As the year comes to an end, I’m riddled with questions. Big picture questions about the plight of our world, and a few smaller questions about my own ever-changing life.
I carry a basket full of wishes, hopes and promises as I march into 2018. Wishes for humanity, hopes for my lovely, grown-up children, and some promises I will whisper aloud to myself, for myself. The promises keep me honest.
My wishes for humanity are both fairly simple and ridiculously complex. They involve evolution and revolution. Can we collectively change our minds in order to change our ruinous course? Can we decide, as people, to choose love, respect, and compassion over profit and consumption? Conservation and replenishment over depletion? Spiritual over material? Can we keep our lustful thoughts from waywardly roving, from deserting our mouths and moving into irreversible action? Can we remember our own accountability, while holding others accountable, in order to work toward transparency (and absolute truth) in our government? Can we also recognize and eradicate our own hypocrisy?
The ‘Me Too Movement’ is proving to be a watershed moment in history – the history of ALL people, not just women. A turning point is always uncomfortable, and when it happens, it feels like a pig pile. Why? Because this part of the story, this beginning, is very much about herding and corralling a big pile of pigs. It’s about finally exposing them and their covert, foul obstruction to our progressive quest for equality. The raging rush of calling out predators is a good thing, not to be dismissed as mere “headlines of the moment.” We can’t grow tired or doubtful as information and revelations expand. We must continue to believe women, and other silence breakers because the people who finally speak up are always the heroes who change our history.
I did a lot of barking this past year. Like a dog howling at the wind, I added my two-cents at every turn. I felt empowered and active and righteous. I felt like sharing my voice, so I threw caution to the curb, and let ‘er rip. I had heated debates with plenty of people who harbor opposing viewpoints, including my own family. And guess what? I changed my mind a couple times based on the perspectives of others. Go figure. Debate is never a bad thing, and we all need to throw our voices into the fray. I am grateful to those who respectfully offered their thoughts because they served (in some cases) to help me think a different way. Thinking differently is usually the catalyst for change and growth.
I never meant for my writing to get political, but that’s exactly what happened. In reflection, and in the spirit of “ever-changing” I would like to move back to the place where what I share is more about personal journeys and the joyous, truth-seeking parts of our common human experiences, (instead of muddy, shady, Trump-hating politics). Make no mistake, I plan to clutch my truth torch until justice is served, but I want to move away from my public disdain of our current “leadership” because unless I’m (really) taking action in the trenches, my commentary serves no purpose other than the instant gratification of feeding my own ego (upon release of biting words). Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s time for me to move past it and watch the dominoes topple as they may. My fingers remain crossed as I wait for a reckoning, but I’m tapping the brakes on my quips and opinions. (Let’s see if that statement stands the test of time – feel free to hedge bets).
My hope for my grown, semi-flown children is to meet themselves where they are right now. I hope they continue to pursue happiness like it’s their job, because it is their job. I hope they trek a bit further into the wilderness of their beautiful potential in ways I never did, in ways I did late, and in ways I’m still discovering. Yes, I want to live (a little) vicariously through them – if only to sit back and bask in the happiness that their happiness (and maturation) bring. I want them to take risks, own their health, lead autonomous lives, and find fulfillment in unexpected places. Their leap of faith requires my leap of faith too, and I continue to learn that pulling myself out of their decisions and simply lending support and advice when they ask for it is far more rewarding than challenging.
A silly thing happened this year – I discovered yoga with baby goats, and I’m going back for more in the spring! It was ridiculous, but the renewal it provided was priceless. I will continue to seek “weird, but fun” experiences, because life is short, and that’s how I roll. Companions welcome – hit me up!
I wrote a prayer for humanity and it serves me well to read it aloud sometimes. It reminds me that meditative prayer, in any form, is something I can do “just because” I need it. It’s my way of taking a reflective moment to soothe my battered human spirit, and while it’s deliciously self-serving, it also helps me remember to put others first. Listening to Legend, The Best of Bob Marley, works well too.
With a heavy heart, I resigned from my Lady in the School Office job this year. I will surely miss the innocence of the children, and watching them grow up before my very eyes. I will miss protecting them, counseling them, and caring for them each and every day. I will miss the community of parents and teachers who all fight the good fight together, who dedicate their lives to “doing right” by children through advocating, educating, and setting wonderful examples. But, I am excited to say that I will be working for and with an old friend! Leaving comfortable territory and venturing into something new is daunting, but I’m ready. Plus, my new boss happens to have a beautiful, shiny, vintage Air-stream parked out back, next to a lazy river, and I may casually request a few workday “camper breaks” to help me with the transition.
Will my wishes and prayers ever be answered? Will the hopes I hold in my heart for my children come to fruition? Will I find the inspiration to continue running and writing my little heart out without expectation? Will I love my new job?
Asking questions big and small, and sending positive vibes out into the world by way of prayers and wishes, are the gateways to living an authentic, rewarding life. Seeking answers helps us excavate the truth. And as the truth rises, we rise along with it.
And we change.
My promise for 2018 is to become a more conscious conductor of light. I will seek relief amid the chaos, amid the darkness that envelopes me, amid the poison that seemingly covers our world. I will shine my light and find relief by practicing kindness where my palpable fear, my overt anger, and my anguished contempt once stood.
Quite simply, I will move on. I will find more time for my daily dose of Vitamin N. I will run the roads, and hike barefoot over wet rocks in cutoff shorts. I will carry my shoes so I can feel the Earth (move) under my feet. I will swim in the sea, and ride my blessed bicycle for as long and as far as my legs will allow. I will let the wind whip my hair and hit my face, and I will bask in the beauty and good fortune of simply being alive.
I will remember to live and breathe the present, for that is all I have.