failures + healings: the year that was
This post has been updated.
Every year since starting this blog I’ve done a NYE post (give or take a few days) that outlines my resolutions for the coming year. Last year I wrote a bunch of “intentions” for 2011.
Below I outline which ones I stuck to. And the other events that emerged, with intention, too. And then where I want to head in 2012.
But first I want to discuss “failure”.
My “failures” in 2011 have been observable by many due to the nature of this blog – in real time, with commentary and opinion from virtual strangers (very much literally). Which has been an interesting process to be a part of. But good. Definitely good.
Failure. I’ve had some this year. I observe many of us have. Or rather many of us have had plans that went awry. Complications. False starts. Steps backwards. Recalibrations that involved dismantling a few things in the interim.
But then – and tell me if it was this way for you, too? – the year has somehow ended with some resolution or settling or forgiveness or landing.
This has been the theme this year. It was a massive year. A hard year. But I grew more than I could ever imagine I would. And most of that growth came through sitting through “failures”. Astonishingly, I found myself over and over wedged into a position where I had to sit deeply in various sheddings, reversals, injuries and misfortunes. Each and every time, I couldn’t escape the discomfort of it. And each and every time…
I got closer
To what matters.
More than ever, this poem by Mary Oliver rings loudly and truly for me (definitely have another read and see if it does for you).
“…there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
This year, I also learned to trust. Because each and every time I failed or lost something or was knocked down, immediately after sitting through it, I got reinforcement that I was on a great path.
I’ve been steered. I think this sitting – unable to move or flee – allowed me the space to see what had to be seen. Then again, so did my fleeing. When I fled, I got painful reminders of what the path was probably NOT.
And – I love this – as 2011 closed, and the “failures” sped up, I began to find it all very funny. And all the stuff I used to care about – very much suddenly – mattered a whole lot less.
I’m sharing all this, BTW, in the hope? odd little belief? that some of you have experienced the same.
But a recap…
2011’s intentions, revisited:
* Less “no more” statements. More, “OK, let’s try this instead” statements. Eg: I intend to eat more green vegetables, instead of I intend to stop eating chocolate.
I DID get more positive. I stopped denying myself. I ate fat as I quit sugar, for example.
* I’d ideally like a sugar-free life. But I’ll experiment gently.
Absolutely! Done! Dusted!
* I intend to be gentle.
Yep…although, really, I’ve only learned it by going to new (sick!) depths of auto-immune dis-ease in the past few months (again, loss/failure/misfortune got me where I needed to go).
* To meditate more boldly, and more courageously… digging down deeper.
Yep…again, illness got me there. Some days I’ve been unable to do anything other than sit quietly in meditation. And, oooooh, the things I’ve seen and met there! Boldly meditating has meant not fleeing from the discomfort of it. Sitting longer. Not trying to dissolve uggggghhy thoughts. Sitting. Smiling at it. Because, frankly, what else could I do?
There were more…but I’ve had enough of recapping (the joys of blogging – you do what you want as you want!).
In 2011 I also:
* Got rid of a lot of stuff: my clothes and furniture (I gave it away and sold it, giving the $$ to charity), some of my income sources, big projects, unhelpful friendships, my car, toxic cosmetics, toxic food, and – to some extent – my pride.
* Left the city, screened a new TV show, wrote an ebook, blogged and ran my business from a small tin shed outside Byron Bay.
* Worked on great projects and new things with Jo, my care-full and kind assistant.
* Received ooooodles of support and help from good, kind folk. I experienced human kindness in all kinds of guises. And to an extent I never thought possible. I’m teary with gratitude on this point. Human kindness.
* Got some slap-downy lessons: running saw me fall over and break three bones, pull a tendon and tear open my knee (three separate accidents).
* Got some slap-downy reinforcements: when I gave up my book and Sunday Life column, the following week my computer screen was stolen (the robbers took little else of value, all of which was sitting nearby).
* Saw my health get worse. Which could be taken badly. But I see it as taking me to where I need to go to truly heal. This has all sped up in the past month or so. No surprise. I know it’s moving me into 2012 with a focus, a steadiness, a resolve, an aim. This is serious, Mum!
* And, as I say above, got closer to what friggen matters. Yes, I did! And, really, this is what mattered most to me.
A few themes are emerging that I simply want to explore.
* I will see what happens.
Let’s see. Let us see. Let (allow) you, me, the forces that steer the universe, see what happens.
* I will observe the ugggh factor.
When something or someone occurs to me and it makes me go “ugggh” on the inside, I know there’s resistance, something not right. And so I will walk away, shed it, let it go. Nothing is worth finding yourself a square peg jamming yourself into a round hole.
* I will exert less effort.
My brother Nick is my pin-up kid for this. He’s the smooth fella sitting with me, above. 17 years my junior, 7 inches taller and a wise old soul. His Facebook “interests” include finding the most comfortable position on the couch. He pares it all back…pretty much to finding the most comfortable position on the couch. And other such nourishing comforts.
* I will dedicate my efforts to helping and sharing. Human kindness both ways.
* I will find ordinariness really rather lovely.
* I will find my wellness again; I will find love and a deeper understanding of life.
* I will publish more ebooks that help people, do meaningful TV (and other) projects, travel overseas to learn, and I’ll keep free... while committing more.
* I will continue to find setbacks amusing.
Sometimes I just find myself saying, fuck it. I really do.
As I wrote this I got an email from a spiritual adviser I used to see when I was editing Cosmo (she kept me real! that was her brief). She wrote this, which I thought was fitting:
2011 has been an enormously challenging year for so many of us, in so many ways, at so many different levels. It has brought up the shadow, the core issue, both individually and globally, in ways that cannot easily be ignored. When we do not give attention to the feather hitting us in the face, we trip over the rock. And when we ignore the rock, many of us are now dealing with the tower falling on our heads.
The tower can be to do with a financial crisis, flooding or terminal illness – or it can be something much more insidious like out of control worry, anxiety or anger. Sometimes the tower falling on our heads has been falling a long time, and now the effect is being felt.
This time of shift is a powerful invitation to dive deeply into the hidden darkness, a final probe into the realm of fear where survival by one means or another is the name of the game. The human story of survival is one of dealing with earthly, physical reality. True freedom is not found in avoiding the demands of the material world around us. Freedom comes with our acceptance of all dimensions of earthly life, as divine design. Such a realisation brings the power to live life without fear. The human story becomes a story of living life fully and, where the name of the game is love.
As significant as this time is, it is an invitation which we may choose to accept or reject. This is not a passive acceptance but a proactive choice requiring rigour and strong intention. Compromises are out of the question now as they would be a denial of our inner reality. It is a time to stand up for love unconditionally! Trust your power for it is time we assert ourselves powerfully.
Over and out for 2011. Thank you for being here and sharing with me. Thank you to the lady in the wheelchair at The Pass that morning, the artist from Broken Hill, all my fellow AI people out there who “get it” and everyone’s who reached out to me here on this blog. It’s kept me ticking. I hope to see you here for more in 2012.
And please do tell me if you relate to the above…I’m interested!