the hearts of those who are committed in the same ways to a life of boundless joy, contentment, adventure, and comforting love.
I interviewed the makers of Spirit of the Endeavor, a weekly podcast made right here in a small town by people of big hearts and open minds. It’s dedicated to dissecting the good and the bad of the week. It’s about regularly practicing the making of space for romance, gratitude, happiness, goodness. It’s about refusing to let the daily grind make a dump of your inner state. It’s about discipline and the courage to dissent when so easily one can follow the current of anxiety and fear set by the political environment, family sickness, personal challenges, and when your own confidence gets wobbly knees.
I hope you enjoy these gems of wisdom; earned the hard way through pain, growth, countless hikes of the Yakima Canyon, and dark mornings with coffee. Tune in to Spirit of the Endeavor weekly to be a part of the conversation, the hilarity, and the moments of being real and soul naked.
I am here with the Spirit of the Endeavor’s Kodiak Julian and Jamaica Zoglman.
Why this project? Your lives are already beautiful, why give yourselves so much homework on top of everything else?
Jamaica: I feel like this was taken off from places where we were already doing a lot deep personal work and it’s sort of just taking that work and bringing it closer to the surface. And Kodiak and I were talking about how we have these different origin stories from when we started to chew on these bigger questions. And you (talking to Kodiak) have one about finding romance.
Kodiak: Yeah, so my origin story was about four years ago. I went through some really big life events both positive and negative in a way that just really rocked my life. And it was taking me some serious processing time. I ended up having this staggeringly beautiful September day, sitting in Gilbert Park trying to write but instead of writing the novel I was intending to write, all I could do was think of what is beauty and romance; trying to learn how to define it. And realizing that that was all that I wanted. All that I had been wanting was to live my life as art and to see it as being romantic. And that it was a worthwhile pursuit that I needed to turn my attention toward.
I don’t know when the moment came when it occurred to us that we should do a podcast, but suddenly it was very obvious we should do it and it was very clear what it was going to be.
We had this big day of just tossing it back and forth and just defining it and refining it, and what the vision was about. We walked miles that day talking it over. What was it going to be. And the specific actual format of it. The components came to me in a dream, including the name “I Can’t Believe I Stuck My Hand in There!”
Jamaica: I had lived my whole childhood and young adult life in this sort of spiritual vacuum, which I think is a gift my parents were trying to give to me. Because they had upbringings that weren’t so open, and so it was a loving thing that they did to not talk about that and sort of let myself figure it out on my own. I sort of bounced around “am I atheist if I am not Christian?” I just didn’t have the words. So I decided I must not believe in anything.
I had lived most of my life like this, and in college I decided, “Well, maybe I am agnostic.”
It was a new word. So I tried it on. Like a coat.
It was here in Yakima with newborn Geneva, I was pulling out of Fred Meyer with groceries, and there is that beautiful golden hill of.....well...dead grass...but it was golden and beautiful at that hour. And as I am pulling on the side of the road I just think, “I am going to go find what the Divine is because I believe in it DAMN IT! I do! I am a thing and I think it’s this sort of earthy witchy maybe pagan thing. But I am going to go find it. Just because someone hasn’t given me the words yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that it's not real.”
So a large part of what this podcast is a continuation of finding the words for the things that I am, or know, or feel.
Karelys: I've joined you guys on a couple hikes in the Canyon. It seems that there’s a pattern of good things being born out of people hiking in that canyon. Do you have any ideas about that?
Jamaica: We talk a lot about how fundamental nature has been to our experience of finding beauty and romance. Or connecting with the sublime.
Kodiak: Cowiche Canyon is a powerful place and there's something going on there. I think it’s a sacred place.
I have a friend who says there are ley lines in Cowiche Canyon and I say without confidence of understanding what ley lines are (laughs). But it's something that it’s powerful and spiritual and mystic. And it is there.
Jamaica: Well and I think there’s something about this place where we live. This high shrub steppe desert. It speaks to the hurt places in our hearts more than the lush hills and valleys that speak to the places in our hearts that are growing well.
There is something so stark about The Canyon. It’s like you can see the parts of yourself that are cracked and hurting but are also really beautiful. And perfectly whole in their own way. I go to The Canyon and it’s very healing to see a part of myself that I can appreciate and love it when it’s just nature around me. And if I can do that then i can do that for my interior landscapes as well.
