Off and on through the course of the last couple of years, I’ve taken on the task of choosing a word on which to focus for the coming year. I can’t remember them all, or even very many of them, but I know “Better” has been the winner a few times, and I think “intention,” was another. For 2018: Heal.
I’ve spent the better part of the lat 5 years in a state of constant and rapid change and growth. Divorce, marriage, blending families, deaths of three family members and one sweet friend, and deaths of a beloved dog and 13-year-old cat, buying a house, losing weight, gaining a little more than half of it back, medical urgencies and emergencies for me and the people around me, taking on political office, involvement in my kids’ schools, struggling creatively etc. etc. etc.
As I sit here, staring into the sunset of 2017, I’m doing what I always love to do the week after Christmas–reflecting. The last week in December is quite arguably the most tender and inspiring time of the year one in which we peer back at the year behind us, take stock of the lessons we’ve learned, scars we’ve earned, and things we love, and figure out what we’re going to carry gleefully into the new year with us, what we’d liek to leave behind, and how we want to grow.
I should pause to add that if you’re not interested in growing year after year, you might want to talk to someone about that. Growth–learning who you are, what the world around you is all about, and how the two cohabitate on this cellestial body–is one of the deep, primal joys of being human. To rise closer, deeper, to the source of truth in the universe is a benefit seemingly reserved for those of us with the “human” badge, and we’d be foolish and missing out not to take it.
I need to heal in 2018. This doesn’t mean sitting in a spa, getting daily massages and being waited on hand and foot, though, to be sure, I’d never turn down a weekend that looked like that. What healing means for me in 2018 is firmly, in prayer, taking the actions that I know will bring healing to my mind, body, and spirit. It means continuing Bible studies with my church and the group of mom friends I’ve been meeting with every other Thursday for the last few years. It means continuting the work of cultivating friendships in a social minefield of expectations and surface communication. It means eating the food that allows me to be present, loving, healthy, and free. It means moving my body with some form of exercise every single day. It means skipping a day if some part of my body, mind, or soul is screaming for me to. Healing means forgiving. Healing means taking a step back from–what? Social media? External committments? That’s what I need to think more on and decide.
It means staring inertia and fear in the eye and doing these things anyway.
It means acknowledging that 2018 will not, just because I say so, be free from all the trials that 2017 held. Healing means being conscious of the fact that good and bad and loving and funny and sad and terrible things will always happen. Sometimes all at once and sometimes with the space of days, weeks, months, or years in between. It means understanding that in 2018 I’ll lose people I love, either from this earth or from my life. Healing means that I sit with the knowledge that my children will disappoint, scare, or enrage me–sometimes all at once–and that I’m rooted in what I know to be True as a means for handling those times when they come. It means that my marriage will hit bumps and snags and feel lonely sometimes. And that it’ll feel like bliss others. And that both of those are okay and expected and real.
Healing in 2018 will have me spending more time outside. As much as possible, because nature heals. Fresh air restores.
My journey toward healing in 2018 means I will surrender to the creativity burining inside me to come out, and fear and doubt can be a spectator, but as Elizabeth Gilbert says, they may not, under any circumstances, take the wheel and drive.
Healing means accepting where I am today, but deciding not to live here every day for the rest of my life. It’s thanking my body for all the good it’s done for me, and asking it to give me the opportunity to make a living amends to it by treating it with respect, kindness, gentleness, and love.
I can heal in 2018 while the new things fly at me that will inevitably fly at me because I’m an active participant in this life. I can heal while my friends cry, while I cry, while I roll up my sleeves for the cause–whatever cause that may be. I will not sacrifice my healing for any of these things, though. But, I truly believe they can all be a restorative part in piecing me back together in the places where I’m a bit… less put together.
I will not spend the rest of 2017 adding to the damage that the year has already caused. I will not be binging or spending reckless amounts of money or withholding forgiveness from those who need it most (read: myself). I WILL spend the rest of 2017 deciding what stays and goes for 2018. How I’ll spend my time–who gets my time. WHAT gets my time.
I saw a meme today that said we should spend more time doing things that make us forget to look at our phone.
That might be a really good place to start.
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