I am anticipating an avalanche of “the year in review” and the “my New Year resolutions” posts popping up in my blog roll and social media feeds with a sense of dread. And yet, I can’t stop myself from posting something similar – and it irritates me. I guess it’s part of the ebb and flow, the coming full circle, the reflection of life, yadda, yadda… I am fascinated by the human compulsion to share an overview of our past year. Perhaps it’s because we can’t believe that we’re about to make it out alive?
Dwelling on the past tends to make me antsy; I easily fall into melancholy and often struggle to pull myself out. So I avoid it. Because, oh – how easy to blame others for the place we’re in emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually! It’s always easier to cast the blame on others; to go on the defence is our natural emotional shield.
I love the approach taken by Keri from We are the Wildflowers where she mentions the principle of ahimsa, which she describes as meaning “no injury.” I don’t mean that you should allow yourself to be trampled on or not stand up for what is right. I mean to stand firm, but not to retaliate with a matched unkindness. A knee-jerk reaction will likely satisfy your immediate need to retaliate, but no reaction is a response too. If that means ignoring a message from an uninvited troll, then so be it. To that person I mentally say, “Be gone, troll!” and get on with living my (best!) life.
I choose to look at the bright side – even if it seems like it’s just a glimmer in the dark. I choose to hold on to the hope that things WILL get better. I choose to believe that though we say and do terrible things to each other every day, we can overcome. I choose to not be a shitty person (at least I really do try hard not to be one). I believe that we are all just trying to get through this incredibly beautiful, cruel and rewarding life. It’s not always easy to choose to see the light or to be the bigger person. Especially when it’s easier to hide in the shadows of our anger and indignation or to stay in our comfort zone.
I have spoken before about my spiritual conundrum and, of late, I feel overwhelmed by my lack of spiritual guidance/support. I feel like I need to ask for guidance from a higher power, but I don’t have the foggiest idea who (or what) this higher power is that I should be addressing. It’s quite a difficult place to be; emotionally, it’s exhausting. So I try to surround myself with positive influences. I give thought to whom I spend time with and when. I don’t have the emotional capacity right now for other people’s bullshit. For now, I am too wrapped up in my own tangle of problems – selfish, but true. I was chatting to my mom last night and we agreed that there really is no point being in the company of others when you don’t even really want to be in your own company.
A friend sent me this link to a blog post by Jinna Yang; she talks about how she took back control of her happiness. A lot of what she said resonated with me, in particular, the words “stop getting in your own way.” Sometimes it’s best to step back and take a breath. To be still for a moment and quiet the turmoil you feel inside. But at the same time, it’s important not to wallow for too long. Yes, take the time to assess and evaluate, and then put on some big-girl pants and get on with it. No one is going to stand around indefinitely and wait for you to pull it together.
There really is so much to whinge about and I can go on for days about how hard life has been this year, but there is also so much to be grateful for and to appreciate. So instead of marking the year with what went wrong – and trust me, I have a pretty impressive list of emotional, spiritual, physical and financial things that should have sunk me, but didn’t (because like a weed, I just keep on going and growing!) I’m rather going to take Belinda from Making Mountains‘ lead. She wrote a list of what she is grateful for.
In this very moment, the things that I am grateful for:
- My health and sound body. It sounds so hum-drum, but I am thankful to be able to live a healthy life
- The soft snores of my beautiful fat cat/soulmate, Leyla, as she lies sleeping curled against my side
- The streaks of pink as the sun sets over False Bay
- My guy and the way he tries to reassure me every day that things will be OK, that we will be OK; things will get better
- Family who understand when I am not feeling social and give me the space I need without making me feel guilty about it
- My best friend (31 years!), without whom I would have been a complete wreck. We don’t talk every day, but I know she’s there at the drop of a hat (or tear) and she gets my emotional outbursts – and lets me vent without getting offended by my nearly hysterical emotional venting before dispensing her sage advice (Yup, she’s a keeper)
- The noisy chatter/bickering of the little Cape White Eye’s (tiny little green birds) as they scavenge for aphids in my neighbour’s Hibiscus
- Living within 10minutes from the beach, mountains and Cape Winelands – pretty blessed in this department, I’m not going to lie
- The opportunity to further my education and get my degree, even if it’s going to take a couple more years
- Kind, supportive colleagues who offer their help and support when they see I’m not in a good space. Considering we spend the large majority of our lives at work, being part of a great team is a blessing I often take for granted
- The first refreshing sip of a crisp, cold glass of wine or an ice cold beer on a hot summer day
- The way Ozzy’s ears flop in disarray when he sleeping really hard and how he immediately sleepily searches us out when he wakes up from a nap
- The smell of star jasmine in full bloom
I could go on, but I don’t want to get too carried away. The point is, we should stop focussing on what’s wrong and stop looking for the negative; find the small joys, every day. That said, roll on 2016!
Header image source.