The Art of Simple posted about inviting our children to live with intention by asking a few questions about the past year. This is a great tool and one that I felt I needed to do for myself. So much happened this year that I needed a simple Q&A to sort it all out. I invite you to give this a try, the questions are at the bottom. It was a nice way to process the past year and really focus on what is next.
In the story of my life, this past year’s chapter may have been the one that was most likely to add shock value to the story, offer the most inspiration and heartache, and evolve the protagonist the most, next to having children. If I were the reader, I would have been satisfied by how the events unfolded and I would be eager to read what would happen next, feeling fairly certain those events were a catalyst to something big to happen later. Then again, I always do like a happy ending.
The holidays were the happiest part of this year. I started off the holiday season with a bit of sadness and dread. As I began decorating my new house, I felt lost and disconnected. I had a place for the items in my old house! It sounds so ridiculous but I still felt a deep longing for what I lost. I wondered, when is this feeling going to at least subside if not go away? But then we got all of our decorations out and we left for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful weekend and when we got back, we put up our tree. There is something about putting up a Christmas tree that makes a house a home. I planned a Christmas/housewarming party. It seemed like a big undertaking but it also felt necessary and in hindsight, it was. We spent the evening with friends and family and really connected to each other and our new space. It is amazing how a structure to live is meaningful in so many ways. I realize these are first world problems but they are no less real. Christmas was magical and filled with love and I want to remember that love and magic in each day.
It wasn’t the rain or the water, the saturation of the ground or watching my house flood that was the saddest part of 2014. It wasn’t even the day after, sobbing over my things floating around my house as if their existence were meaningless. It was months later when everything settled and I realized the gravity of what we had lost. We had lost our home, much of our personal items and control over our environment. And even as we regained most of the things that mattered, the saddest part was the feeling of emptiness that was left inside; the lack of control, the unfairness, and the why? Initially, once the shock wore off in the first hours arriving at our flooded home, losing the power over my domain felt very humbling. Floating on a paddleboard on my street, I felt the need to kneel in reverence for what is bigger than I. And I felt that bigness inside. I AM! It was powerful and that magical moment is what helped me grow through a painful experience and continues to get me through difficult times. Yet the experience is no less painful and feeling that pain to its height saved me.
Making the decision to let my beloved dog transition to her next life was the hardest thing I did this year and in my life. I have loved my Elli since the moment I met her and over the next 14 years she was the best friend I could have asked for. As she came to the end of her life, we watched her slowly deteriorate and when she would not eat anymore and was shaking from pain, we knew that it would be selfish and cruel to allow her to continue on. I will never forget that day; it was painful in a way words cannot describe. But the peace that came after when my suffering subsided was enough to let me know the decision was right.
The things I consider accomplishments from the year are not certificates or degrees but more that I learned who is truly important in my life, what really matters and where I want to put my time.
Our evolution sometimes is drastic and other times subtle. I believe I experienced a subtle shift before the flood that allowed me to get through most of the aftermath. It was a quality of surrendering to what is beyond me, which as it turns out is just about everything but also recognizing that bigness, that Oneness, is also inside of me. I learned this year the depth of Alexander Pope’s words, “to err is human, to forgive divine.” Those who showed up for me are those who I will cherish forever, those who did not or rather, who made life more difficult during the most difficult time in my life, I forgive. And I truly forgive them, for though they made errors, they are divine too. I do believe that. We all have difficulties and confusions; we make mistakes. We lie to ourselves at times to get through hard times. Learning to forgive, love heartily and be honest were the best lessons of this past year. I have not mastered these lessons but that is the practice. I thank those who showed up for me and I likewise thank myself for showing up and facing the truth.
Yet, in the glory and heartache of the past year, I realize that I have held onto my most recent chapter very tightly, it comes up often in my life by relating new occurrences to the old. Chapters build on one another and stories are most meaningful when powerful events happen. But in good books, a story does not always relate back to an earlier event; that would be a boring story if each event always brought up the old one to relate. I am ready to move on from the last chapter and build on my story using what I have learned, to grow the protagonist and make chapter 14’s event the catalyst to something magical.
Have a beautiful end to this year and start of the new! Enjoy the exhilaration of starting a new chapter.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” ~Stephen King
What was the happiest part of 2014?
What was the saddest part of this past year?
What was one really hard thing you did?
What are you the most proud of accomplishing in 2014?
How do you think you have changed in the past year?
What have you been hanging on to that you are ready to get rid of?
Are you sad to see 2014 go? Or are you ready for the new year to be here? I think my answer to this question goes without saying 🙂