so here we are at the end of the year, and I am thinking about what i have learned. I learned I need to create, in ways that feel creative to me, as I am doing the work, letting the work through me, it is not optional. it is nourishment. it is essential. I have learned that too much work is not the blessing it may appear to be, but can impact everything in ways that feel like suffocation. that right work in right amounts is delicious. i have learned that my body and mind are brave and that my panic was/is pain trying to express itself. be heard. be understood. be accepted. and pushing it down and away is impossible. pull up a chair and listen, katekate. That is what it needs. after panic I need rest. full rest. sleep or distraction. I need to refill. i have learned I am not good at that. I bullshit myself. I am excellent at that. time to trade a little of my excellence in bs into excellence in self care. unapologetic. simply necessary. i have learned that I need connection that is simple. and I need conversations that are complex. that I need beauty that is simple. and beauty that is beyond imagining. I need to make space(s) for myself and within myself to hold who I am growing into, so I don't take the shape of an old container like a pot bound plant. I define the shape by my growing. i have learned that loving others is what I am here to do. and that others includes me. i have learned that doing my best work means telling the truth, even silently to myself. i have learned that I can speak, and that the listening is not up to me. but that I can speak in ways that make it more likely to be heard. I have learned that my enthusiasm can be a deterrent. too much. and the best I can do is laugh and call it what it is, and know that it is a filter. if I am too much, then maybe the work is not the right work, or the person is not the right fit, or the time is not right. my enthusiasm is a gift. but so is my conscious awareness of others. let me bring both together more harmoniously in the new year. i have learned that my changing body does not mean I have to reject myself because I am no longer familiar. it is an invitation to renew my own familiarity with this place I call home. recognizing I am in a time of rapid and chaotic transition. my needs will change as fast as my topography and my chemistry, and i need to cultivate self compassion, curiosity and fluidity in adapting. I have learned that love can be deep and distant, can be simple and complicated. that I can love and be loved and not understand or be understood. and that understanding is simply not as necessary as acceptance. If I wish to be accepted as myself. i need to accept others as themselves too. it goes both ways. both. in and out. out and in. like breath. i have learned that my mosaic of friends and family create the reality of my support system. that no one can hold the whole of my needs and no one should. I have learned to be a better piece in the mosaic of others'. I cannot be everything to anyone else either. i have learned that i know shit about parenting and my history of abuse and codependence makes this so so hard as I dance the crazy impossible certain to fail dance of conflict avoidance... but am doing my best with a smart sensitive spirited sprite whose energy outpaces mine like an Australian sheep dog. i am learning the difference between reacting and responding. this, my friends, is slow painful learning. i have learned how much of my life is tethered by a self I tend to so rarely. the one who is me. not the roles, the duties, the actions, the work. but this kateness, this one. this one who sits and writes and words come out like salty water of tears of joy and relief, face turned upwards toward whatever is out there, that connects with all and the everything, including all that is in here.