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Happy New Year from James Howard Kunstler and Me

My husband subscribes to James Howard Kunstler’s blog, “Clusterfuck Nation.”  Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency, which chronicles the disasters Kunstler foresees for the U.S. and the world as a result of building our economy on cheap oil, easy credit, and a host of concomitant factors like the automobile and suburbia, which are now rapidly becoming unsustainable.

Kunstler is an excellent writer and his opinions are colorful, if his conclusions are harsh.  I post a link to his 2009 forecast (http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/) not because I’m convinced he’s correct; nor to instill fear or discourage anyone.  I encourage you to read what he has to say to bring consciousness to the challenges we may face in the months ahead so that we might choose in advance how we plan to respond to them—with anger, fear, or an “us vs. them” attitude, or as Kunstler himself hopes: “That we will transition away from being a nation of complacent, distracted, over-fed clowns, to become a purposeful and responsible people willing to put their shoulders to the wheel to get some things done.”

In addition to a number of goals, I ask you all to hold me accountable for two resolutions I am making this year:

  1.  To pay attention
  2. To speak my truth

Resolving to pay attention derives from a growing realization that—except perhaps when I’m playing with the quads—I am hardly ever present.  I’m reading emails while talking on the phone; thinking about my novel while surfing the web; talking on the phone while walking the dog; making mental to-do lists while doing yoga.  I get off the phone and realize I don’t know the answer to the question I’ve just asked; close my browser and can’t remember what I’ve read; and end each day wondering what the heck I’ve accomplished because I’ve dropped so many threads. 

Two years ago, after my husband and I had a car accident that could have been fatal, I vowed to live my life no faster than the speed of appreciation.  I’ve forgotten that commitment and want to remember.  This year I resolve to pay better attention, moment by moment.

Resolving to speak my truth stems from two excellent quotes I read recently.  Rosie Molinary, writing in the November 2008 issue of Skirt.com, said: 

“Being Good, it turns out, isn’t about being pleasing.  As every feminist knows, Being Good is about being just to others while also being true to yourself.”

(Really?  I keep forgetting that!)

The other is from Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors, who says: “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

For a writer—and a congenital people-pleaser—this, too, is an essential touchstone for me to remember.

Wishing us all a healthy, happy New Year, filled with new experiences that enrich our lives and help us to grow—more conscious and more connected!  Happy New Year, Everyone!

P.S.  One more thing:  My interview with Thanissara and Kittisaro is featured in the new (January 2009) issue of The Sun!  http://www.thesunmagazine.org/  My first national publication!!!




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jennifer freed (jffree@aol.com)

your site is gorgeous as are you WHY HIDE ??? the art the words the breath the gifts all to be shared

beth goodman (begoodinaz@yahoo.com)

Thank you big sister-that I love and respect so much. For everything. For this house that we are all enjoying in your absense and all the ways you share yourself with us. You are perhaps the best friend I have ever had. In reading your blog entry (another great one!) I wanted to respond here