If I had to sum up this year in a word, my word for 2011 would be Surrender.
Actually, maybe two words. Surrender Into.
At the end of my rope? Dangling like a worm on a hook? Death grip holding on for dear life?
Not this year.
Relaxing into the pendulum’s swinging after I emotionally survived the free fall feeling from my tethered position 30 feet above the desert floor, knowing that I, alone, held onto the rope keeping me securely fastened to the pulley up top, but for me to get back on the ground, where I really wanted to be – rather than up in the air – I had to let go. And when letting go of that rope and falling freely, consider what emotional ties I wanted to let go of as well. Damn Miraval and their cleverly appropriate challenges! When can I go again?
The holiday season brings me additional opportunity for reflection with the compounding factors of approaching a calendar year milestone and a personal milestone (in other words, my birthday, yech). I can not only look back at a single year, I can reflect on an entire age.
For 2011, I wanted a better year than 2010. In 2011, I started to understand what it really means to gain wisdom. To me, wisdom is not rote knowledge, but knowledge gained through reflection following experience.I still don’t know much in terms of worldly shit, but I paid a lot more attention to myself and to my pain points and triggers; I learned. I still have a long way to go, but babes, you better believe I know a whole lot more than I did this time last year.
I started this year challenging some of my beliefs and perceptions; the short time I spent at Miraval helped me examine fears and actions motivated by fear. I gave myself permission to grieve and let go of ideas that would only continue to hold me back from being happy.
I had the courage to face letting go of Chloe, and for the first time, experienced the full scope of responsibility of another living creature. Her life circle had come to its end, and I had the hard decision to let her pass painlessly and in my arms.
They say that love finds you when you aren’t looking for it. This year, I found that cliche to be true. Quite unexpectedly, and most delightedly, I found love, or maybe it found me. Although that ended sooner than I wanted, rather than remain so sad and angry to have lost what I felt and experienced the months I was with Guy, I choose to be grateful I had any time with him at all. The gift was for me to be excited about a man again, for me to trust a man again, and to fall in love.
Because here’s the thing: it wasn’t about what I was getting – it was about what I gave, that I gave… and I gave willingly.
The greatest gift was the most bittersweet gift, and that was for me to make a stand for what I believe I’m worth and to speak up for what I want at the highest level of my dream for a fulfilled life. There is no place where Guy wanted to fit in that, and so a square peg was not going to be force fit into a round hole.
My Pere-pere died, following a courageous battle with brain cancer. I was able to say goodbye to him last fall. I went back to New England to honor his death and celebrate the gifts he brought all of us through his life.
Montana was the place of reconnecting with old friends while forming new friendships, too. There is so much power to the collective female spirit. When women come together with a similar intention and focus, the combined energy is healing, invigorating, and inspiring. Saying goodbye to one friend whose wisdom and energy was so soothing to me, she reminded me that when we hug, to lean to the left, that way our hearts can touch.
I articulated my dissertation topic and introduced my hypothesis to members of the higher education community. I took a chance and submitted a request to present a formal discussion of my hypothesis and provide the rationale to justify my research: my request was accepted and I began the exciting and intimidating process of refining my research to form a presentation at a national conference in March. The message to me is that people want to hear what I have to say. I need to move forward with the confidence in myself that others have already expressed they have in me.
This year had significant disappointments and losses. But, I was stronger and less fearful than I was last year. This year was particularly emotional. But, I was more able to accept the vulnerability and rawness of validating my own experiences and feelings. And so, I believe 2012 will be even better than 2011. I believe that 2012 will bring me challenges. I believe I will be sad and angry at points during the year. I believe the good times will be greater in quantity and quality than any time bringing angst.
I’m sending you warm wishes for your year and wishes for warm hearts. Happy New Year!