2011 was a year I was anxious to leave behind. It was certainly not the worst year of my life or anything, but it came with it’s own special turmoil and anguish and I really just needed a fresh start. I was so bogged down in the past. Past behaviors, patterns, hurts. Past reactions, responses, expectations and disappointments. Sitting in the recesses of my life, the forefront of my mind, marring my future, in a place I could not reach because they had already happened. I would get so mad about whatever offense I was obsessing over, be it a misunderstanding or slight injustice or blatant injury. A year of stale emotions I cycled through continuously, round and round like a Ferris wheel. It was exhausting.
At some point it occurred to me I was allowing the infected past to poison my precious present. And then I got mad about that. So after many cycles of anger, fighting back as best I could and ultimately getting my booty kicked, I finally conceded. I could not fight the anger monster anymore. It was much bigger and stronger than I. But I discovered what I could do, for I am far smarter than it. I could stop giving it life. I could cease to rise to it’s occasion. I could rip my brain out of whatever negative thought pattern I was caught in and ask myself what it had to do with right now. When the answer was nothing, I could force myself back to right now and change my focus the way some folks change an uncomfortable subject. Quickly. So I set out on a journey to chisel those neuropathways in my complicated and sometimes questionable brain into automatic response.
It takes years, to break a bad habit and replace it with a good one, in my opinion. I am plenty old enough by now to know practice and mindfulness are the only ways to get there. And that a new digit at the end of the calendar year did not mean I had wiped the slate clean and was starting a new year as a new me. I still had the same problems, hurts and anger. But I also had a new way to deal with it. Like many things in life that are really hard to do, it takes making a decision and refusing to give up on it, no matter how many times life hurls you off track. I got so sick and tired of watching my blessings pale in comparison to my hardships. I know my puppies will not be here forever, my youth is at that “beginning to be fleeting” stage and there are no guarantees tomorrow will come. 2012 is the year I have decided to gift myself, no longer content to allow right now to slip through my fingers. Right now is all I have, by returning again and again, to the precious present.
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