This is the last day of the year 2012. A year I am happy to usher to its end, because in my heart I truly believe as this year comes to a close, so, too will I be closing the cycle of loss I’ve been living for three years.
I exit this year feeling beaten and tired, and painfully aware of my own fragility. But I also end this year newly connected to my faith in the world, in this life, in the inherent meaning of every single day we live.
Turns out my luxury of days revealed… the ordinary. I felt no dramatic letdown, no cleaving of the heavens. I did not feel called to change my life from bottom up. I did not feel punished by my thoughts of what I wish I could have changed sooner. The end of my relationship seemed merely inevitable (which it was). My continued inability to lose any of the weight I’ve gained just a side effect of another hard year (which it is).
What I felt was totally earthbound thoughts such as these: My son is amazing. I am a perfectly good parent. Video games will not kill him. For me, aiming for being perfect at eating or not drinking is not really useful. I am lucky. I feel better when I do a little yoga. I feel better when my head is full of books and music and movies and thoughts other than my own. I love who I am. I loved discovering Pandora! I love my new Roku! I love my new beading project! I am fine. There is nothing to solve. Repeat: There is nothing to solve.
I work too hard at life. I’ve been told this before, by therapists, friends, psychics (whom I don’t generally seek out, but when I meet one, something in my emotional intensity leads them to take my hand and tell me to lay down my burden and carry the gift of being a healer out in front of me, and to let the beacon I carry shine for me as well. Woah).
And undertaking the task of changing how I approach life is more work still, isn’t it? The hardest work of all.
No wonder I’m exhausted. Or I was exhausted, when I started my luxury of days. Now I am well-rested, and I have the opportunity to review what made this year so hard, and I see that the story of 2012 was this: I was working SO HARD AT EVERYTHING. Trying to save my relationship, learning my very new-to-me job (in a breathtakingly unstable industry, with new rules, or no rules), getting my household and finances in order after supporting myself on savings for so long, and trying to fix my broken relationship to my body and my health. I’m not saying that the hard work was wrong-headed; it just was. And so my tank-on-empty feeling was justified, something I’d earned, not something I’d defaulted into because of my mistakes, my weakness, my ego, my ego, my ego!
So the beginning of this new year does feel like a blank slate for me. I am going to gently fold the pain and challenges of these past three years into a paper boat, and place it on a river and light it aflame, and let drift downriver away from me as its ashes float toward the heavens.
And instead of making resolutions (which I never do, because I can damn well do what I need to do without making a proclamation about it), I’m going to choose to do something else instead: devotion.
1. Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.
2. Religious worship or observance.
Because my life doesn’t need more work, more effort; but it does need more faith and love and peace. That suddenly seemed so obvious to me, up here on my mountaintop retreat with my son, surrounded by cold, blustery winter and warmed by our nightly fires and our easy company together. And I keep waiting for work to be less demanding, for parenting to be less tiring, for self-care to seem less burdensome. And then expecting I’ll be able to turn that spare hour for myself at the end of the day into some kind of meaningful laboratory for self-improvement and self-acceptance.
I have it backwards! I need to flip my days, and start them with devotion, my prayer to myself and to the universe, and let the day flow from there. Then at days’ end, the accumulated failings or successes of the day will be more lightly tallied, and I can go to bed knowing I will greet myself with love first thing in the morning.
And so I greet the new year with love, and with hope, and with faith. And above all with devotion, daily. That moment in the morning to bow my head and open my heart and say I am ready to accept all that comes my way. And that I believe that in the final balance, it will be good. It is good. I am good.
Happy New Year, to all of you. And thank you for being the witnesses and the chorus and the cheerleaders. And for being my friends.