Kodiak: Plus I am also obsessed with life hacking. I am really fascinated with any framework that deals with lifehacking. Creating a project that focuses on “what are your greatest life values?” and digging into that, is very interesting to me. It’s a project that doesn’t exist anywhere, for people to explore spirituality and romance.
Jamaica: And little funky nuggets of “Oops! I messed up!”.
Kodiak: Yeah! And we are goofy about it. If somebody else were making this it would be my favorite thing ever.
Karelys: I love this! A lot of entrepreneurs I’ve talked to are saying the same thing, “I wanted this and it wasn’t done so I decided to do it myself.”
Jamaica: It’s the line “If not me who, if not now when?”
Karelys: Jamaica was telling me that the podcast is very much a narrow slice of where we are in life right now. I thought it was such a good way to describe it. I deal with anxiety because I think a lot about the future. I want my future to be a certain way and I am not sure i can deliver for my children and my friends and my loved ones. But Jamaica was talking about the podcast being a weekly practice of taking a slice of life, right now, and seeing what it’s like.
Jamaica: That’s very healthy for me because I get caught up in thinking where I am going. And am I going fast enough? And who’s going with me?
It’s about saying, “Where am I at now? How do I feel? What does it look like?”
Karelys: It is a lot of work. We as listeners digest it one hour at a time, you guys are putting in the hours of the recording, the editing, the posting, the admin parts of it. Why is it still worth it to do it?
Kodiak: IT’S FUN.
Jamaica: We structured the frame, the questions, the feel of the podcast after conversations we were already having with each other. We try to make it something that felt like us. And I like being me with kodiak. It feels really good.
Karelys: It does feel like you! I used to live-text Jamaica as I was listening to it, “You just said this! It’s so funny! and this other comment was so profound!"
Every five minutes texting her about the podcast that she recorded.
Jamaica: you talked about work being the most dangerous form of procrastination.
Kodiak: Yeah so we have other art projects that are harder. So this is the easier and more fun art project. And of course we have to do it because it has to come out every Sunday. So it makes it very easy to procrastinate more difficult art.
But we also talk about the play that sneaks in things that you have to do regardless. Life is a thing that you have to do regardless, and you have to keep working on your life to keep making your life as wonderful and interesting as you can. That seems like a really worthwhile pursuit.
Karelys: Because no one is going to give you that! If that’s the life that you want you have to do it yourself.
Kodiak: Yes! You are going to be here anyway. It should be a really good time.
Jamaica: And I know it’s been really helpful for me, for these more sobering projects I’ve taken on, artistically, other stuff that is more challenging, you know. I can talk about those struggles on the podcast or the things I am stuck on, or the things that are very emotionally taxing. So this is a place where we workshop the other artistic work that we are doing.
Kodiak: And then we hang on to it because we get to listen to it again. And instead of it disappearing into the ether like so many things do, this remains.
Karelys: When you talk about harder artistic work. When I was younger I thought about art as this fluffy, cherry on top type of thing that wasn’t integral to life. The older I grow the more I realize how essential for a healthy life art is. You know? I can’t do without my life having good flavor. I will die inside and very quickly it will show outside. For those who still think that art is meant for people who don’t have to grapple with survival in life, tell us, what do you do for a living? What do you do to get bills paid?
Kodiak: I teach High School.
Jamaica: I teach World Religions. And I am on the board of education for my child’s school. Although I don’t get paid for that. You know how people say you should do what you would do even if you didn’t get paid for it? Well! I am doing A LOT of things I don’t get paid for! (laughs) but it’s very rewarding and very gratifying. So I guess I now know what i should do for a living.
Karelys: How do you keep from giving up and letting the push and pull of life take over?
Jamaica: We’ve sort of built this thing to be something we want to run toward it rather than away from it. We look forward to it. But also we have prompts, like “Professor Fix It,” that makes us focus and think throughout the week about stuff that isn’t working and then we go on the show to talk about it.
Karelys: Ah! So, I am working on a very personal and intimate project that I’ve had in my heart since I was fourteen. And many times I’m overcome with self doubt, imposter syndrome, I think, “What makes me think I have what it takes?”, but my entire life has revolved around this. This desire has dictated my path and the decisions I take over and over. It’s a passion of mine, I am deeply educated in this subject, and I am highly skilled for it. How would you deal with it if I brought it over to Professor Fix It?
