In the wee small hours of the year
December31 , 2009

I wasn't going to do a year-end post because I wasn't sure I had a good way to encapsulate what went on with me this year. But, as so often happens, sartorias showed me a way into the subject. So, thanks Sherwood. :-) As they say in the disclaimers, she is not in any way responsible for the misuse I put her prompting to.  

What did you learn this year? she asked her blog readers. 

"Everything and nothing," I wrote in the comments. "Outwardly, my life is still boringly the same, but I did some important shifting internally. Too much to encapsulate—or, at least, most of it is ongoing and hard to encapsulate. But the most important two, the ones that I can make out through the fog: learning to let go, and learning not to give up. I mean really learn, internalize, not just give mouth space to." 

I don't mean to sound preachy here. That's not at all my intent. Mostly I'm reinforcing for myself what I've learned, reminding myself. Because you can't reinforce lessons learned enough—at least I can't. They have a tendency to slip away from me, even after I think I've got them. 

I learned this year that sometimes when you let go of something—really, honest-to-G(g)od(dess) let go—you release it into the Universe, and sometimes, sometimes the Universe calls your bet and sends it back to you in a new and improved form. I learned that sometimes the things we want most, even things we've spent years yearning for, are not the most important things. In fact, sometimes we're denied getting them in direct proportion to how much we want them. They begin to control us, our thoughts and actions, our worldview, and nothing should have that kind of power over us.  

But letting go...oh my Great Golly, that's the hardest part. Getting to a place of Non-attachment to something we've focused so much energy on feels near impossible. There's a lot of pain involved in that struggle, and I could no more give you a step by step analysis of how it works than I could fly backwards around the moon and do a pirouette on the head of a pin. Mostly, I think, it's a question of going into the darkness, living there for awhile, and crawling back out again.  

"Use your dark times," a wise friend once told me. "Don't run from them. Don't live with them. Let them tell you what they have to say, then walk away." Sometimes not always easy to do in practice, and if you need help walking away from them, take it. But I'm not someone who thinks we need to run from unhappiness at the first instance or medicate ourselves away from it at every turn. Dark has as much to teach as light. 

The other lesson of the year is, ironically, one in not giving up. We give up in all sorts of ways, little and big, not just giving up dreams and wishes. Every time we decide it's too much trouble to do something or take the easier, lesser way, it's a form of giving up. After awhile, these acts of giving up pile around us like wood on a pyre and if we're not careful, our lives are consumed. Or, rather than a fire metaphor, maybe I should use ice. Because that's how it was for me: my life became frozen. 

So, bend over and pick the soda bottle off the sidewalk and throw it in the trash rather than walking by and leaving it for someone else; go for that walk; look at that old story idea one more time; take a chance on the nice man who asked you out for coffee... 

I don't make resolutions, but my hopes for the new year are that I keep learning, and that I remember, remember well, what I've already learned. 

Have a blessed New Year, everyone.

Copyright © 2010 P.J. Thompson