Friday, December 31, 2010
december 31 - lessons learned
I have been a tad out of the loop these past two weeks ... or maybe it has been the last couple of months? I am finding it surreal to realize Christmas has come and gone (indeed, even the holiday decorations have been put away already) and I have little sense of it. Maybe things were a little too smooth? I did not find myself frantically shopping at the last minute and perhaps that level of holiday madness is what brings the season into high relief for me?
Or maybe it is just the usual end of year popping my head out of my hole and wondering a la the Talking Heads song: How did I get here?
Indeed, it has been a long, strange trip ... in a good sense. For this past year was my year of living with the intention of Fearlessness and Connection guiding me. Now is the place where I would recount all that evolved from that intention, but you already know, don't you? Instead, I am thinking about what I've learned about being fearless: that it is not about abolishing fears or doubts, but rather not letting fear freeze or disable me. When fear takes over, there is the natural tendency to make like a rabbit and be absolutely still. It is not a stillness where one is completely present; it is being frozen or stuck in a moment, in a emotion.
The antidote to this is to move, to take action. I've discovered I can experience fear but I can override the tendency to shut down. Some days it is just putting one sentence down in my journal. Or getting up from the chair and moving to my art table, sewing machine or yoga room. It is using action to distract my mind from its tendency to spin wild tales of humiliation and woe. And it is recognizing that to act and possibly fail is still far better than to do nothing and wonder "what if?"
I am reminded of a story told by Marisa Haedike's husband, Sean Hogan during their course April In Paris. Sean shared an experience he had as a kid when the coach for his sports team (was it baseball? Or basketball? I cannot remember) kept him on the bench, never letting him play in the game. His team lost and the other players were complaining about the game when Sean said "yeah, but at least you got to play!"
This year was my year to get myself off the bench and into the game. This year was the year of playing, of practicing, of doing, of taking action and reaching out to others to share that experience.
I wrote the following for a Wishstudio guest piece and it is my big A-Ha for the year (so forgive me the arrogance of quoting myself):
We all need to feel connected; to know who we are matters to another, and that what we do or say has value and meaning. I realize that all I do as a mother, as an artist, as a yogi and a teacher revolves around that essential need. In my life, I am coming to know this truth: that my story counts. By sharing my experience, I help to shine light upon your journey. And by encouraging others to share their truth, we come to understand our essential unity. That is, we come to know ourselves as lovable and loving. And in that space, we are unstoppable, anything is possible and we are fearless in our quest to better our world.
A perfect seque into repeating my word for 2011 is Shine. Years ago, my spiritual sister told me "you are totally unaware of the Light that you are." She has said this to me on more than one occasion. After a year of fearlessness, I am better aware of that light. I used to think it was easier for me to appreciate the light - the gifts - of others rather than my own; but I recognize now that if I cannot see my own light, I cannot fully see that of another. When I live with my heart wide open, loving, forgiving and accepting myself, the glow of Love shines forth from me. With that light, I am able to see the beauty and the light of others undistorted and unaffected by my needs or wounds.
I am excited for this New Year. I am ready to let myself Shine. And I am taking the lessons of the previous year - to continue to create, act, move everyday - and utilizing them to help me keep that light bright and glowing. One brushstroke, one photograph, one row of knitting serving to keep the fires alive and burning.
Goodbye 2010 - you were a great year. Hello 2011. I am looking forward to spending time in you.
And for no apparent reason other than this is my mood - I feel the need to end the year with a little ukuele, George Harrison and a man in a gnome hat. Enjoy!