Jamaica: Well first of all, I would say to pay attention to your self talk. I try to talk to myself as “Okay, Director of Religious Education, it’s time to make hard and important decisions!” and suddenly I am not a kid playing dress up in her mother’s shoes. Now the Director of Religious Education must focus on making the best decision with the available resources at hand.
Kodiak: This is bigger than what we usually fix, and Professor Fix It usually takes grain sized issues, but we have talked about imposter syndrome, and we’ve been in situations where imposter syndrome is overwhelming. But it’s interesting how doing a small thing, and another small thing, changes the frame work. And then suddenly: “Oh look, I am one of those people who are doing the things! And now it’s been a while.”
Jamaica: I also suggest journaling because after a while you see how far you’ve come. You are like a frog in a pot of water that gradually boils and you can’t see the change that has happened. If you can journal about where you’re at and what you’re working on, then you can see! There’s no need to feel like an impostor. I have become tremendously badass in the last six months. I should absolutely be giving myself credit!
Karelys: I have become a badass! Back in February of this year I was terrified of publishing my first profile. I made myself sick for a week! And now I am just doing it. Asking questions, delegating work, hiring people, and it feels easy! Maybe I can replicate those for my next venture.
On Wanting to Give Up Harder Pursuits
We all have self-started projects that we don’t want to face because they are hard, they require vulnerability if they are heart projects. We dig into pressing forward when life pulls at many different directions, but the creative work won’t be carried out by anyone but those who were entrusted with the inspiration. How do you both continue on despite the setbacks and the emotional depletion that some of those projects bring to your lives?
Kodiak: With writing it’s so hard that the desire to give that up is something I need to fight back against all the time.
Jamaica: Everything derails me from drawing. The election? Didn’t draw for two months! TWO MONTHS!
Karelys: Why is that? I feel the same struggle. For me the things that require most vulnerability are the things I want to shove to the side at the drop of a hat.
Jamaica: I think for me, my other art can be very very emotionally exhausting. It’s not reflecting like the podcast. In the podcast I am talking about things I’ve had distance from and I can articulate them. And especially because what I am doing is not words, and it’s weird because i see words in my mind all the time, but when I am creating art that is visual it is so immediate that I haven’t had time to process it and all of a sudden I am bombarded by feelings. I find that I am shaking or I can’t stop even though I am tired and I want to go to bed. It’s like my art is doing its own thing and it’s very overwhelming and it’s easy to find reasons, once that has passed, to not go back to it.
Kodiak: Our art is so weird because it’s play meets craft. The play part with the unexpected is something you need to be so open and vulnerable, and the right amount of sleep and awake, you have to be truly truly engaged. Craft involves really being on, and really being good at something.
Jamaica: Focused. Attentive. Present.
Kodiak: Those two things together are very very difficult but when it’s working it is the.best.thing.ever.
When I get into a state of workflow it is so pleasurable.
You know, people say “do you like writing or having written?”
I like writing but it’s so hard to get to that exact spot in the writing when it’s going really well. I think it’s where art and craft meet.
It’s like running. Ninety five percent of running is really really hard. Then there’s that five percent when you hit the right stride, and it’s magic. You put up with all that hard part to get to the really good part. But it’s really hard for me to deal with the resistance I have, for both running and writing, for that reward.
Some of the things that have helped me through is not breaking the streak. For a while I was running and writing every single day. For two and a half years. And I broke it which is somewhat liberating. But remembering things people have said to me, like my husband Frank would say he’d be really angry with me if I stopped writing, because of how much I had invested of my life and even my marriage relationship to be a writer. So I had to pay off on that investment. I had to make good on it. And thinking about the things mentors have told me, oddly enough the one thing that, one of the ones I keep thinking about, is from the mystery suspense writer Robert Crais. I was at a party with him and when he went to leave he came close and gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered, “Don’t fuck up and quit.”
Even though it wasn’t an “I get you and I get your writing,” still, this amazing Hollywood writer guy tells me to not quit.
Jamaica: And well, it’s true. You haven’t really blown it until you quit.
