Posted on Jan 1, 2013 | 7 comments
I feel like I’m walking on quicksand. Everything has been shifting so rapidly these past weeks. The thing I find most interesting about this is that in spite of all the extreme flux, I’m serenely calm. In spite of a thousand uncertainties, in spite of a lot of unanswered questions, I feel completely centered and focused. I feel like the eye in the center of the storm.
Today I have no more answers then I did a year ago. It’s just that today I’m not filled with constant worry. Today, I’m not fussing and fretting about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it. Today, I’m chill.
Getting here wasn’t easy. It took diligent and focused effort. In 2012, I was COMMITTED to letting go of everything that didn’t work and embracing the change I needed to get to the place where I felt good about just being me. I read stacks of books and blogs. I had lots of deep, brutally honest conversations. I spent hours listening to learned people speak on topics ranging from business to religion. I kept stepping forward into the dark, into the troll infested swamps, even though I was terrified over and over and over again.
Most important, I was open. I played every hand I was dealt. I reverently considered every idea, method, system, and theory I encountered. I addressed every criticism regardless of how harsh. I worked to accept every compliment even when I wanted to crawl out of my skin.
Honestly, being this open sucks. It hurts. It’s tiring. But the only way to get over the pain is to go through it. All year, I leaned in. All year, I walked the razor’s edge.
A couple of weeks ago, my family attended Blue Christmas services. It is a special service for people who have suffered loss and crave a quieter approach to the holiday season. I wasn’t feeling blue. It was just the only service we could squeeze into our schedule.
As the first candle was lit, the priest said, “we light this Advent candle to remember those persons whom we have loved and lost.” I thought of my grandmother who died this summer whose example has had a huge impact on the women I am, and the large, smelly German Shepherd dog who loved and mothered me for twelve long years. I was warmed by their memories.
As the second candle was lit, he said, “We light this candle to redeem the pain of loss: the loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health.” My mind swirled, as I thought of those who attacked with the expressed intention to harm. The betrayals and heartaches suffered at the hands of these broken people flooded my heart and mind.
As the third candle was lit, he said, “We pause now to remember the past weeks, months, and years of struggle and anguish. We carry with us grief, sadness, anxiety, hurts, fear, and pain.” I was overcome with emotion as all I’ve been through flooded my heart and mind.
Then the priest offered this prayer, “The Christmas season reminds us of all that used to be and cannot be anymore. The memories of what was, the fears of what may be, can be stifling for us. All around us we hear the sounds of celebration. But we experience a sense of feeling low. Please be near us this night. God of love. God of mercy.”
As the congregation continued to pray silently, I thought to myself, “I want more of this. Next year, I want more.” I realized that it is only by going through the struggle and by facing the fear and pain that we learn and grow. I only stand calm now because of the battles I was willing to fight. I’m centered and focused today because I was willing to step in when I all I really wanted to do was run and hide.
I prayed then and there that in 2013 God would split me open. I prayed that he would open my heart, mind and soul wider than he had this previous year.
Of course, my ego stepped in several times during my prayer. “Baby”, she said, “if you remember 2011 was a smack down and 2012 has been merciless grind. We just need to sit back and take it easy in 2013.”
“Sweetie,” she continued, “you worked hard in 2012. Let’s just coast next year. You know pay off some bills, get a pedicure, that’s enough.”
Yep. My ego likes to take it easy. She’s content to sit back and eat a honey bran muffin, but I was resolute. I continued to petition God to do whatever He had to do to get me to the place He wants me to be. I begged that He would push and prod and provoke me even more in 2013. That He would open me up and cover me in peace and joy and love. I promised to stay with Him and to walk the path He laid out for me no matter how difficult He decides to make it.
I acknowledged to my ego that 2012 had been a push, a real struggle most of the time. But try as I might to listen to ego’s reason, I knew in my heart that I don’t want cheap, I don’t want easy, and I don’t want to coast.
I told my ego that I had her back (all she really wants to know is that I’ll keep her safe) and as I stood alone in the back of the chapel, I turned my face toward God and opened my heart and offered myself mind, body, and soul.
And, so two weeks later I sit here blissfully as the earth shifts under my feet. I’m calm. I’m centered. My ego is silent. She trusts me to protect her and take care of her just as I trust our Creator to protect and take care of me.
I know I’m going to continue to write, work, and run. I know I’ll eat well and love hard. Other than these things I don’t know what my future holds. All I know is that it’s in His hands and I will allow Him to work His miracles through me. I will lean in. I will continue to walk the razor’s edge.