well, one thing this year has certainly given me is the opportunity for growth! i feel like everything that has happened has been one huge set up for my thoughts this week.
as we enter these last few days of the year, i keep turning to things that will somehow make up my new year’s resolutions. and all of it seems to have to do with this past year.
i feel kinda like i’m a big ol’ stew pot right now. and i keep tossin’ in ideas as if they were carrots or potatoes.
if you have followed this blog for a little while, you’ll know i’m a huge jordan peterson fan. well, over my holiday time here, i have begun to dig into his biblical lecture series.
it’s not your typical biblical series, for sure. so if you’re ‘not into’ the bible – that’s perfectly cool. actually, it’s really good. because what he does is take it – with a respect that is incredible – and use it for psychological perspectives. and honestly, i don’t think anyone could do it any better. the man is brilliant.
i have been watching it out of order, but finally watched the first one (and plan on going in order from now on) (each lecture is long – and packed packed PACKED full of really good stuff.) (i’ve only seen three so far.)
and in the first one he tells you that HE is there to learn. that’s jordan. i love him for that.
something he said that i saw in a different talk of his (not one of these lectures…tho, maybe it’s in there) was something that i ‘got’ but didn’t REALLY until this week. i think his lectures are bringing it home to me now.
he told the story of alexander solzhenitsyn finding himself in the soviet gulag – and asking himself what HE himself had done to create the place he was in. what was his responsibility in it all?
like i say, i semi got it. i got the point of radical self responsibility – of looking at every action he had done that maybe added to the climate of the horrible atrocities that were now taking place.
that’s quite an intense story – to land in a concentration camp kinda place and wonder how you had helped to build it. to actually own that you had. that’s intense. and maybe it’s taken me all year to finally come to a place where i can ‘get it.’
i find myself sitting in a time that scares me. i feel on the outside of a world that i used to feel comfortable in. i see my country falling apart.
and for the first time, this week, i am asking myself – what has my part been in creating this?
it’s not the first time i’ve ever asked myself that question about a tough topic. the first time that kinda thinking ever entered my mind was after the sandy hook shooting. i believe that’s when my life began to truly open to radical self responsibility. i sat and asked myself what was my part in creating the violent world we live in.
i find myself asking again – only this time it’s about the entire climate of america. how have i helped to create what i see going on? and maybe this time the answers are coming easier. which doesn’t feel real good. so no, is not pleasant. but oh so important.
jordan has helped guide me with this thinking. and while it’s incredibly heavy, it’s also the only place i really have control. and that is what his lecture series dives right into, i think – how our ultimate goal can be to become the best person that we can possibly be – and how, yes, that does affect the world.
this whole ‘best’ person stuff gets bigger and bigger the more i explore it. the more i find, the more there is to find. it is having a tremendous impact on me.
so i am sitting with all this right now. heading into a new year. and feeling like one heck of a stew pot. just bubbling away.
you know how frames really make a difference to art?
i notice that all the time when i frame something. and if you pick one frame over another, wow, sometimes the difference is stunning?
so, too, i believe it is with our thoughts – how we frame them really really matters.
and it seems with me that when i need to work on the framing the most, that’s when i’m least likely to choose with care.
i was thinking of this after talking with a friend. she’s really really sad about christmas this year. so much so, she’s gonna pretend it doesn’t exist. she figures that will keep her from getting so sad that she can’t deal with it all.
oh gosh. that’s really sad. and i get why. there is a lot to be sad about. and she will be alone. i understand why. and it’s not like i’m beyond doing that. it seems something any of us might try. but i hope if i get to that point, i might think about reframing.
i guess maybe, what you actually think christmas IS might be what makes a difference. if you’re religious, it might be something that helps you. and even if you’re not – like me – it still is something that helps me. a lot.
i actually write christmas cards, right? i mean…i CREATE them. so, it’s been a lotta years of thinking what exactly this day is for me. i can’t make them unless i figure that out.
always it comes down to some pretty big ideas – hope. magic. mystery. miracles. love. and always always – light in the darkness.
it kinda helps that my dad died around christmas. (years and years ago) and i know, what an odd thing to say.
but one of the strongest memories i have then is something i probably mention every year in the blog – the lights on the houses as i drove back and forth between the hospital and my home. i was driving in the dark a lot. alone. and there, right there with me, were the lights people put on their houses. and yes, i felt like they put them there for me. and i held on to them so tightly. christmas lights have always meant a lot to me since then.
they were light i could hold in the darkness. they were reminders to me.
it’s there. light is there. no matter how dark.
and amazingly, more people than ever seem to have put up christmas lights this year. do we all somehow feel this? and do we all somehow need the extra light this year? i think maybe.
a lotta us need to reframe the holiday this year. and it’s hard. but i keep thinking – this is our light. this is our reminder. there IS light in the darkness.
you know how it is when you’re stressed for a long period of time, and when that leaves you marvel at how you just didn’t even realize how stressed you actually were? you knew you were stressed – but wow.
that’s how i feel now. only it’s about feeling like me again.
the world has stressed me big time. and i have tried many things to stay centered. or as centered as i could.
who knew? the thing that would really help was leaving facebook! go figure.
now that i’m out, i can really see how that was weighing on me. so much that i don’t believe in is going on there, and so much fear that is being spread there of the ‘other social media places’ – well, it is still amazing me. just to be away from that has lifted weights. huge weights.
and i keep thinking about ‘aiming up.’ and how aiming up really is being the prayer, isn’t it?
i’ve been thinking a lot about opening my heart. how it has felt more and more closed. and this morning when i walked, it opened wide up!
i can’t even begin to describe how good that feels.
it’s in all the ‘tiny’ choices, isn’t it? in all the things we choose for ourselves. which makes all those tiny things not so tiny.
i’m welcoming myself home today. going to take some time to get out this evening and see the christmas star that is the skies now. with the hope of opening more and more and more.
i have a feeling the opening is going to get hard again. so i want to work on it while i’ve got it. see if i can be more and more aware of how to keep my soul in tact as i move thru more stress.
