One Hundred Fifty One: Picking Back Up

“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.”  – Napoleon Hill

Saturday, May 31st

Last year, I hit an all-time low in my motivation. I had several annual projects that I had started years before that I let sit collecting dust. I didn’t question things too much; I know better than to ever try to dissect my disinterest in continuing with something I love to do. Perhaps I simply needed a break, or really needed that extra time with my family. Forgiving myself and allowing myself to simply be was magical.

When January 1st rolled around this year, I had a renewed sense of purpose. More drive to put myself out there. One of the things I knew I would do is to reconnect with the restoration project I’d been doing at a local park. This park has a 0% maintenance budget, so when weeds grow they sit there instead of getting pulled. It was a park built in honor of those in recovery from substance abuse so I have always felt that it was only apt to acknowledge their strength and persistence by committing to several clean-ups to beautify the space.

We are all a stone’s throw from someone whose life has been affected dramatically from drugs or alcohol. Most of the time, I feel clueless whether I am doing anything fruitful or supportive for the people I know who are in the daily struggle. The people who have seemed to have had the firmest grip on being clean and sober could relapse – often leaving partners, friends, and children in the wake. Others who never really said much and kept their heads down at clean-ups end up keeping themselves together. The more I work alongside people in recovery, the more I realize that Recovery is much like life in general. You can fight the blessing of waking up another day, or you can embrace it and all the pain and joys that come along with it. But it takes a will to participate, and to show up.

Picking the park clean-ups back up has been an act of selfishness as much as it has been an act of grassroots community building. I get quiet time before my volunteers arrive. I get a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And most importantly, I get to check my judgments and assumptions about people. It’s such a judgmental world and I am a part of it, so I like to challenge myself to see beyond the most obvious labels or pigeonholes people get tagged with and move beyond that. I’d want the same for myself.

Is there anything that brings you joy that you’d like to pick back up?


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