If Not Now, When?

By on January 2, 2010

New Year’s Day. A day like any other but we endow it with the power to make us begin again. As if the day itself could do it. Give us the strength to behave differently than we have ever behaved before. The old New Year’s resolution trick that we’re dead sure will work this time. The truth is every moment of every day can be a beginning. And we’ve got the power to make it so.

That’s what’s so hope-filled about longing for a child, that’s what’s so hope-filled about allowing ourselves to want something–anything–badly enough to actually change our behavior. And by doing so, to change the course of our lives. No need to wait for New Year’s Day to infuse us with strength to begin again.

And yet, New Year’s Day is a fine time to take stock: What is it that I want badly enough now, to change my behavior? What is most important to me? How do I raise the bar, become a little clearer about my priorities and how do I reflect that, in my behavior? How do I care a little less about what other people will think or do in response to my actions and stay true to what matters most to me?

I will continue to ask these questions in the next couple of weeks as I take a much needed break from email and work and meet my older daughter Ellena in Spain. She is on a gap year, has just completed a Living Routes Study Abroad Program called Peace, Justice and the Environment on Kibbutz Lotan in Israel., and is on her way to join an organic-farm-community in Southern Spain. I’ll be spending a week with her before she begins work on the farm.

I haven’t been out of the country in years, except for a couple of trips to Canada, am not much of a traveler, but the prospect of hanging out with Ellena made me book the flight–even overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of a long expired passport–without a heartbeat of hesitation.

So, I’m off! Hope to be back for our first Rebel with a Cause Phone circle on the 11th. That is definitely something I’m clear about: Raising the bar on the level of activism we engage in together. It matters to me. It’s important. It’s time. I’ve always loved this quote by Hillel, an ancient Jewish scholar and sage: If I’m not for myself, who will be for me? If I’m only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?

How about you? What new beginning do you embark on this New Year’s Day? How will you be “for yourself” a little more than you were yesterday? And what is it that’s ripe for action for you?

7 Responses to “If Not Now, When?”

  1. Susanne D. says:

    I too have had a lot of epiphanys after reading and rereading this. I am starting to realize that I am very misunderstood by society and people in general. I am starting to realize it is the brevity in my writing, and Julia as a fellow writer and teacher you have inspired me to try to be try to remember that life’s audience only need to hear one thing, “I can.”

    Susanne in Michigan

  2. Laura says:

    Dear Julia,

    Clearly the telecommunication angels were at work tonight. Initially unable to connect to the Rebels phone circle, I took the time to read your blog entry and then to read it aloud to my husband, Andrew. It resonated with both of us.

    I will continue to challenge myself with the question, “How do I care a little less about what other people will think or do in response to my actions and stay true to what matters most to me?” I will listen for the answers from my heart.

    Miraculously, after this discussion, I was able to connect to the phone circle.

    Thank you for all your efforts and for your clarity of thought and feeling,


  3. Sharmini says:

    Hi Julia,

    Thank you for your very thought proving post and hope you and Ellena had a fabulous time together.
    Thank you also to everyone above for sharing their thoughts on the subject.

    While thinking of New Year’s resolutions or things I would like to do differently, two in particular come to mind:
    1. I would like to travel lighter…by this I mean really thinking through each decision that I make over the course of the day and choosing the option that would simplify my life! Just writing that down feels liberating! I feel like over course of my life I have accumulates a lot of unnecessary & heavy baggage in my backpack. And I feel ready to get rid of the things that no longer serve a purpose.
    2. The second thought came to while reading Kristen’s wonderful post above I would like to is increase my commitment to this community and to myself.
    I let myself have quite a few sweet treats during the holiday and even had some wine. I find it interesting that most of the sweets I ate were what my mother made and brought for me for the holidays and things I grew up eating. I have not been having any sugar until this point and I really do not miss it and don’t feel like I am depriving myself. So I want to make a commitment to take it out of my diet again and do some inner work to go deeper into why those sweet treats were “so irresistible”.
    As for the FH community, I need to do a lot more work to getting the word out about the peer circle that I am planning to start in Westchester.

