Wednesday, July 5, 2017

41, A year in review, of sorts

Subtitle and spoiler alert: there is nothing to figure out.

A year ago *today!*, I decided I’d had enough of living how I’d lived for the past year and I determined that I would Turn Over A New Leaf. I’d Power Through Anxiety. I would Stop Living In Fear. I had Figured It Out.

As if one can just decide that. (Well, they can.) As a high-achieving sort of person, I could will myself through any struggle. Push through, determination, rah rah rah!, and all of that. It was cute, and a good goal. It was me, setting out to run a figurative marathon that I was not trained for, at a full sprint, wearing spikey shoes and cotton clothes and needing to go to the bathroom.

Cute, as I said.

So the thing with life and milestones and stuff that we want/need to overcome is that we think we can do this. Our sheer willpower will help power us through the things we don’t like, the ways that we suffer. But, a year ago, I still had so many things going against me. Resistance to reality being one of them, thus the cotton clothes I was wearing. I thought that just by not wanting something to be the way it was, it could somehow be magically better. My spikey shoes were my constant self-battering, my internal dialogue of criticism and negative though patterns and feeling unsafe with myself, because, well, I was unsafe with myself. I set out in spikey shoes because were a symbol source of pride and of immense pain. There was no safety or compassion or understanding or forgiveness for that person. She evoked my ire simply by failing to drive to work one day. And I was going to fix it all as soon as possible, so I set out in a sprint, because I had to Win. Needing to go to the bathroom symbolizes just how unprepared I was to go, carrying uncomfortable truths with me that I couldn’t let go even though they begged to be released from me.

“But Becky, here you are again, saying you know so much more than before, and NOW you’re going to be so much better?!” I hear you, dear reader, and see the irony.

But the thing is, there isn’t a race or anything to figure out. That’s the huge irony and wonderfulness of it all. It’s just my life. It’s changed and I often hate the changes that have happened more than anything, but I also love them too. “Who knows, what is good and what is bad?” It’s all bad and good. It brings us to our now, and whatever the reality of that now is.

I’d like to acknowledge some of the things/people/books/whatever that has brought me to my current now.

Shane, who read a marriage book with me and then went on to find a source of peace for us that is as surprising as it is effective. He found us a common language, a gift that can never stop blessing us. Who has been patient with me even when I’m kinda crazy in an effort to make all of this work. I told him things this year that I’ve never told anyone.

Podcasts (and the personalities in the podcasts) 
  •  Secular Buddhism
  • 10% Happier
  •  Happier with Gretchen Rubin
  • Waking Up with Sam Harris

  • The Places that Scare You – Pema Chodron
  • 10% Happier – Dan Harris
  • When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) handbook/guide – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Playing the piano, which is finally something I can say that I do. I love it dearly. I love when my left wrist aches from playing chords. I love when I can learn a single song in a night. I love that I can’t think when I play the piano and so it is a source of pure delight and enjoyment.

Meditation: podcasts, learning about emotions, learning how to meditate from Pema Chrodron’s audiobook How to Meditate and finding out what meditation can and cannot do for a person. Knowing that it won’t solve all of my problems and not asking it to. Knowing that it gives me space to react. Feeling it bleed into parts of my life that need calm. Feeling so damn grateful for this bit of craziness. When I compare the feeling in my body and soul today to where it was 2 years ago today – I don’t know how that person made it through a day, she was so wound up and hard on herself.

My time spent in Young Women, and now being released. It’s strange, but since I’ve been released I have a sense that things are easier, that a force that has been unrelentingly pushing against me has left. It’s surprising and I don’t really know what it means, but that’s ok. I loved the girls and women I served with.

Friends and family: watching my kids get older and wiser, texting and hiking and running and everything with Amy, seeing and texting and playing the piano and all the things I do with Melanie, my piano teacher Nicole, my high school friends and our long-running group text, God for letting me tell Him I was angry and for helping me find answers in places that are strange but are a blessing, for letting me see the path ahead sometimes.

And now I get to be 42. But I’ll admit, 41 wasn’t too bad.


Amy Sorensen said...

Love all of this. Love you! So glad you are my sister and we can do everything together. :)

Also, now YOU are the answer. Yay for 42!