Karelys: I have lived a life full of anxiety, so pushing myself out of my comfort zone is a constant state of anxiety. But not doing it, makes me sick. Doing the things I want to do drums up fear, but not doing it is not an option.
Kodiak: Writing hurts. But not writing hurts more!
Karelys: I read Kindling, your short story, to this day I tell people about it! It was during a time of my life when I was getting acquainted with my shadow and my darker side. And not discarding it, not treating it as something that needs to be hidden, fixed, or domesticated. It’s fascinating to me that difficult as writing is, once you do it the effect is in the ether forever and you touch people’s lives long after you’ve wrestled yourself and won.
Kodiak: I am so glad that story found its audience. It came from a very difficult place.
Karelys: It did?
Kodiak: Oh yeah.
Karelys: So, life is difficult. Life is hard. How do you find the balance between keeping the podcast PG rated because of your jobs or societal demands? Life can be gnarly. How do you balance that beauty and not being disingenuous, but still show up raw and real in your podcast?
Kodiak: We have so many answers to those questions!
Jamaica: First of all, not talking about stuff that would lose our rating and not talking about darkness are two very different things.
Jamaica: And oh boy do we talk about that!
Kodiak: We made an episode specifically about that. I think we called it darkness.
The hard part is staying positive on the show. That’s much harder than keeping the clean rating.
Jamaica: And not falsely positive. But truly and genuinely positive.
Kodiak: It has to be an oasis in our listeners’ lives. It has to be a place where they don’t have to worry about listening about…
Karelys: the election!?
Kodiak: Yes! We had to record through the election. So we wanted our listeners to get a break. And not distraction but really an invitation to dig deep and find the beauty and positive in their lives. We don’t pretend ugly doesn’t exist. But we invite you to really pay attention to the beautiful things. Because the ugly thing only has merit if you pay attention to the beautiful.
Jamaica: We know this is forty five minutes a week. And we know that everyone out there is experiencing major difficulties. We are not denying it. We are saying, you know when you need to fill your cup back up, here we are. You know, come sit with us and we are going to talk about how to do that.
Kodiak: And it is a chance to fill our cup as well. I think it’s important that there are people focusing on the things that are ugly and problematic. Because those need to change. Immediately. And the nation needs to be aware. But it’s also important that there are people who focus on the beautiful.
Jamaica: You talked about the false perception that art is just fluff. Some people might say that us dedicating our time to art is fluff and that it doesn’t matter as focusing on the people being affected by the current issues. You know? I disagree. I think we need to put our attention toward things that are beautiful. And have something to look toward and strive for things that give our lives meaning. We need to show up for the marches and the, you know, immigration protection trainnings. We do these things! They are just not talked about in the podcast.
Kodiak: We have different artistic projects and they become these channels for all these different pieces of what we are thinking and feeling. I feel like the message and the style of the podcast was decided on that day, and I think it’s important that we stay true to that. Because that’s a repeating product and it has it’s variations and iterations. But it needs to be somewhat consistent and true to what we are. And then our other art is a place for radical difference.
On Nurturing the Creative Energy
Elizabeth Gilbert has a Ted Talk about the creative genius. She refers to it as a spirit that humans collaborate with. I’ve concluded in my own life, that creativity must be invited and a space must be created so it wants to come be with you.
Karelys: How do you foster and feed The Creative?
I’ve gone through times in my life when I’ve let the creative side dry up. And what I’ve learned is that not standing my truth, not being aligned with who I truly am, gets in the way faster than anything. So that’s a shortcut that I’ve found in feeding the creative. What about you guys? You’re a teacher and you’re a stay-at-home mom who is also in the board of directors for your child’s school, and you teach world religions. There is a lot pulling at you guys. How do you stay on track and feed creativity?
Jamaica: Accountability is very important. We say on the show,“This is something I am working on,” and we have to deliver. We’ve built that in our process.
On a limited palette: Using self imposed limitations to encourage creativity and inspiration.
Jamaica: We think of creativity as a limitless outward expression but in truth, when we reduce the options and say “I am going to only focus on this thing and I am only going to talk about this subject,” it triggers creativity and makes you more prolific.
I have a friend who is an oil painter. She has an excellent and successful career. When she feels stuck she draws a piece of paper from the jar and she has to paint with only the colors and only the idea that came from the jar. And she reports that it works wonders for her.
