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I am 43 years old. My body looks different than I remember. Priorities shift around me. Seasonally I choose to I stand on the deck of ships already sailed.

Today I am a different woman. I have different things to say and for different reasons. I am tired of asking permission through my humor. I want to strengthen my boundaries today because if I concern all of my precious breath with what you think of me, I have very little for myself to nurture me. I have a desire to do so many things and it becomes ever apparent that to do them all is to do none of them exceedingly well. Also, I have learned for me that to do only one of them is to leave me in a state of longing for the others.

I used to think the solution was to do the many things I desired to do... better. I believed that I could spend my finite energy more wisely. I trusted that if I tried harder I could do many things exceptionally well, merely by wanting to. I believed, "Today will be different. Today it will work out differently." I really believed that somehow my dance with willpower and the 24 hours in a day would manifest different results if I wanted it bad enough.

My mind is not always my friend.

I can make a list of all things I'd like to do and feel invigorated at the prospect of them getting done. To begin acting on the list, however, time gets away from me no matter how convinced I am that I can manage it well. Time is not my problem. My perception of time + my perception of what I need are goofy.

I believe they got goofy through a combination of experiences, many of which took place when I was a young girl. I took responsibility for many things that I was not responsible for. I did not have any clear idea of what I was responsible for and what others were required to do for themselves. I believe I learned that there never was an end to the things that needed to be done. I believe I learned that there never was a time to 'give up' on someone who said they were trying their best, even if their best was suffocating the life out of me.

I'm only now truly learning what I've preached for years; that you can't change someone who doesn't want to change. You can't communicate a survival protocol to someone who won't stop talking. A monologue of telling you their problems. The thrashing river of blame and victimization will prevent new information or possibilities from meeting a brain that is hard wired to fulfill its own prophecy. Hope cannot replace hopelessness when one clings to the latter for dear life.

Finally I turn to me. My friend Marilyn reminds me to ask myself, "Jen, what do YOU need here?"

What a revolutionary question. I find it difficult to answer. For years the answers might have been a small variety of the same thing; "whatever is fine. what do YOU need, o beloved Other? I don't need anything, I'm fine, what can I do for you?"...

Not today. I want to play. Laugh and dance and rest. I want to create and spend time with friends and love my family and listen to the leaves blow in the wind. I watch youth plunge forward with fervor. They believe they can save the world. They believe in the very least that they can change it. I'd rather drink tea than march. I'd rather walk WITH you than speak AT you. I'd rather share than preach.

Come to the table if exchange and sharing interest you. If growth and expansion interest you. Pull out a chair if you're in the mood to love somebody. To build someone up rather than break someone down.

Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.

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