So here we are, with 2013 at an end just a few days ago. Already. I know I pretty much say that at the end of every year, but wow did this year ever seem to go by at breakneck speed. Before I knew it, October had arrived, and then before I knew October, even that was gone. If there was a year of strange time dilation, I think this was it. (Cue spooky music) Thankfully, I remember every excellent moment of the year, and there were many an excellent and glorious crowning moments of personal delight that lie like jewels amongst the sea of delight. Look out, I’m delving into bad poetville! Strap in, as this coaster is about to leave the station! And it’ll be a long and sweet ride…
2013 started in an empty room.
Not exactly, of course, but I flew back home at the start of the year to an empty bedroom with a new bed to assemble and not much else – the living room, kitchen and dining room were still in incomplete states. It would take two+ more months for the house to be fully complete, a status of limbo weirder than living in the hotel for I couldn’t even settle into my room until all the work in that room was done. As each bit was finished, I would inhabit it, bit by bit until we celebrated the project completion with a kitchen warming party. Finished, it all looks great: new cabinets, countertop, sink, tile floor, carpeting, painting, and more. It is not a project I would hold up as a paragon of good project progression, what with the poor project management and poor trade coordination, and final work that is passable but not extraordinary. But it is done and it looks alright, and with that I could finally settle into my house once more and have it fulfill upon its intention: to be a place that enables and empowers.
Before that milestone would be reached, however, FC came barreling down, with a nearly-last minute finish for our epic skit project of awesomeness. After the many, many, many hours of prep, filming, effects work, more effects work, and even more effects work, and lastly editing, the final version was rendered out nary a day before the con and put onto a USB drive for transport to the FC:U show staff. And all that hard (and fun) work was well worth it. I am very, very chuffed with how the final product turned out in terms of the quality of the actual sabre fighting (martial arts FTW!), the effects, the editing, and the humourous bits. Looking at it in isolation it’s a bit odd, but inside the context of the actual variety show setup it worked great, and the on-stage finale was a great surprise and well received. I had a tonne of fun doing it all, and we were honoured with a second place award, which was fabulous. I really appreciate Furries In Motion for helping us out on the project, their expertise aided to the process immensely. The rest of the con was also great for me, with my Tai Chi and Shaolin classes held in the grand atrium with loads of people, some new, some familiar. It was a grand time overall, great to play and talk and enjoy and to meet up with friends old and new and just spend time together.
A theme that, fortunately, will repeat itself throughout the year.
The biggie thing for me this year, in more ways than one, ended up being some of the most insane fun I’ve ever had. Shade and I connected at FC a couple of years ago, randomly sitting in the headless lounge and striking up a great conversation about being and the nature of reality. We re-connected at con this year, and began exchanging what would become a torrent of epically long emails delving into all manner of things… including an almost-off-hand suggestion of mine: “Hey, wanna do Tough Mudder?” “Sure.” !! So began a sweet training regimen of ten mile hikes, strengthwork, and putting together the perfect music for a training montage – because, as we all know, you only need a good training montage to be able to pull anything off. And pull it off we did, both on the mountain through fields of mud and obstacles of interestingness – we survived it and had a good time in a great atmosphere – but also in a fun visit exploring bits of California, sword sparring, and extending our long email conversations into meatspace. The mudder prep was probably the biggest project responsible for the time weirdness I felt, and the fun of it and the amazing time I had during Shade’s visit was sweet indeed.
Beyond the mud, my tai chi practice continued in high gear, and yow, did I ever discover and get a lot this year. Through Sifu’s coaching and my explorations I continue to discover and be amazed at each new level of grokking the fundamental concepts of the martial arts and of how to engage the body. Every couple of months I’d get something new. There’s no end to it… and I love that immensely. It was a good year for teaching as well, with a (fluctuating) number of students, though I would like to increase the number in 2014. I didn’t do as much Shaolin this year as I would have liked to. I did try to learn the limits of my legs after last year’s burnout during the prep for the China trip (though I did discover WHY I burned them out last year – foolishly I hadn’t noticed I was rooting while running/hiking up the hills here, silly me!), and was happy when they fortunately performed nicely during the mudder. After the mudder, though, I again chose to take it a bit easier in my workouts to let them recover. I’m looking forward to this coming year and starting up the more intense Shaolin training again, using it as prep for round 2 of the mudder fun. As much as I love doing and learning tai chi, there’s a deep visceral enjoyment I get out of Shaolin and I wanna keep that up and up and up.