Kodiak: That is absolutely true. When I am in writing workshops someone will say “We will write for fifteen minutes about this specific topic. Go!” and I have to write. I just have to write. There’s no other way about it. But when I am on my own and I have all the choices it can take me months to finish anything. For me it’s life hacks to build the environment for it. Building the time for it.
When I first started writing it was after my son was born. I realized, “Oh no! I am thirty-two years old and I haven’t become a writer yet. So I have to force it.” So I started to get up an hour before getting ready for work, to write. And I wasn’t sleeping anyway because I had a newborn. It wasn’t excruciating. It was exciting. And that’s what I did for my first few years when I was starting as a writer. I had to do small things like really make sure the coffee was programmed for the next morning. It first it was very exciting. I’d look at that coffee pot and I’d say “I’m gonna see you in a few hours. You and me pal.”
Then I would add another hack, like baking scones during the weekend, and eat only salad for lunch so I’d wake up hungry at 4:45 in the morning and there’d be scones to feed me. So I’d play to my biology.
Jamaica: That’s what I would do too! I’d bake a secret batch in a house full of people coming out the ears. Or I’d bake and say, “That’s all!” and have my secret stash just for myself. So I would have scones; when I woke up it would be just for me! How romantic. Like when you put mints on the pillow for yourself and forgot you put them there. What a surprise!
Karelys: I have struggled with depression and anxiety. And I had to dig myself out of that pit in the most excruciating, on foot in front of the other, slow way. One thing about depression is that you don’t sleep. Insomnia is a thing. So I was always tired. And I thought, “I am not sleeping anyway, might as well get out of bed at 3 in the morning when I wake up and meditate between 3 and 5 am before the sun wakes up.”
And I started looking forward to it with excitement. It was my special time. There is something very special about that time of day. It is imbued with mystical energy. I claimed that part of my day that was torturing me, as my saving grace.
What other projects have been born from this pursuit?
Jamaica: Sort of like how I can’t pinpoint how one of my art projects was born out of me stitching my long johns, I can’t specifically pinpoint how the other art projects were planted by anything in particular we did in the podcast. Because this is where we workshop all those ways to live in a mindful and peaceful way. This is our fuel.
The more interesting of a life I can live, I can say, “Yes I am going to have adventures and share about them.” I can go have a picnic in The Canyon, or if I can’t afford to globe trot I can go have a dinner at the arboretum and pretend it’s a land of magic. It really does fuel just about every artistic endeavor that I start.
On Choosing Pain and Defense Mechanisms
Karelys: You have a piercing in your ear, and you had talked about having this insane drive and need to experience pain while being in charge. Never before had I thought of pain being something I choose (outside working out). I have self imposed periods of scarcity, like a spending fasts or actual food fasts. It’s a psychological workout I do where I choose the situation and I remind myself that I am okay detaching from the fun and cozy experience of having everything within my finger tips. It helps me center myself and think, “If I lose this, it would be sad, but I am okay because I know how to live life in an abundant, exuberant way without these things.”
Jamaica: You know how you are in a situation that came up and blindsided you? You weren’t ready for a response and it didn’t work out the way you wanted to. After the fact you think, “Here’s what I should have said!”
I think painful experiences are the same. We go, “Fuck, if I had known I would’ve done it better!” You know, "I would have stood up for myself! I would have been brave!”
Being able to go back and rewrite that story is so healing.
Kodiak: With my painful experiences I had such a life free of grief until I was in my early thirties. It just was. It was….lucky. Until the first big thing that was hard hit me. It was like, “Oh this is what it feels like. And I can take it.” And when the next big thing happened I thought, “This is what it feels like and I can take it.”
Jamaica: I think I couldn’t take it. When big shitty life started to find me I was too little to know how to take it with dignity and how to preserve my own self. I didn’t know what it was. And I was far too little to know what it was.
Kodiak: You were young.
Jamaica: I was just a little kid.
I think it’s helpful for me to put myself in experiences that hurt but that won’t destroy me. I am not taking risks that hurt my family or my friends. It doesn’t make me sick or injured. But yeah, I can get a big piercing with a big ol’ needle next to my face. It’s pain that I choose. I was there and I said, “Not now, not now. Okay now go!” And when it hurt I said, “Yeah that crunched my ear, but I know who I am and I know what I am about and I can ride this out.”