    Warm regards,

  4. Kristen says:

    Hi Julia,

    I hope you have enjoyed your time with Ellena in Spain-much deserved by both of you. Your entry touched a part of me as do most of your writings. I didnt wait for New Years Eve to be true to myself and start fresh as you said we can start this any day of the year, but it was a strong renewal of sorts. I had cut out caffeine and alcohol from diet for the most part for 2 years following an ectopic pregnancy, but i would occasionally have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. I did this with excuses but deep in my heart i felt guilty and like i was cheating-it was more of a personal issue for me. I think i felt if i would just stick to my “diet” and remain COMPLETELY alcohol and caffeine free for 3 months i would become pregnant. Summer was approaching and i felt anxious b/c we have a boat and unhealthy eating and alcohol tend to occur with our friends during boating season. I felt most of my “boat friends” thought i was crazy for dieting and abstaining and even for wanting a second child so badly. Something happened for me in my heart and i just decided that this was it for me, NOW or NEVER. So at the onset of Summer-June 1st- i gave up ALL alcohol and All caffeine and said i would start off telling myself i will do this until my birthday on September 27th and then i would re-assess. I cannot tell you how liberating this was. I just did it. That was it. It ended up not even being that difficult mentally, i just knew i could not cheat until 9/27. The most amazing thing was all my “boat friends” supported me and so did some of my other friends and i felt really good and proud of myself instead of sorry for myself. I gave myself some leeway with my diet (ate oatmeal choc chip cookies on Saturday as a treat and i had a few O’Douls here and there). I did my second IUI in mid July and i felt different about it. I had more self confidence and wasnt panicked it was the “end all be all” of having another baby. In fact, i was still thinking it wouldn’t work until September after my 3 months were up, but it worked! I know it was a combination of things-i continued to work hard with you and to practice my image work and other changes, but i honestly feel that mentally i had never been in a better place and that was because i listened to my heart. I felt in my heart i had to do these things to prove soemthing to myself and sometimes that can do more for your insides than anything else. So i would just say-if something like this has been hanging over your head (and i dont mean alcohol and caffeine, but something that has been nagging at you)…JUST DO IT! You will be rewarded personally if not with a baby or maybe you will get both…my second baby is due in April.

    Happy New Year,

  5. gal says:

    Hi Julia,

    Thanks for the blog entry and congratulations on taking time to take such a great trip to spend special time with your daughter.

    For me the new year is bringing a deeper commitment to the path of finding our second baby.

    December turned out for me to be a challenging although positive month. We finally pursued an IUI after focusing on the Ovum tools since May. It was a strange couple of weeks as I waited to see if I would get my period. My father got very ill and was admitted to the hospital during that time. It was a pretty serious situation and we thought we might lose him. It became complicated for me because he had sexually abused me for many years as a child. I always thought I wouldn’t have anything to say to him when this time came,but I guess that wasn’t true because I was full of emotion. The problem is I can’t figure out where the emotion is to go. Talking to my father is like talking to a cardboard cut-out of him. We never talk about anything real. When I have talked to him about the abuse he has denied it. I actually feel alot of compassion for him that he was molested by his father and brother and that it did such damage to his life. I would love to tell him that but to do it we would have to be real and talk about the other things that happened between us. I am not a child that wants revenge or payback just reality and some compassion, just i’m sorry, I was messed up. I’m sure I would have times of anger, but I also understand it some and it is over, I did survive it – I would be happy to just to finally have a father.

    My father has pulled through and is stable. When all of that was happening I was very concious of waiting for my cycle but strangely as I missed a day and another I didn’t take a pregnancy test. I guess I wanted hope instead of a negative test. I finally did prepare myself for taking the test and in the middle of the night the morning before the test I got my period. It was strange I was 6 days late because I have been so regular for quite some time now. Maybe the stress of it all and I had an upper respitory infection I didn’t realize at the time on top of it all?

    My healing from the abuse feels strangely similar to healing from the infertility – they both made me feel powerless and like I lost something terribly important. After I got my period there were days of despair and fears that the abuse will take this baby from me as well. Fear I will not be able to resolve this in time before my eggs truly are too old. I don’t know now that I need to “resolve” the abuse as much as learn to live with it. So my new year is continuing with all of the tools and changes I have made to my life last year but with an added committment to keep going towards our next baby. I feel even more strongly rooted that I long for this second baby because I am so joyful that I am here and alive and worthy to be a mother again.

    Take care everybody,

  6. Susanne D. says:

    Julia, as always you say the right thing. After reading this, you made me realize that all this time, I have been concentrating on the longing and I was not thinking about other priorities. My finances have completely gone out of control, my marriage is needing help, and I forgot about myself. Last year, I realized through your tools and my dreams that one of the things holding me back was the denial to myself of things. I really did not believe I deserved things. I realized that I needed to think about me more. I spent all of last year making changes, some I made, other were made for me. I started to love myself more and take care of myself and even my possessions more. Now I realize what is missing from the formula. I still have a messy financial problem, and my marriage needs a lot more work, I was so enthralled in the longing that I lost sign of other important things in my life! Nothing mattered but getting a baby! Now I realize maybe god is waiting for me to change my life more, make my finances work better, get my act together. Then only then, I will be ready not to just be a mom, but a responsible one. Thank you for helping me see that Julia.

  7. Eva says:

    I read this blog a few days ago and since then your statement, “What is it that I want badly enough now, to change my behavior?” has become a mantra for me while I hold fast to my New Year’s resolutions. These include health initiatives, creative endeavors, and travel. Also — so that I have the time and money to achieve these resolutions — I have resolved to buy less frivolous stuff (I’ll like to use a different word here, but in case your daughter is reading :-)

    Congratulations to Ellena! This is going to be such an expansive venture for both of you. Looking forward to being a recipient via your future work of all the growth that will come from it.

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