Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 - Happy New Year!

I can't say I'm sad about seeing the end of 2013. For one, how was a year that ended in 13 ever going to be a good one for anybody? So we were all on the back foot right from the start. Talk about a year with an original sin of its own. I never even liked the look of it - 2013. It looks clumsy. 2014 looks kind of sparkly. Please don't ask me to explain that.

Recently the reality of my mortality has rudely thrust itself into my every waking moment. Help, Help! Stop the roller-coaster! has been my mantra lately. But a few days ago I decided to let that old roller coaster whip along at top speed for two and half more days without any resistance from me. Whooeee, what a feeling of freedom! A niggly thought flickered in my brain for a minute - what if I only have two and half days left and I've just wished them away? Then I thought, so what? I'd spend the next two and half days letting go.

Ever the optimist. On a more serious note, as 2014 approaches I’ve been thinking of what I want to carry forward with me as I launch with the rest of the world into a new year.

Be accountable for what’s in my heart. Respect me first before I think of trying to respect anybody else. Without the former the latter isn’t real. Charity begins at home. Rescuing people at cost to myself isn’t charity, it’s control and it’s not going to get me into heaven. It isn’t going to get them into heaven either. 

Know that I count just as much as the next person. My inner authority belongs to me, not to anybody else. I’m the one who can and must decide how important I am. If I wait for people to give me permission to be important, or to speak, or to be noticed I’ll never get it because the kind of people who require me to ask for their permission are the ones who have no intention of giving it. Duh.

On that note, if for some reason – which no doubt will reveal itself in hindsight to be sheer madness - I’m hanging out with people who have me low on their priority list, focus on me instead of them, and think long and hard about what I’m doing there in the first place. If I love them, staying silent and hurt and resentful will drive me crazy, so it’s better to tell them. They may dismiss me or judge me, and that’s going to hurt like hell, but at least I will have tried, and given us a chance and I'll know the reality. Which is better than not trying, and living with the doubt for the rest of my life, or living on a fantasy. Better to get real!

I educate people how to treat me. If I don’t notice myself they don’t notice me either. If they mistreat or dismiss me, yes it’s because that’s what they do and it’s revolting, but it’s also because I let them, and therefore it's what I do to myself. So I can stop letting them. Nine times out of ten they don't have a gun to my head. I hold that gun. Weird, uncomfortable to face. But true.

Use my judgement all the time. Pay attention to my gut. These are very cool organic tools for navigating life. It doesn’t take energy to keep them active; it takes energy to put them to sleep.

It’s okay to say sorry if I’ve done something to somebody that I know wasn’t okay, no matter how long ago it was. It’s not such a good idea to hang out with people who refuse to say sorry when they’ve done something to me that wasn’t okay. And also, it’s a good idea to watch out for a part of me that wants to say sorry when I’ve stood up for myself and they’ve got mad, and I’m scared of getting punished. If I buckle I entrench my powerlessness in my mind and in theirs. Then I’m a goner.
People are allowed to be who they are and where they are in their lives. If who they are and where they are means that I don’t get the really important core stuff I need in a relationship, it’s okay to let them be and give myself permission to seek it elsewhere.

Gotta claim my turf. I’m allowed to claim my turf. It’s mine, it’s got my name on it. I hold the title deed.

It's okay to speak up if I want to, to say my truth. It doesn’t matter if I don’t articulate it perfectly because it’s not necessarily the content of what I say that matters, it’s that I value myself enough to know that I count and that if I need to express, I can, I have the right. I may say it clumsily; people might laugh at me or shout me down, which may hurt, but it doesn’t hurt as much as never opening my mouth.

Why give respect to people who have proved they don’t deserve it? I don’t have to let myself be bullied. And if I am being pushed around, I must reach out for friends who’ll rally behind me and with me and help me stand up to those bullies.

Finally, it’s a good thing to somehow find a way to let the wisdom of life filter in and also give myself permission to not be perfect; to just be, and make big mistakes, really screw up sometimes. To want nice, totally material things, to have fun, to love and sometimes hate, to laugh and cry, to be scared, to be held, to stretch my wings in every which way. No need to live in a nunnery.

Happy 2014! May it bring many things you want and not just the things you should want!