I was awake in the wee hours of the morning today and never fell back asleep. I was thinking about a loved one. Someone who is going through an incredibly difficult and dark time in her life. Sometimes it feels relentless to me, so I can't really imagine how she feels.
As I lay in bed I was struck by the truth of how little separates a happy existence from one filled with despair. A few mistakes or wrong choices. A misstep here or misplaced trust there. And yet, when compared side by side it can seem that the chasm or cliff dividing us is huge - all of the advantages bestowed upon one life a mountain beside the valley of neglect and poverty in another.
It's definitely not fair.
Even if a person is in their situation largely due to their own "choices". Even if they "did it to them-self". Even if it is up to them to make the changes that need to occur to turn their life around.
What if everything we thought we knew was in fact not true?
"Milk does a body good."
What if it doesn't?
"People will never learn if we don't teach them."
What if they will? What if teaching isn't what we think it is?
"Kids (and adults!) need tough love to straighten themselves out."
What if they they don't? Or what if "tough love" is something very different than we think?
Take any belief you hold very dear. The ones that you KNOW are absolutely the truth. Pick the juiciest most controversial issue that comes to mind - abortion, vaccination, war, welfare, healthcare, co-sleeping or screen time (ha!)... Hold your belief in your mind and heart. Now flip it around and pretend you believe the opposite.
Someone, somewhere, does. It's absolutely mind blowing, I know.
But what if we tried to put ourselves into that person's shoes. To see what they see. To live what they have lived. To open our hearts to a person whom we feel hatred for and try to let love flow over and through us instead.
We might not change our minds, but we might just change the world.
I noticed as 2013 wound down and slid into 2014 that my energy was very different than the previous New Year. Last year I was "Counting by 12's" and Desire Mapping and blogging up a storm. I daresay it might have been even a little bit obnoxious to some people.
This year I did one thing. I picked a word. Or rather it picked me. And it found me in a very profound way - through my tea.
My word for 2014 is savor.
And as December melted into January (or did it freeze?) I realized that if I was to truly savor my life it meant that I would have to embrace (2012's word!) it all - the good, the bad, the ugly... the sad, the salty, and the bittersweet. Everything. Savoring to me is also slowing down, releasing, and accepting. It's allowing, breathing, and enjoying all the blessings AND challenges in my life.
And true to form - 2014 has delivered. Loved ones - friends and family - in crisis, tragedies local and global, saying goodbye to our beloved, feisty cat, a challenging 4 year old phase and ever changing 7 year old, a wonderful visit with family and the sadness of once again saying goodbye, the excitement of a new puppy soon to be brought home - 2014 has been one to savor. And I have been.
I wrote one of my latest and most popular posts in December, "Nothing Really Matters" and since then have only written three times (including "Why almost all 'Beliefs' don't matter") and I joked recently with my mother - what else is there to write after that?
And the truth is I feel a deep sense of "Not Caring" in my spirit. I don't care to debate or argue or tell others "What They Should Be Doing". I don't really care how Sally down the street is disciplining Johnny or what Shelly thinks of how we do things inside our own four walls.
I'm not really depressed, although it feels a bit the same. It's more like subdued. And I want to clarify what I mean by "Don't Care". I do care deeply about people - their feelings, their challenges, their relationships etc. And if they wish to change or seek new information on how things might be different in their own small universe or the great grand world - then I would love to share my experience and perspective about that. I just don't care to try and convince those who will not be swayed or debate with those who have clogged their own ears. I guess I feel as awake as I've ever been in my life... and it is... different than I expected. I've been on fire before, I've felt passion and energy so hot and strong that I couldn't stop it if I felt like it. But this feeling is different. It's bruised and tender. It's slightly sad and tired (although that may be from staying up to watch Downton Abbey every night after the kids go to bed).
I still believe there are so many things that need to change in this world. There are so many things that each one of us can do to help make this change come about. I know that when faced directly with specific issues I will feel that fire return. But I also know that burnout is a very real possibility if I am not vigilant.
But I do feel like I'm savoring it all. And everything I've written about and learned the past 2+ years has led me to this place and it's all been valuable (Life is Lumpy, Life is a Sine Wave - or Sin Wave, depending on how you look at it) and there are so many more... Usually these lessons take a long time to really sink in. I usually "know" things in my head long before I actually practice them easily in my life. Writing here helps. Some things can only really be lived and understood with time.
Anyways, I'd love to hear how your year has started out! Has it been slow (snowed in!) or stressful, busy and full, or perfect and exactly how you envisioned it (maybe it's been a little bit of it all... and more) ... Let me know in the comments :-)
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.