The new year is here and I have been struggling to find what I would write about right now. It was much easier to write when I knew less.
I used to think I had lots to say. My exterior goal in writing was always to try and share ideas to help someone else feel better about their own situation. My interior goal was to stay sane. Writing helps me sort things out – take the inside thoughts and put them on the outside so I can gain some perspective. Without some form of externalizing, we can all go a little loopy.
I didn’t want to just write about new year resolutions. We all seem to be finding a trend where we reject resolutions because really – they are just disappointments waiting to happen We think that resolutions are grand gestures meant to “fix” the larger problems of our lives. Our addictions, our nasty habits that create illness or un-wellness in us in some form. We all have bad habits, unconscious self destructive beliefs. New Years is a perfect time to invite ourselves to become aware of these habits without berating ourselves. We have to learn to love ALL of our 2000 parts, as they say.
Mechanisms created over time to help us avoid uncomfortable feelings or what we may perceive as unresolvable situations. As children we found many things out of our control,. so we develop ways of behaving and believing that may have served to protect and keep us safe then, But now are unconscious hindrances to what we believe and how we behave towards ourselves and others. We turn to anything that distracts: food, sex, booze, drugs, relationships, books, movies – whatever it is we feel that can return us to a state of ‘contentedness” and peacefulness By using any technique to avoid anger, resentment, sadness – we resolve to avoid our avoidance.
Year after year I hear this – from my self and others: I will quit smoking, loose weight, spend more quiet time, meditate, exercise more. Really, what we are saying without saying it is – “I will be kinder to myself by __________” you fill in the blank. I will honour myself more in my thoughts, actions, words and deeds. We want to rid ourselves of the things that cling to us – what brings us down. That’s the big picture we are trying to paint for ourselves. But how quickly those fickle thoughts disappear back into the mire of daily grind and unresolved emotions.
I think what I have really understood his year is that you can’t get rid of things that are clinging to you by hating them – you have to love them. The things that seem to be beginning you down,. are your best friends. They are your greatest teacher and until you recognize what they are showing you about yourself, I guarantee you that they they will hang around. In fact, my conclusion is that our ONLY job in this life is to wade through he circumstances that are presented to us, and find ourselves still in a state of awe at who we are.
I know”state of awe” can seem like a big leap from barely tolerating yourself, which is what most people do. We put up with ourselves. We ignore out authentic feelings which are there exclusively to give us pointers – like a compass- giving us a direction as to what we need. Needs are non-negotiable. Wants are very negotiable. But, understanding what and why you want and need – is your job. No one can do that for you. Then, discovering how to honour your needs – is your job too. Not your parents, your husband or your friends or siblings. Not your boss or your work mates. This year, we will resolve to be MORE REAL and less NICE. Asking for what you need can go very contrary to what you think you deserve. Finding out why you think you deserve so little – is very important. Without this, you will make yourself and everyone around you miserable. This is the year of being personally accountable.
I know you’ve probably heard it, but know this to be true – none of us can find interior happiness based on an exterior circumstance. No one, nothing, no event can bring it to you. And by the way – happiness isn’t your goal You may think it is, but happiness is an emotion dependent on a moment, or a circumstance. We all want something more permanent like feeling OK in every circumstance. We want serenity – peace, balance. strength, absolute sureness. I’m pretty sure some people would call that faith. i don’t have a word for it yet.
What that means is that, the quiet current of discomfort you constantly feel in your belly, cannot be alleviated with a pill, a person, a new job, a new situation, a new relationship. You will carry that feeling of discontent (judgement, anger, resentment, …etc…) with you until you LOVE it as part of yourself.
Lots of people resolve NOT to resolve now at new years. We don’t want that pressure. We don’t want to discuss what is lacking and where the spaces can be filled. We want to just forge forward, keep going, or DIG Deep – like Brene Brown says in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”. We fill our lives with material stuff – go to work, pay the bills, jockey the kids on weekends, back to the ol’ grind stone Monday. Please. That isn’t a life.
While travelling I have seen the way other people live, and although we think we have sense of this with our online connection now through the internet, to really experience a people you have to be in the place where they live.
In South America for example I observed that every day men and women go to work, kids go to school – but no one is stressed or exhausted. The day is not spent in work and school isn’t everything that a kid does. Communities work and play together every day. Here, people still go to church, and are involved in their outside communities and each person feels they have a vital role to play in the world. In west Africa children would go to school int he mornings and afternoons were spent helping mothers carry wood and water for the fire the village would make for dinner. Everyone would cook around the same fire. Can you imagine how different our lives here would be if we were forced to cooperate for our daily survival needs? There is authentic beauty in what we in North America would call poverty. They have a greater wealth than any of us will have the fortune of experiencing here.
Here in north america we have been terribly lost and disconnected, but there is a trend towards greater connection and authenticity that is unmistakable. In many cases, we are so isolated in our thoughts and expectations of our lives that we don’t have any feeling of accountability nor belonging to our outside community. So, it becomes less and less important to discover the personal talents you have that can contribute to the greater whole, giving your life meaning and purpose.
It wont feel “meaningful and purposeful if all you find is YOU. Just lonely. Once you discover your “spiritual nature” – there are a zillion terms for this but we can call it enlightenment =- you will discover that you had nothing to discover, nothing to learn, Nothing more to do than be yourself. Nothing more to be than everything that you are. Newsflash: You’re perfect. There is nothing to “change” – only much to come to understand. namely – that your “imperfect self” is absolutely perfect – exactly the way it is.
You might be thinking I have read too many self help books at this point and have lost it. Most of you can;t read “you’re perfect” and accept it. we all suffer from some form of fear based on shame and not-enough-ness. But because we believe it – doesn’t mean its true. the TRUTH is that the greatest service you can render yourself, your life, the peopel in your world and the world around you – is to discover that even your imperfections are perfect! Everything contributing to the whole of who you are – a unique awesome entity that has never been and will never be the same again. This is it.
I guess every time i write I am thinking about what i want to leave my children. That’s always in my head somewhere. I want them to be proud of me, and to follow my “footsteps” in living a life full of excitement and adventure and self learning. I want them to see themselves like I see them: Perfect. Even when i don’t agree with the, or when the choices they make cause them to feel like they are going backwards, i want them to know there is NO backwards, and there is NO imperfect. there is just YOU.
We can’t give our kids what we don’t have for ourselves so I guess the old song was right…let it begin with me.