Letter from the Director – January 2022

Balance and Soul Keeping

My birthday comes at the first of the year and I like it that way! I get to celebrate a new calendar year (and try to remember to write the correct date – like 2022 instead of 2021!) while also recognizing a new age and a new year of my own life. I have two new “starts” simultaneously. Everything is fresh and bright, a clean slate and a blank canvas – and I get to direct the decorating however I like. 

I’ve said before that I am an “idea” person and never is that statement more true than at the start of a year. My mind untangles from holiday busyness and begins to look forward to the days and weeks ahead. I write goals, yes, but more inspiring than that for me is writing a new list of ideas for the year. The thing about ideas is that they are fluid, amenable to change or re-evaluation. They also never die. I write my ideas on a whiteboard in my office so that I can see them daily. Whenever I feel stuck, I read them. Admittedly, I sometimes mumble to myself, “That was a dumb idea” but often I say, “Yes! That’s brilliant! Let’s go for it!” 

Last summer, a poet in residence at RWC introduced me to the term “Soul Keeping.” I think it’s important to not only do things that support our work but also things that support our soul. Soul Keeping is about listening and being open to experience. It’s about allowing yourself to pivot from your structured plans and follow the random spur-of-the-moment notions that soothe you – like lying down in the middle of a field and letting the winter sun warm your face, or standing still by the creek and listening to the tumble of water over stones. 

On my “idea” whiteboard, I have a lot of work-oriented thoughts, but I also have this: Attend to Soul Keeping. This is one idea that can’t ever be considered a waste of time. In fact, its brilliance has already generated many, many new ideas, and those ideas keep moving out into the wild unknown of the new year like waves. 

In this new year’s new start, I offer you the idea of Soul Keeping. May you allow space in your 2022 goals for your soul’s good dreaming. It will lead you well. #RWCbelieve