Tuesday, December 31, 2013

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2014

I received a card from a friend back in Michigan that simply said, "2014 is your year to shine!"

It brought me to tears, and I can not give you a good, plausible explanation as to why.

Allow me to back up just a bit ... okay, a lot.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt like I have been in a holding pattern.  Well-meaning friends and family have gently nudged me with questions like, "When are you going to settle down?" or "Are you dating anyone nice?" or "What's wrong with you?  Can't you find Mr. Right?"

For as long as I can remember, I have attempted to answer the question, what is wrong with me?  Oh the hours I have literally wasted on answering that one.

The answer I've come up with?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHO THINK THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME?

I wish I learned that lesson 20 years ago.  I am a sloooooow learner.

As I think upon that simple gift, I am going to let go of regret and let 2014 SHINE.


FIGHTING OFF THE SNAKES

From a few weeks back ... I had started writing this blog, and like much of my life lately, I lost track of it, got WAAAAAAY hugely side-tracked, and well, just discovered this little gem.  

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning ... okay, 3 a.m., to be exact, from a dream that I have not been able to shake the entire day.

We all dream. It's a fact.  A scientific fact, to boot.

Most days, we wake up, hopefully refreshed, with a sense that a dream was had, hopefully, good, and we go about our day nary a care, well, at least for that particular dream, on our minds. 

Trust me ... there are usually plenty of cares aside from dreams.

But today was different. 

It is a reoccurring theme, this dream.  I am heading for a beautiful place, usually my beloved Great Lakes, but I have to travers all these crazy roads to get to it, and just as I am about to grab my goal, something comes along ... like a dilapidated cottage where I thought a palatial one would stand ... or a flooded road ... or lots of twisty, turny roads that would scare the eastern right out of a Kentuckian. 

If you are from the east side of this beloved Commonwealth, you know of what I speak.  Amen?

Last night's dream was similar in theme and scope.  I was driving down these rutted, oftentimes, dirt roads, that were more like the craziest obstacle you could dream up than they were roads.  Now, in the dream, I was traveling for hours, and randomly, I would encounter people along the way that were also, apparently, heading to this nebulous destination.  This, alone, is an interesting fact when you take into account how not tourist-friendly these roads actually were!

Long about the 3 a.m. hour, I finally saw my destination ahead of me.  The crowning glory in my long, hard-fought battle, a gorgeous vista with cliffs and waterfalls and deep greenness and just breathtaking beauty. 

At some point, I had left my vehicle and was traversing the remaining portion of the journey on foot.  Flip-flopped ensconced foot, mind, when I meant to step over a particularly steep and tree-rutted part of the trail and was met by a nasty, grouchy rattler.  Said rattler, pulled his venomous head back to strike, and just I was about to step out of the line of his strike, I realized that I would be stepping on another coiled rattler, camouflaged in the dead leaves on my path.

Then I woke up.

Two things strike me.

Number one, I just love how I managed to weave the topic of adaptations among living organisms, the current topic in fourth grade Science, into my dream.  Hey! If that doesn't speak to integrated curriculum, I don't know what does.

Number two, I know this dream has a deeper meaning.  That's the short of it. 

Yep, that's why they gave me a liberal arts degree, folks.

But clearly, I am keeping myself from something. I am keeping myself from my own dreams.

As I was telling a friend about this dream, I said, "I am not into dream analysis, but you know, God used dreams throughout Biblical history, so I am sure, if He wanted to speak to me through a dream, He could and would. So, am I to surmise that I am standing in the way of my own destiny?  And if so, how do I get out of my own way?"

Deep questions for the Eve of a New Year ...

ENDING 2013 ON A BLAH NOTE

I had such grand plans for my Year 2013.  As it lay there, stretched out before me, all new and stuff, I was sure I was going to make it the best year yet.

Yeaaaaah ... that didn't happen.  Somewhere a long the line, and probably after school started back up and the craziness ensued, I got ... I don't know ... apathetic.  I just lost my motivation.  All of it.

I was going to do something creative and fun and FREE with my yard ... didn't happen.

I was going to entertain more ... didn't happen.

I was going to be more creative this year ... didn't happen.

I was going to read more ... didn't happen.

I was going to lose more weight by adding more exercise ... soooooo didn't happen.

What did happen is that I just got lazier. Really LAZIER ... wait.  Is that a word?  An appropriate phrase?  Whatever.  I was lazy.  Really lazy.

This year wasn't all bad.  I grew friendships.  I discovered new friendships and found the value in renewed friendships. In some cases, I had to put distance in other friendships.

I came to realize that putting unnecessary expectations are not at all healthy for me.  So, I attempted to remove expectations (easier said than done).  It worked well in some areas ... not so well in other areas.

I did attempt to step outside of my box a little bit, but there is always room to grow there as well.

I discovered this blog (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11973/20-things-to-let-go-of-before-the-new-year.html), and it has helped me really rework my thoughts and feelings surrounding the end of this year, 2013.   These 20 things will help me shape how I look at this new year, Year 2014.  I still have no big expectations for the new year, because I am taking these 20 things to just let go of in the new year!

1. Let go of all thoughts that don't make you feel empowered and strong.
2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.
3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.
4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.
5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.
6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.
7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.
8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.
9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.
10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.
11. Let go of thinking there's a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.
12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.
13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
14. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.
15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you've done the best you can, and that's enough.
16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.
17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.
18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.
19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.
20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!