I look at the end of the year in terms of my spiritual calendar rather than the secular calendar. The old year ends at Samhain (October 31) and the time between Samhain and Yule (Winter Solstice) is a time for reflection, recuperation, and inner work rather than starting new projects. Therefore, the time between Yule and Imbolc (February 1) is a good time to start articulating plans for the remainder of the year from Imbolc to Samhain.
For better or worse, my plans are very much in flux right now. My biggest focus right now is sheer economic survival. Currently, I only have part time employment and my income still isn’t enough to cover my expenses on a consistent basis. On the one hand, I’m very grateful for the support of friends and loved ones at this time in my life, and I feel very secure in the knowledge that I will continue to have access to the basics of food, shelter, and utilities, regardless of my financial situation. However, one of my major goals in life is to be source of funding for the ecological and social justice projects that I support, not a drain on my friends and loved ones. As long as my income is this low, that simply isn’t possible.
Therefore, I’ve cut back on some of my Real Life Superhero work in order to focus on researching and pursuing various job offers and other projects that may generate income. I still do the radio show, and I still work with the Big Muddy IMC when I can, and I still go to other events here and there when time permits. But other projects I have in mind have been put on hold until I get my finances in order.
I’m hoping that within the next month or two, one or two of my ideas for part-time income will pay off and I’ll be able to return my attention to expanding my RLSH work. I like to believe in my capacity to succeed, so I’ve already started considering what RLSH projects I’ll be working on when the time comes.
Some of my RLSH work will depend on the exact nature of my new income. I’m currently applying for a part-time position with a local non-profit, so the outcome of that application process will surely affect what direction I go with my community involvement. One of my long-term goals is to create an increasing amount of synergy between my paid employment and my Real Life Superhero work, so I will focus on RLSH efforts that are related to my paid work. That way, the organizations that employ me will benefit from my extra volunteer hours, and I will benefit from extra job security in the process.
In addition to any RLSH projects related to my paid work, I also have a few ideas in mind for entirely new or independent efforts.
First of all, there’s the second annual Hero Fest. Last September, with the help of several friends, I organized an event called Hero Fest to celebrate local community service organizations. The first Hero Fest was small and simple, but I’d like to expand upon the idea and hold another one this September. This time, I’ll have a good 6 months or so of lead time to recruit more volunteers, involve more community groups, and do more promotion and outreach. I plan on starting on this sometime in February, so if you’d like to get involved, feel free to contact me today.
Beyond that, I can think of dozens of assorted community service projects that I would like to see take shape in the next ten and a half months. Sometime in the next few weeks, I plan on brainstorming a list of potential RLSH projects, picking one or two to focus on myself, and then presenting a few of the others online in order to see if I can find any fellow community members who want to take the lead on these projects.
One of my goals in being a Real Life Superhero is to inspire other people to action â€” so if you’re looking for ideas about how you can make a difference in our community, our region, and our world, I’ll be happy to share my thoughts and advice. As a philosopher and teacher, I see this sharing of ideas and facilitation of communication as a whole Real Life Superhero project unto itself.
Of course, there’s more to life than being a Real Life Superhero! I do have other goals and interests in life too.
My physical fitness regimen started with yoga and has now expanded to include jogging once a day and other forms of exercise three times a week. I started this daily jogging on November 2nd and plan to continue it until at least November 2nd of this year. As my health and fitness levels continue to improve, I may alter or expand this plan â€” but I’m making sure not to push myself too far in too short of a time.
I’d also like to travel outside of Southern Illinois at least two or three times in the coming year. I love having deep roots here in Southern Illinois, but I also love seeing new places, meeting new people (and old friends), and having new experiences.
Finally, I have a few other ideas for the new year in mind that are still in their infancy. Some of these relate to my spirituality; some relate to my professional life; some relate to my community life; some cross these boundaries to address several aspects of my life at once. I don’t want to go into any detail on these, though, until I give them some more thought and talk them over with a few close friends. I’ve got about a hundred ideas on my mind right now, and I know I’ll only be able to act on a dozen or so in the coming year, so I don’t want to put too much energy into random brainstorming thoughts until I’ve taken the time to sort through them and refine them.
So, that’s what I’ve got planned for 2011. Wish me luck, and let me know if you have any thoughts on my plans and visions for the new year.