WHAT a learning curve i am in right now. trying hard to appreciate the growth, and keep moving forward…
so i want to post it here for you guys, in case you’re not on the lists. i should probably wait til christmas day, but i don’t think i’ll be around that day, so today is the day!
it took me a long time to figure out what i wanted for the holiday card this year. i mean, WHAT a year, right? i finally got it. and i laugh as i type this. maybe no one else will feel that i did, but for me, it really is perfect.
i got a couple nudges today. and it’s still early! both in the same direction –
the nudge saying ‘it’s up to you what you create.’
and yes, i know, sometimes a whole lot is out of our control – but always always always we control our reactions.
but i’m not even going that far into things – i’m talking about an easier layer. of how you view those around you.
altho, i know, that connects to a lotta really complicated inner layers.
i heard a story that just took my breath away of how someone saw someone i love and admire. it was the most negative awful view – and it stunned me.
then later, i was reminded of someone who had a view of ME that was awful as well.
both of these views were extreme – kinda mind blowing awful. kinda ‘you can’t be serious?!’ awful.
but both were serious views.
it’s kinda nice that they are extreme enough that i know these are all about them. i don’t have to focus on them or the stories – i can just pick up the take away – which i see as – we have the ability to create heaven or hell all around us.
i can’t see either of these people in these stories as living anything but hell. maybe they’d disagree – altho, i’m not sure they would.
and i am quite certain i don’t want anything to do with either one of ’em. and i am certain i don’t want a life like they live.
so. how do i want to live? am i taking actions that will create that? i am remembering that under stressful times and focusing on that?
am i gladly embracing the power that i have to control my reactions?
probably should ask myself this ever darn day. i’m thinking i would be tweaking things i do every day then for sure!
i asked myself today – and i’m on it! and it feels really good!
i needed a little empowering. thanking these people for the nudge today!
three o’clock this morning the smoke alarm went off.
i immediately smelled ‘it.’ the burning smell. i jostled my husband who is always a bit slower at these things, as i hopped outta bed.
rushing into the living room i smelled it. just didn’t see anything. and so the search began. we looked everywhere. sniffed around, i touched things to see if they were hot.
other than the smell, couldn’t find a thing.
it’s in moments of stress like this, i particularly like having his engineer brain around.
he sat for a bit thinking it through, couldn’t figure it out, and headed back to bed.
okay, so the engineer brain only did me so much good.
i stayed up for another hour and half. just kinda manning the ship. making sure the smell, which was going away, didn’t come back.
eventually, i decided to go back to sleep – but on the couch. somehow that felt like a more ‘alert’ spot.
but first, a hot shower. i had gotten cold and i was gonna warm up to sleep.
as i reached to move the shower curtain back, i smiled. it’s a goofy christmas shower curtain my husband had bought me a couple years ago. he had hung it up to surprise me. and now, it comes out every year to add to the festivities.
i realized that this is the stuff that goes up in a fire. the stuff – all the day to day stuff. and that’s if you’re lucky and you don’t lose people.
i stood under that hot water warming up and thinking.
i have been stressed about the world. a lot lately.
that kinda stress makes you miss the silliness of a shower curtain, or the love that’s mixed in the tacky.
that kinda stress takes a lot away. it’s its own kinda fire. deep inside you. but not the fire that wakes you – it’s the fire that takes you.
yeah. yeah. i could see that.
i lay down on the couch, and breathed. in and out. deeply. feeling my lungs. and centering myself a bit.
when i woke – again – this morning, i walked into the bathroom and smiled at the shower curtain.
and i wondered – could that smoke alarm have been for me?
as if the holiday season isn’t challenging enough normally!
my gosh! what a year, huh? what a time.
it has been a crazed, busy rush around here. now i think it slows down fast. an order or two will trickle thru, but most people who are going to purchase, already have.
so, now comes MY time.
and i so feel the need to use this time wisely.
i am pulling out my favorite book and going to read it page by page all over again. it’s jordan peterson’s ’12 rules for life.’ it’s one that hasn’t ever really gotten put back on the shelf, one i browse thru constantly, but one that i think the best thing to do with now is a page by page. if ever there was a time….it’s now.
his focus is on ourselves. and our own aiming up.
and i think maybe the challenge now is the total feeling of helplessness that can come over me with today’s world. the turning to what i can to make my own self better, well, that helps. i feel less helpless.
and christmas. focusing on christmas.
for me it’s a time of the light in the darkness. the spark of hope in the bleak. if i ever needed it – this would be the year.
it’s about faith. and love. and light.
it’s not just a pretty time of year. it holds a significant meaning. (for me) so if that’s the case, then leaning into that would be wise, wouldn’t it?
i began yesterday by baking cookies. there will be more of that today. along with reading.
i lit candles this morning and wrote a little bit.
as i do these things, i can feel the importance of making the space just to do them. it doesn’t matter if cookies get baked, books get read, thoughts get written – that’s all good stuff, but what matters is the intent, the space making, the faith, the love, the light in which i open to as i head into these things.
there’s no magic wand to make this an easy time. but there are our intentions to make our travel as meaningful as possible. and those i can pick up and work with.