29 Days of Being Human

February 2012 – 29 Days of Being Human Revisited (it’s a Leap Year!)

 It’s only January, but it takes some work to become human.  Yes, it’s time again to reflect upon our “human-ness”.  I am hoping that we can once again explore our humanity in February 2012.  I hope that those who read this may endeavor to participate.  I encourage you to share your thoughts about this process with others in whatever way you share those thoughts.  Perhaps instead of tweeting or posting about virtual farms, boredom status or what we’re having for lunch, maybe we can celebrate the truly ordinary things that make us who we are (or once were).  I opened it up a little this year and added tasks.  You may choose the tasks that reflect your humanity.  You may also invent your own task(s).  Here they are in no particular order of significance.  You can do more than one per day – and I realize that some days it may be impossible to be human – but you may not count any one task more than twice towards your blossoming humanity (hey, you might discover that you like singing at the karaoke bar):

  • buy nothing (no gas, no fast food, nada.)
  • donate one hour of charity (either an hour’s worth of time, or an hour’s worth of your wages to a charitable organization, activity or event.)
  • be with nature (work in the garden, plant a tree, visit a botanical garden, hike a trail, visit a tide pool, or someplace else to be in the world and not just on it.)
  • celebrate an extended family meal (sit down to a meal with your extended family; biological, geographical or family of choice.)
  • hold a family meeting (meet as a family to share your thoughts, concerns, joys)
  • extreme self care (commit to caring for yourself… a bubble bath, a spa treatment, a massage, a quiet space and a good book, etc.)
  • play outside (fly a kite, fling a frisbee, toss a ball, you know, play…)
  • honor your inner artist (paint, sketch, photograph, sculpt, dance, act, sing.)
  • take a risk (do something that you are not used to doing, nervous about doing, or which may require minor first aid… skateboard, speak in front of a group, surf, give blood.)
  • be a professional (go to a workshop, class or seminar; watch an educational film; write an article, attend a meeting of your colleagues…)
  • advocate (do some sort of advocacy… write a letter to the editor, attend a PTA Meeting, write to a legislator, attend a council meeting…)
  • explore your neighborhood (WALK through your neighborhood, speak to your neighbors, shop at a local business…)
  • handwrite a letter (write a letter or note to a loved one… it can be a note in your child’s lunchbox… it can be a letter to a friend or family member… texts, and e-mail, and IM, and tagging and poking, and tweets and voicemail DO NOT COUNT!
  • be culturally aware (spend time and energy someplace where you are NOT of the majority culture… it can be as simple as a visit to a place of worship other than your own, a visit to a museum or cultural center… if you are a grown-up it can mean a day spent with a young child or a teen… if you are an omnivore, you might live a day as a vegetarian…)
  • apologize to someone that you’ve hurt or forgive yourself for hurting someone (or maybe do both.)
  • forgive someone else (tell them or not – it’s about what happens inside of you.)
  • get rid of some physical baggage (those clothes that you don’t wear, that cutlery set you got on your wedding 30 years ago and never used <true stories in my extended family>, those childhood toys or books – donate them to someone that will treasure them.)
  • get rid of some psychic baggage (that anger or resentment about something that happened once upon time; that anxiety whenever you meet with someone or come across some thing; that sadness you feel about a certain loss or disappointment… write it down on a piece of paper and bury it, set it on fire, or cast it into the sea (please use natural and biodegradable materials.)
  • take a nap (no explanations needed here!)
  • care for something “non-human” (put up a bird-feeder, volunteer or donate to a local animal shelter or cause, adopt an animal…)
  • speak to a stranger (learn the name of that person that you sometimes share your spare change with, ask the kid that sells candy at your office what is important to them, say something meaningful and kind to the waitress, waiter or cashier, shake a hand or maybe even give a hug.)
  • make something that you would ordinarily buy (whether its lunch to take to work, a scarf for the cold, or soup from scratch – participate in the stuff of your life dammit!)
  • be angry (yep, be outraged, be disgusted, be furious… there’s a saying that goes, “if you’re not angry, you must not be paying attention… then turn that anger into something positive.)
  • emote:  cry (life hurts… give yourself permission to weep… no one has to know but you.); laugh (out loud, shamelessly and with abandon);  swear (potty words can be cathartic); shout/cheer (so that the neighbors can hear… hopefully it’s not an angry shout, but that’s up to you.)
  • use something in a way in which it was not intended (children know how to do this, but we forget as we grow.)

 There are no other rules, no humanity police or karmic investigators…We want you to savor your humanity, share it with as many other humans as you can, and share it with us.



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