Kodiak: I can see that your experience different. Because the pain in my life was nobody’s fault. But yours was an individual choosing to inflict that on you.
Jamaica: And it’s not like it was just one culpable person. There were all the layers of people who should have protected me. And they thought they were doing right by me and right by the family, but if it was me protecting my children I wouldn’t have made those same decisions. Being able to recognize that and forgive where I can, and cut ties, by being able to embrace pain on my terms, I am able to overcome that. Because I don’t think about it anymore everyday. Because now that I’ve had healthy pain I can choose to not feel that every day. And I can actually interact with you in a healthy manner. I can choose to go get more things pierced. (laughs but it's true)
But I don’t need that.
Karelys: It’s so interesting, I am cognizant of the fact that people might see you as this soft and ethereal person that is all about loving and beauty and softness. But I know you and I know you as a warrior; a very stubborn person leaning toward what’s good.
Jamaica: Kodiak and I were talking about defense mechanisms. Some people don’t show emotion and some are aggressive. I don’t know. But mine has for a very long time been to take other people’s armor off. I won’t wear armor, but the first thing I do without realizing is taking people’s armor off. Some people don’t like it. Of course. And some people love it.
Karelys: Of course. It’s tiring! Wearing an armor.
We just want some person to take it off with.
But hardly anyone is safe enough to take it off with.
That’s why we fall in love. Because we find that one person, among billions of people, that we can take our armor off with.
Kodiak: I am not very good at it. I am fascinated with what’s underneath everybody’s armor but I am not very good at taking at off.
Jamaica: A lot of the times I don’t really understand the ways that people protect themselves. And that is a part that I would like to understand better.
Kodiak: That is a gigantic part of my life. Especially in my day job. Understanding the armor people wear. Admiring it. Even if I don’t know how to take it off. Hey! That is a really beautiful scroll work in there! That’s a huge piece of what I do and it informs my art.
Jamaica: Even the armor that we wear is self expression and who we want to be to the world, how we present ourselves. It can tell you a lot about the person. It’s not just practical, it’s also art. The things we protect are the things we value or fears that we have. Being vulnerable.
Kodiak: I think that’s a big part of teaching in public school. There are so many different motivators that people have. You have to read motives and give people what they need.
Do you need a grade? I can do that.
Do you need competition with other people? I can do that.
Do you need affirmation and ovations? I can do that.
Do you need negative words if you don’t do what you promised you would?
I can do that.
I teach language arts. And previously I was teaching honors classes, which are full of people who are invested in diving deep and are excited to do the work. The last few years I haven’t been teaching honors classes. But this year I can tell my students are ready. They are ready to form the stories and dive into the hidden meaning in the poetry and read between the lines. They are ready to take big emotional and cognitive risks and share a part of themselves, take a stab at what it might mean to have or remove the line in that poem, what is the story doing and what journey it will take the reader on.
Jamaica: That’s part of the work. Looking at people and saying, “That’s a beautiful armor. You’ve built a very intricate defense system! Way to go!”
Karelys: It’s necessary! As someone who preaches and practices vulnerability, I’ve had to learn to build and use an armor. Because I love people and I get blindsided by the goodness I see in them, to the point that I ignore the fact that they can choose…...to not be goodness.
Jamaica: It’s a practice to understand that you can take your mask off but it’s up to the other person to take their mask off. You can be as inviting as you are, and the other person might still choose to keep their armor on. And you will learn to be comfortable being the only vulnerable one in the room.
Karelys: Well that makes things interesting!I am the only one naked and you’re not. And yet...you’re offering your vulnerability by the details you’ve chosen to adorn your armor with.
I am grateful for the interesting conversation that give new words for untouched problems that I didn't know how to address. We need people in our lives to challenge the way we do things by inspiring us to reach for different ways and different approaches. Cultivating an interesting and satisfying life takes courage, focus, and determination. The beauty of the internet is that we connect with people around the world that inspire us to do so, they are our tribe when we haven’t found a way to connect with people like that in our own small towns.
Connect weekly to The Spirit of the Endeavor if you are also one of the people stubborn about the pursuit of beauty, mystery, and the sublime.
Huge thanks to Thayne Jongeward for the incredibly fun photo shoot. All the credit goes to him and the drop dead gorgeous models.