“…but to those to whom we can cling to; those are the brilliant gems of life which provide the nourishment we need so often to reach our destinations.” ~ Holly Wheeler
But it’s up to us to what “those” represents for us, individually. I think one of the reasons I find myself so unhappy right now is anger. And most of the anger is directed at myself. Because, the real, cold, hard, truth for me is I haven’t lived mindfully or intentionally this year. I became a slave to my scholarship, and couldn’t say “no” to other requests for my time and attention, and I allowed myself to become completely consumed with “life(?)” that I didn’t really live much. Oh, yes, there were moments when I remembered what it felt like to be really alive. And, although I won’t say I spent 2010 on autopilot, I did not pay attention to details that, had I noticed, because I was more focused and because I was authentically present, I wouldn’t be where I am now, trying to accept the new terms of my self-identity under circumstances that have been given to me… because I wasn’t paying enough attention to what I needed to notice what I needed to do. Make any sense?
One year (and a day later) after I created this blog, honest assessment of the reflection in my mirror is I didn’t do what I set out to do. By and large, 2010 was spent in distractions — the exact opposite of the mindful living I intended.
I make my bed every morning, and I sleep in that same bed I make every night. More lunches and dinners than not were spent crouched over my keyboard and the bright lights of a computer screen. Food I ate without even tasting because I didn’t take time to notice the experience of eating, and feeling the pleasure the experience food can give. Too many gadgets, too many demands, too many schedules and calendars crammed with too many, too much, much too much stress. Too little time spent with people I love, laughing, too much quantity, too little quality.
I hijacked my own life. And I can so easily recognize when another person is venturing into the same rapids, and I’ll even jump in to help them get out, but I let myself flail and flounder in the bone crushing currents of my self-created rock-filled waters. I have definitely not been forgiving enough to myself as I should, and I created extraordinary demands and expectations for myself that I would not dare impose upon another person — as if I created standards to set myself up to fail.
I titled my blog specifically for seeking and following my own true north, and I’ve been so busy staring at my computer and blackberry that I didn’t bother to look at the sky to find my north star to guide my path for this journey.
And, I don’t believe I’m the only person who does this to herself. It’s as if the opportunities I’ve been given and the mantras I’ve been told about being able to do and be anything I interpreted as I must do and be everything.
I think of the autumn day in 2009 I spent hiking along the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I was alone, and I reveled in the solitude. I was present, and with my iPod turned off, intentional and active in my movements. I saw birds, heard bugs, and crept up to critters I would not have noticed had I brought along my distractions. And this was one of the most beautiful days I experienced before or since. In fact, the entire week I spent backpacking solo through Yellowstone was one of the greatest gifts I gave myself, because I gave myself the gift of… me. I was flying solo and I loved every second of it – and I paid so much frigging attention to everything around me, and I was such a rich woman for every breath I took by myself.
And as I get ready to reach another birth and calendar year, I have the opportunity to practice mindfulness again. I have the opportunity to forgive myself for failing to protect and serve myself. And I give myself permission to cling to the brilliant gems of my life that serve as my nourishment… and my true north. Granted, the steps must be small – and patience is not my virtue – I will find a way to be satisfied and patient, and trust the process.