So many things have bubbled up in the past few days, so many whispers and questions and fragments and fleeting thoughts, that the only title I could think of for this post was “collage,” a collection of things I am going to piece together, a composition of bits and pieces, hoping they amount to something whole.
I took some time to answer the questions from Patti Digh’s post on 37 Days, “What do you want to let go of? What do you want to create?” Here’s my lists:
What do I want/need to let go of as I end this year?
- Numbing out
- Compulsive eating
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Waiting for permission
- Staying stuck
- Waiting to begin until the circumstances are perfect or the great idea hits
- Being bullied and abused, by anyone, including me
- Being in love with my problems, my brokenness
- Being a victim
- Negativity and criticism
- Discursive mind
- People who don’t support, comfort, or “feed” me
- Have to
- Pleasing, performing, and perfecting
- Stress and exhaustion
- Pushing, forcing
- Denying needs, delaying pleasure
What do I need to create in the new year?
- A blog that’s a safe and supportive space, for me and my kind and gentle readers
- An audience
- Friendships that fuel my work, my path
- Quiet and rest
- Aspiration and intention
- Trust and faith
- Physical strength and ease
- A healthy relationship with food
- A balance of work and rest
- Space and an open heart
Later, as I was reworking some of my “about” pages, for me and the blog, I was thinking about my evolving understanding of who I am, and what I have to offer.
I might not end up changing the whole world, but I do accept the reality that I can help change the world for some people, and at the very least, I can save myself. I am a compassionate visionary, an open-hearted warrior, a wholeheARTed and embodied practitioner of yoga, meditation, writing, and dog. 2011 was the year for me to become a better friend to myself. When I tried to think of what 2012 might be, I was careful to not start a long list of crazy plans and big ideas–you shouldn’t run a marathon the day you get your cast off your previously broken leg. There are stages of healing, and I still need some pretty serious rehab and rest.
So what will 2012 be?
I got an email the other day announcing that Pema Chödrön is going on retreat next year. In the Buddhist tradition, regular retreats are seen as an absolutely essential part of practice, of the path. Retreat is a time to withdraw from one’s “regular” life, to go to a place of safety and privacy, of protection and quiet, and to spend the time in prayer, meditation, reflection, and study. So, as Ani Pema will do, I am also going on retreat next year.
Okay, so I won’t actually be going anywhere. I can’t take a year off from my life and leave, but I can spend the next year sinking deeper into my practices (yoga, meditation, writing, and dog), open my heart wide, stay, sit, settle, be still. Maybe in this way, my great work will reveal itself, arise naturally. I will continue to work on being a better friend to myself, balancing my life between work and rest, proceeding with my life-rehab, and fully embodying my life, but I will do all this in the spirit of retreat.
This is important, because when I was working with the second set of Comfort Queen questions today, from Jennifer Louden‘s book “The Comfort Queen’s Guide to Life,” I realized something. The busyness and distraction that I struggle with, the wasting time on the internet, the obsessive checking, is because when I am tired, actually need rest, I can’t allow it unless I am sick or everything is done or it’s after 8 pm, because there is too much that needs doing. So to make that inner task master monster think I’m doing something so it’ll leave me alone, I do busywork. It’s like that bumper sticker, “Jesus is coming, look busy.”
Brokenness is learned, not innate. The path for me is the way back to what is already and what has always been whole, to embody and love what is, and to be who I am.
sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness