Honestly, putting myself in the shoes of a new Fellow is not difficult because I still very much feel like a "new" Fellow! For me, "dreaming big" was easy. However, once being selected as a Fellow and being able to virtually meet other Fellows, two things became clear to me:
1) I was not alone when I found that planning out the budget could be a source of stress at times. For many of us, this was our first opportunity to access the necessary funding that would allow us to accomplish some of our "dream big" goals in the immediate future. As a result, there were moments where I felt stress at the thought of spending any funds at all for fear that I would learn something down the road about how I could have better allocated the funding provided to better maximize this opportunity.
2) I was not alone: One of the central needs and desires many Fellow had/have is for wellness, balance and health.
I feel that the first part of my Fellowship journey really has included addressing these two things. While I still feel some anxiety over big purchases, I am working through that even if it means taking longer to make sure I'm maximizing this moment. For new Fellows, it might be worth taking a moment to reflect on personal wellness and any anxiety around funding and make a plan for how to sort through those feelings and turn them into opportunities.
Additionally, my journey of integrating personal wellness and health into my life continues not just for the terms of this Fellowship but for a lifetime. This Fellowship opportunity has allowed me the opportunity to slow down and try new things that I always said I would "like to do or try someday" with the gift that I may be able to incorporate into my life now. It has also been nice to try some of these activities with my daughter in hopes that she can find ways to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into her life at a much earlier age.
on a related note, I have always found that being near water is something that relaxes me as is finding some way to practice traditional arts like beadwork. However, I always feel like I have half the knowledge but not ever enough to make an entire item myself. I can do beadwork and have a basic understanding of moccasin construction for example, but none of the teaching that go with making sure the moccasins fit well. I have badly wanted to sit with others who practice traditional arts and just spend time with them making items together. I was recently able to spend time with Greg Johnson, NAGPRA Representative at Flambeau and had a wonderful visit. Greg had seen small puzzle bags / pouches during his visits to museums and took the time to figure out their construction. These bags as so intricate and special and can be used to carry medicines or other special items securely. We worked together for three days creating a bag and he shared with me his templates. I was nice to learn a piece from start to finish all while on the shores of Lake Superior. I've now started several bags on my own with hopes they will be done in time for gifting them during big drum this Fall. I look forward to visits with other folks (hopefully by the water)!