November 2016

November 2016

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Did you know that every Bush Fellow is expected to burn so brightly and with such an intensity that many communities employ their fellows to actually supplement their local energy grid? Perhaps it is due to this commitment to alternative energy, that the Foundation encourages the fellows to take care of themselves. Or perhaps, the hope is that these fellows are actually functional, approachable and energized after their world traveling, mass transit riding, fellowship period concludes. For the next several paragraphs, and prompted by the Foundation's fellowship report suggestion and prodding, I'll try to break into the secretive realms of fellowship 'self-care' and 'not destroying every relationship in a unforgivable way', otherwise known as, 'you should probably take some care yourself and reflect a bit'.

Now, lightheartedness aside, we are encouraged to actually take care of ourselves and are able to budget for such time and costs with our fellowship plans. Some of us have found time to reflect, others have traveled, yet each of us finds means to support what's best for our own outcomes. No fellowship plan is the same, even if they do mirror at times as we see one another at a destination conference. We all have our aims, expectations, and measures of success as we do our best going forward to accomplish our goals.

That's probably one of the secrets of the success of fellows, that they manage to take care of their long term well-being and do so with a variety of approaches and means that best suit them. One of the positives of the Foundation is that as fellows, we are given the means and the support structures to do what we think is best, from our objectives to our educational needs, to our travels and yes, to our own self-care. Having the foundation being open to the sometime oddity and even absurdity of our travels and experiences is refreshing. It's just nice to know we can do whatever it is we need to do.

For myself, I found several means to take care of myself, and yes, that includes my family. On account that I was spending a considerable amount of time away, attending graduate classes and meetings with mentors across the country, conferences, visits, and retreats, we felt the need to carve some time for being together. We traveled to two national parks, the Apostle Islands and Glacier National Park, and found time to fish, canoe, and otherwise explore and see the sights as a family. Making time for my family during what can be described as a chaotic time was something that needed to be done for my own success as a fellow and my family's wellbeing.

I also found time for my love of the bicycle, engaging and helping to establish our community cycling club with a few locals, which is just starting to really find itself and identity. I also took part in helping the club host our first cyclocross event in town, which gained recognition from some riders as the first 'real' CX event in the state. All this while earning the moniker 'Mr Atmosphere', as I took to providing the sound and fun of the event. Utilizing the bicycle as part of my fellowship path, and seeing how it could be a very real tool for community development and unity, was perhaps somewhat unexpected, but something I always kind of appreciated in its potential. Making time to see that idea through has been rewarding to me personally, and yes, I consider that time spent on and off the bike to be a great form of self-care.

Now, self-care itself can be incredibly diverse, and yes, if you're a fellow someday, you'll have your own ideas, needs, desires, and that's great. You'll have the support of your cohort of fellows, your coach and mentors, and the Foundation itself. You'll have the direction and yes, time, to take care of yourself in healthy and productive means. That, and you can probably pay for the electricity to make your own coffee to drink with a friend. Good company can never be overlooked when it comes to self-care over muffins and dark roast.