It’s January 1st in the year of our Lord Twenty Twenty (did you read that in Barbara Walter’s voice because I wrote it in her voice.) And as old-school and retro and all that jazz as it may be… I’m back to the blog. Over the last couple of days I’ve engaged in much reflection and a few practical exercises to see how the last decade broke down for me in terms of accomplishments, goals, setbacks, priorities and purpose.
Amongst other things, it became very clear that when I am working to share things I have learned in order to help others through writing or podcasting, I feel most in synch with myself and with the source of inspiration and abundance. I believe we all have a unique and specific purpose in this life and I think mine is to share and help through writing and speaking. I haven’t ever stopped writing. I write on Instagram and Facebook all the time (All.The.Time) but it’s not quite the same as it was or the way I sense it should be. Those venues are amazing but they do not really lend themselves to the type of thing I feel called to do. And so I’m back.
In full disclosure may I add that I just had a mini tantrum over how hard it was to get into this page to write this tonight? I have dealt with so damn much technical resistance with regards to writing this blog and writing at all in the last few years. Every time I try there is something glitching with my website or my blog or a password or I can’t find my charge cord or whatever. Did you know that if you are experiencing a lot of resistance when you feel called…or excited/inspired/driven/prompted to do something you should take it as a clear sign that you are actually on the right track? CLEARLY I NEED TO BE WRITING BECAUSE I COME UP AGAINST RESISTANCE EVERY DAMN TIME I TRY. Nevertheless she persisteth. And we shall overcome. Still we rise. Have I left out any classic rallying cries? I am bound and determined. It is time. It is time.
Today I went on a run in the woods. It was my first really decent outdoors run since “the marathon injury” in October. I’ve been in physical therapy ever since and I’ve finally been given the green light to ruuuuuun. It feltlike the best omen in the world be able to start out the new decade with a painless 10K in the crisp bright sunshine. I felt incandescent with joy as the sun warmed my face. And I felt fully cognizant of all the pain that has led up to this day. There will be more pain in the future because pain is part of this Curriculum we call Life and pain is probably the most effective, edifying teacher we have. But today I felt joy. I chose to listen to a playlist I used to listen to when I was hanging onto life by a thread during the darkest days of C-PTSD. Whenever I had a shred of self preservation, I would force myself out of my dark bedroom and drive to the woods. I would sit in my car for ages willing myself to find the energy to get out there and just put one foot in front of the other. And somehow I always did. And somehow it always helped. I had a gentle nurturing playlist I would listen to during that time and it’s the soundtrack to that quiet desperate fight for my life.
Today I listened to it because I felt good and I wanted to think about how far I have come since that time. And I listened to it because I want to stay compassionate. I want to stay grounded in empathy. I want to stay humble because I could go back there tomorrow. I know this. And I know how many people are there right now. And if there is to be purpose in my pain it is to never forget what it felt like and to do all I can to help others as I was helped. I never want to be blithe with my fellow fighters. Or callous. I never want to forget that I owe my life to the fact that people who were not in pain and perhaps didn’t even understand my pain took the time out of their lives to hold the space for me. And those who were in desperate pain did the same. Which one is more noble? Perhaps they are equal. All I know is that it is the height of nobility in my eyes. And I will owe my life to all those who were willing to do that hard work. To sit with me in it. And reassure me that they would be waiting for me for as long as it took. Who followed me into the dark and waited with me. Who opened the curtains so that I could see the light and did not become angry when I turned my back to the sunny window and curled up around my pain the only way I knew to do.
I recently lost a cherished friend. She took her own life after a valiant brave fight. She was dealt a terrible,terrible hand in this life but I am increasingly peaceful and confident that she is surrounded by love and warmth now. She experienced an unfathomable amount of pain both mentally and physically. She was kind and driven and brilliant but she lived with the hell of complex PTSD after a horrifyingly brutal childhood and she endured the ravages of multiple sclerosis which stole so many opportunities away from her. She never let it make her hard though. She always remained exquisitely compassionate and passionate. Since losing her I have gone through the stages of grief as expected. It’s not really linear though. I’ve had the rage and the denial and the despair but over the last few days I have felt a sense of joy and lightness. It occurred to me that since she is free of the physical limitations of her body and geography and all the other restrictions that were placed on her that she can come hang out with me now whenever she likes. And with that notion in mind I have decided to use my life better. To show her a good time so to speak. To love my family better, to waste less time, to have more fun, to explore more, to stay present and appreciate the joy of not feeling pain in my body, to absolutely savour an amazing glass of red wine with a beautiful piece of dark chocolate. To notice how the sun feels on my face, to never take one painless step for granted when I run or walk or just get up out of bed. To take more chances and give fewer fucks. To dress up in a roaring 20’s costume and show up to a non-costume New Year’s party because how often do you get to dress up in the most flattering era ever? ( You guys, it was awkward to be sure but look at the fierce photo I got out of it! ) To be in awe of the abundance all around me when I’m sitting in my crowded little house surrounded by family. To notice every freckle on Ella’s nose as it wrinkles up when she laughs. To watch in awe as Finny morphs into a man. To be thrilled by how wise and kind Benjamin is. To be amazed by Gabe’s quiet drive and calm determination.To be inspired by Caroline learning to run again with her huge bulky leg brace on. To absorb the immense comfort of lying on Aaron’s chest and listening to his steady heartbeat. I am realizing that I have always had every single thing I ever wanted and needed and now I am finally getting to enjoy it as an ever healthier individual.
2019 was filled with loss and drama and grief and triumphs and peace and joy and self discovery. Several cycles of that and more I discovered that I am far more resilient than I thought I was. Life is an amazing priceless gift and a terrible burden sometimes. But we’ve only got one shot at it. Let’s do this thing.
Happy New Year. You are loved.