In 2009 I want to…

This post is a bit late in coming as it’s already the third week in January. But, I wanted the holiday-season cobwebs to clear a bit before I clarify my 2009 goals. They are ambitious, certainly, and I present them below.

1. Attend a Beginner’s Mind retreat and one sesshin.

I’m looking forward to attending a Beginner’s Mind Retreat. It’s the shortest retreat that Great Vow offers and it follows a rather relaxed schedule (by Zen standards anyway). It’s the sesshin that I’m terrified of. Sesshins are either 7 or 10 days and follow a very rigorous schedule including many hours of sitting. You rise at 4 a.m. and do two hours of zazen just before breakfast! I know whichever sesshin I choose will be challenging and have moments of discomfort (well, probably many). But it’s a necessary and integral part of my practice. In that regard, I look forward to it. I also hope to take the 5 Precepts this year.

2. Learn the basis of three other programming languages.

The purpose of this goal is to continue to broaden my skills as a programmer. In 2008 I learned the basics of C++. In 2009 I want to step this up. I’m planning to learn the basics of Processing, Python and Ruby.

3. Participate in more community events and start speaking at them.

This community definitely includes the Portland tech community, but I would also like to look at building my connection to the LGBT community, and find additional ways to support fellow women in technology.

4. Read 50 books.

This is roughly one book per week on top of my standard blog and magazine reading.

5. Be debt free.

This is a big one. I’ve worked up a substantial debt (for me anyway) during the processes of moving to Portland and getting settled. With diligence, however, I think I can do it.

6. Explore/Join an NVC practice group.

Before I left San Francisco, I completed an introductory course in Non-violent Communication. It’s actually what originally started me on a path to practicing Zen. Now that I’m more or less settled here in Portland, I’d like to find a way to continue building my NVC skills.

7. Develop my artistic skills.

I’m not sure which form this will take. It could be as simple as continuing to write consistently in this blog. It could be voice or instrument lessons (I’ve been itching to play the trumpet again, strangely). It could be taking a painting or ceramics class. I’m not sure quite yet. I do know that it’s a side of my brain that I’d like to develop and is an integral part of Zen training as well.

8. Launch at least two of the side-project ideas that I have.

I have a list of at least a half dozen size projects, none of which I’ve brought to fruition. In 2009 I want to make time for some of these and complete at least two.