I am happy to say I had an epiphany about my work on Sifu’s book this year, a revelation that freed me up to work on the book more intently: I’d been living in the context of “geez, it’s been 8 years that I’ve been working on it, which means I must be doing it poorly.” While it has been 8 years, the way I’ve actually been working on it has been only a few of hours a week at most; really, that means I haven’t put 8 years of solid work into it, more like a year or two. And, as it turns out, there is a lot to do! Getting that opened things up for me, and with the added benefit of 8 years of solid kung fu growth and experience, plus the courageous editing work by two of my kung fu sisters, it’s come a good looooong way. Publication: very soon!(tm)
I read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly this year, and, wow… what a fabulous book, a great series of explorations, and it put again to the fore the journey I began when I saw her first TED lectures. And there’s much juice to be had there. It’s juicy juice, dealing with some of the most long-standing automatic ways of being I have, but the potential is huge. I’m diving in. Coupling what I’ve gotten from the Landmark courses with her writings is affording me a very powerful entry point that I think wouldn’t be available with just the book alone. This also marks the ninth anniversary since I first did the Landmark Forum (wow, nearly a decade) and while some may get tired of me mentioning it all the time, I finally got stock, like, simple, down to brass tacks stock of what I actually resulted out of their workshops:
I enjoy life more, and I get more of what I want.
And that keeps growing year by year too. Heights and experiences yet unimagined. That just frikken’ rocks. And what I want is creativity, beauty, love, harmony, peace, and gusto. I love getting those, love sharing those, love being immersed in those. That’s the space(s) I want to ply in, all the time.
Add to that connection. Returning to the theme of being with people and sharing time and experiences together, I got to meet and connect with many new friends this year, sharing meditation and exploration, martial arts, life, and fun. I went on a number of first and second dates. I also reconnected with several friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and even got to rediscover old passions, such as my month-long obsession with roller coasters (the passion is still there, just the obsession has subsided :P). Extra special for me was the mid-year visit by a dear and close friend, a visit that would not have been predictable from the nasty parting we had nearly a decade and a half earlier. A testament to the power of taking responsibility and cleaning things up (and to the distance I’ve travelled these past nine years), the visit was amazing, with nothing in the space but our friendship and love. It was a deliriously excellent time. (to wit: I enjoy life more, and I get more of what I want)
At work we hit a slow patch and spent much time on reduced work and pay, not something I particularly like especially with fixed and increasing costs of house and more. I completed another fabulous project at Stanford. I also set up, implemented, developed, trained staff, and rolled out Revit to the entire production team at work; not exactly a light undertaking, but one that went off swimmingly, with few hiccups and quick acceptance.
The house received a new roof (now with R6 of insulation!!!), a new front façade, and a full paint job this year. And my bank account, accordingly, lost a bunch of weight through this “house rejuv” workout program…
The regular D&D game continued to be great fun, finishing a bit with Jason as DM and moving onto the start of a campaign with Peggy at the helm. Another year of Aurora was published. And – fanfare and trumpets! – my my desire to begin hosting BattleTech games came to fruition and no less than four games of stompy mech fun were had!
The DML Canada Day Picnic was fun as always. And I didn’t host enough dinner parties, leaving my wine fridge filled to overflowing capacity! Aiya!
It was another year where I didn’t have a single bad day throughout the year, which makes it nearly nine straight years of no bad days. (Nearly, as I’ve had one bad day – ONE – out of the 3278) Rock on!
And lo, doth we now stand on the cusp of a new year. I’m starting off with a bang, as I like to do, full of visits, classes to prep for, books to publish, and life to live. Let’s rev’ em up and careen into 2014 with full delicious excitement and abandon.
May all your 2014s be filled with laughter, love, and liveliness!