This has been a hard decade for me – and it has brought me to the difficult but necessary conclusion that, well, life is hard! And at the same time, there are joys and wonder in the everyday despite the difficulties and trials that are a part of the journey.
It is hard to let go of not only old dreams, but old familiar fears. In this new year, and new decade, and new chapter of my life – I want to focus on the things that I DO have, instead of dedicating most of my time and energy to the things that I do not. I have my health, my wonderful family and friends, my job and my home, my pet, and MY life – in ALL of its complexities. In this new year, my resolution is to truly, finally kick the habit of smoking, to exercise at least three times a week, and to drink more water. I want to continue to hone my practice of sitting with my feelings and learn not to judge them, as I have so often and so harshly, done in the past. I want to continue to practice just being still.
It is snowing out, and my mom, who spent the last two evenings with me, is in the shower. I will soon be getting ready to get together with some old and cherished high-school friends. I have my beloved Don Gato nearby calling for some playtime. And I just am, in the moment, this moment, enjoying its simplicity. This moment of time.
Earlier, I spoke with a friend and conveyed some thoughts that had been weighing heavily and anxiously on my mind. She listened and was receptive and supportive. That was a moment I enjoyed and loved, to be loved and listened to and heard by a good friend. Another friend called me from India, and I enjoyed that moment of connection – that no matter how far away, I have someone that loves me and I love her – time and space does not take that away.
I am saying goodbye to the thoughts and insecurities and habits that have accompanied me for so long. They have served me well in those years of survival, but now as I enter my decade of “thrival” they can only hamper my growth. Again, it is hard to say goodbye as they have become so familiar, so automatic. But they are no longer representative of my authentic self. It will take much hard work, continual practice, to learn to live in this world in a different way. I went to see a film last night with my mom (The King’s Speech, it was excellent!) and a line in it really resonated for me – “you no longer have to fear the things that you feared when you were five years old.” For me, that fear is of being alone and lonely. Of not having my own family, of not being able to handle the hardships that inevitably are a part of life. Of being sad, anxious and depressed, of being stuck in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship, of not being understood and kept in the dark. Of loosing my mind and my self. Of loosing my sense of safety and sanity. Of being out of my comfort zone. Of having to keep up appearances. Of trying and trying so hard to be someone other than who I am – of hiding from life, my life and wishing I had the life of someone else, anyone else, other than my own. Of doubting my own capacity and capabilities, of my ability to make the most of the wonderful things that I have been blessed with and lucky to have – even for brief moments.
So now, what are the thoughts and habits that I want to welcome as my companions in this new part of my journey? Peace and calm, anticipation and at the same time, resolution that I am exactly where I am “supposed” to be. Comfort in my own skin and body, in my mind and in my core. Warmth that the love that I have and have received is always with me, even in the darkest of nights, no matter how terrifying. The deep reassuring knowledge that when one is down, the only way to go is up. And that when one is up, the knowledge that when there is an impending down, it is not to be feared, as the up will come again. Like the ocean and tides. I do not need to fight the waves and will not drown – I can relax and float.
The image that has been coming to me lately, repeatedly, is of me having been washed up on the shore. Because that is how I feel, like I have finally arrived after a long and tortuous journey. I survived the sinking of a ship, I was tossed about and dragged under by a tormenting ocean. I washed up on the shore, bedraggled with saltwater in my lungs, but now I am on this beautiful beach and even though I feel tired, I have begun to get up, gather the things that have made the journey to the shore with me, and am beginning to walk into a beautiful, dense and green forest. I am leaving the ocean behind, as much as I have loved it and it has given me life, I am heading towards something new and thick and fertile.