it’s a new year

It turns out that my word for 2013 didn’t go all the way.  Notice was a good word, and I do feel as though I am more practiced in the art of slowing to notice, but it didn’t have staying power.

Life through a number of curve balls, hard thwacks and deep up endings I’d entitle “Loss”, “Grief”, or “Crap”.

Maybe a good word for 2013 would have been Grieve or, better yet, Courage.  Courage for journeying into the dark places of pain.  Or maybe the word should have been Compassion.  This post about the necessity of emotion says that “compassion is the ability to hold pain and love in your heart simultaneously”.  I know what this means now, about a hundredfold more than I knew last year.  For sure it has been a year of strenuous inner work.  Grappling, gritty, dirty, determined.

I have learned that darkness and pain that doesn’t often show on the surface.  I have learned to look more carefully at others and assume that there is a lot going on that I don’t know about.

I have learned that when something elicits a very strong response, these large feelings can feel like terrifying monsters let out of a dungeon seeking to devour.  Instead of shoving them back in, I have learned to let them stay out.  Monsters shrink in the light.

I have learned that, at my core, I am not a beloved little girl, I am a worthwhile woman who was loved when she was a little girl.

It’s been quite a year.  I am grateful that the psyche gives times of rest in between times of work.  I am grateful that I have been able to meet what has come my way with courage and honesty.  And I am grateful that I have a counselor to help me out when things pile on too fast and thick.  I am grateful for clean grief.  I am also grateful for messy grief.  I am grateful for hope.  I am grateful for how I have changed.

I don’t really have a word for this year (gun shy after last year?).  I did come up with two true blue resolutions, though.

#1 Early to bed, early to rise, makes one … have enough time to practice yoga in the morning.  This whole going to bed thing has been my Achilles’ heel this last year.  I’m cutting out all stimulants in the evening; namely sewing, watching movies, reading new books (I have to find out what happens next), or writing.  Which basically means there’s nothing to do but go to bed. I’m also getting ready for bed as soon as I finish putting the kids to bed.  Pajamas go a long way towards sleepiness.  Wish me luck on this one.  I resolve to go to bed early and wake up early.  And practice yoga.

#2 I resolve to read all the books that Lia reads.  So far I’ve read Matilda.  And a few books I checked out at the library for her, but she hasn’t read them yet.  (Does that count?)

I may not have a word for the year, but I do have an idea of where I’d like to go.  This post by Justine Musk elicited a deep yes from me.

To know joy is to know the loss of joy; to know the deep carved-out pain of loss. You can’t have one without the other.

Joy, then, is a straight-up act of courage.

She had a capacity for deep joy means, to me, she could feel her feelings and not get run over by them. She could open herself to the world without being destroyed by it. She knew that when life sent her underground, she would find what she needed to rise, and her capacity for joy would get that much deeper and able to hold that much more. She was committed to a life of courage. In order to feel fully alive, she was prepared to allow herself to feel.

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