The Structure of Project Home & Healing

Outlining the structure for Project Home & Healing is something I've wanted to write for a while.

I am still working on the homeschool posts and homeschooling through high school series, as promised, but I've put those on hold for a few weeks so I can do some other writing.

Some of what is in this post I've shared before and some is new. But before the year gets too far along (one week into April already!) I want to publish this outline as a reference point and fence post around which to anchor other writing and future posts.

Coming off the trail I knew I needed healing in some areas of my life. It's funny how some people find and seek their healing in the trail experience itself. For me, the trail caused pain I needed to heal from and it was the last straw in a downward spiral of insecurity.

By putting me in situations far outside of my control, trail life illuminated ingrained and habitual ways of thinking (which were in part responsible for my trail pain) that I needed to change if I was to improve my mental and emotional health, both for the short and long term.

I conceived Project Home and Healing to give structure to the healing process, to provide myself some direction and focus in moving forward and a way to organize my ideas.

It started as an outline in Evernote, a list actually of things I felt compelled to do for myself, coming off the trail.

This list was not "self-care" in the typical sense most often associated with that word, it was self-care at the deepest level. It was about knowing self, loving self, caring for self, ensuring that my self has what she needs to be what the people I love and serve need. It was about being healthy for the people I love (Damien and the kids), but first and foremost it was about being healthy for me.

That list which was part self-evaluation, part checklist of basic routines to re-establish in my life, and part "questions to ponder and ideas to revisit" (actual title of list) ended up becoming several documents; more lists, more self-evaluation, and eventually a semi-concrete plan of healing focused around my place of vocation, comfort, and well-being - home. Hence, Project Home and Healing.

As I explained in this post, at that point, Project Home & Healing was a three pronged approach to rebuild my wellbeing:

  • Attend to my Mental Health
  • Return to my Roots
  • Craft a Vision

It wasn't until the breaking down and rebuilding on the marriage level that things really started to shift into another gear. And at that point, my recovery and healing, involved a fourth, and most necessary element:

  • Structural Changes to our Family Life

Shortly after Christmas, it was actually mere days following our celebration when I was out skiing near my sweet spot, I thought why not share my healing process with a group of women? What a great opportunity this would be to nurture FIMBY community and connection around fixed topics, or themes, as related to my personal project.

The benefits of this were a few-fold:

  • It would help me stay focused on my healing. By committing to writing about it, I was committing to doing it.
  • It would allow me to explore a private FIMBY community, something I've wanted to experiment with for some time for personal and professional reasons. (I'd like to run a homeschooling workshop in the future and have wondered how to bring a group together online for discussion and sharing).
  • Writing about very specific themes and ideas would enable me to go deeper, as a writer, into the topics I wanted to explore. And publishing them off-blog would allow me to get over the last vestiges of "this is what a good blogger does" hang-ups that I have been holding on to since deciding I wanted to be a professional blogger.
  • And looking ahead to the future, having written in-depth essays about a cohesive theme, I may be able to re-work those into something I can publish as a stand-alone product - an ebook? a workshop? a retreat outline? print publication? Lots of possibilities exist, but first I have to write it.

And so The Kitchen Table came to be - a writing project and a community building endeavor - the outward expression and sharing of a yearlong personal endeavor called Project Home & Healing.

By the way, I'm not writing this to elicit more subscriptions to The Kitchen Table. I don't gain anything financially from doing so, it's free. In fact, I just gain more work since there will be more "how do I do this?" emails. (Which I don't mind, by the way, but I only respond to those about twice a month. And so if you join now, don't panic if you feel clueless or out of the loop for a while.)

In December I will turn forty. And Project Home & Healing is what I'm doing to prepare for this milestone in my life. My end aim with this project is what I laid out in Year of the Fallowed Field.

I am wired to lead and live loud, and although I have built a peaceful, kind, and loving home I'm also feisty and fiery and I love that part of me. At my best, when I am in my zone, I am exuberant, confident, and in-charge. I want to nurture those traits into their full, beautiful, forties-something expression.

I want to carry this strong sense of self in me, like a secret knowledge. Not to be something I push on other people, but an inner strength and sense of wellbeing that enables me to operate in my full capacity to bless, serve and help others.

I can't anticipate what my forties will bring, but I know how I want to feel when I get there - a sense of wholeness, inner strength, confidence, security.

Those are the impetus, the outline, the writing/group project and the end aim of Project Home & Healing.

Now all we need is a Venn diagram, wouldn't you agree?

I'm a linear thinker. I generally categorize ideas in hierarchies and ordered lists, or at the very least in distinct "zones". But when I looked at my four category outline for Project Home & Healing I recognized that a lot of my ideas - action items, questions I was pondering, etc. belonged to multiple categories. They resided at the convergence of return to my roots and structural changes to family life, for example.

So I created a Venn Diagram which better represents Project Home & Healing than a linear progression or a list of ideas.

I had a lot of fun making this and gave a surprising amount of thought to these colored bubbles, how large they are in comparison to each other, their placement, where they converge, etc.

There are a lot of activities, projects, books I'm reading, changes we're making and have made to our lives that are wrapped up in these pretty bubbles. That's the stuff I plan to write about at FIMBY in the coming months, and have already been writing about.

March was a month of both subtle and significant breakthroughs, with cognitive understanding, spiritual insights, and deeply-emotional experiences related to the themes of belonging, identity, community and connection, and even citizenship.

These insights resided at the convergence of mental health and return to my roots, and inspired some progress even in craft a vision.

This is the stuff I want to write about, but as you can see I couldn't very well have said, "These insights resided at the convergence of mental health and return to my roots, and inspired some progress in craft a vision" without first laying down the framework for you.

I had planned to write about the specifics (I love details) of what happened "at the convergence" but when I sat down to do so I felt compelled to write this instead. And now, all of a sudden, it's April and we've rounded the spring cornerstone of Easter.

In spite of all the snow on the ground my energies have shifted into a new groove, which has a significantly different personal and familial focus than the month of March. As much as I'd love to recap the growth of last month (or even the winter in general) I won't have the time, but that's ok, it still happened.

After an intentional season of hibernation and rest, re-discovering fun and focusing on my flow while reaching out to make connections and build community I'm ready for the next stage, and a new season.

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  • Anna

    Anna on April 8, 2015, 6:37 p.m.

    Love love love (and am inspired by) the Venn diagram

    Great photos too

    Thanks for sharing, I was just thinking hmmm, it must be time to hear from FIMBY, 

    And there  you were in my inbox



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