Recently we who observe the Gregorian calendar celebrated the turning of the calendar year, that artificial time when we divide one block of time from another, to enable our finite human brains to cope with being part of a slice of the infinite. In other words, Happy New Year!
Today I’m sharing an excellent essay below, by my dear friend Francesca Gentille, on keeping things in perspective, and learning to choose interpretations around certain events. I can sure relate to her plight, having been through something similar just a couple months ago, with drains blocked and hot water shut down so we’d at least have toilets during a private event. (And as one of the priestesses for her ceremony on New Year’s Eve, I was also glad of the heads-up, so I could make sure to pee in advance! LOL)
I also share her perspective in that essay, that life can be made a bit easier by actively choosing interpretations that lead toward happiness. Believing that the world isn’t “out to get me” is generally a stronger, more empowered position to take, in many cases leading to my being able to see more options and possibilities than I could from the “poor me” position.
I also feel it’s important, though, to honor that for some folks — e.g., clinically depressed, or recently bereaved — the ability to make the most empowered interpretation just isn’t there. And in fact, to ask such folks to “cheer up” or “look on the bright side” can be not only annoying, but possibly even damaging. Our feelings are there for a reason, and trying to skip over feeling “bad feelings,” — like being sad, or even angry — can mess us up farther down the line. It can be like a physical wound: If we feel the pain, tend to it right away, and take appropriate action, then we have a better chance to heal completely. If we try to ignore it or just cover it up, sometimes it will heal on its own… but often it will scar, or become infected, and then it’s much harder to deal with over the long run.
So, too, it can be unrealistic to expect people to “just feel happy,” or to be “joyful, in honor of the season.” Sometimes it’s important to allow people some room for “humbug.” You don’t have to agree with them in their view, necessarily, but you also don’t have to try to talk them out of their mood, either.
I also want to honor all of those who have lost people recently, or are struggling with pain, depression, illness, and potential loss. Again, it’s great to want to help out, and to cheer them up. Do it! Please do invite your friends to do fun things with you! But please also be sensitive to the fact that the response to your invitation might be ‘no,’ and that’s ok. Really, it’s ok to just want to stay home with a good book. (Yes, even if you’re not depressed! Introverts need love, too!)
(By the way, for further information about depression, there are a couple of awesome posts over at Hyperbole and a Half, about depression, and what it does. I highly recommend reading them if you or anyone you love has ever struggled with depression.)
I’m personally highly aware of the recent passing (Dec 21, 2014) of my dear friend and former-lover Matt Shelton. There have been other passings this year for me as well, at various levels of association from friends to “just a fan” — mentor Morning Glory Zell, the incomparable Robin Williams, and a metamour of mine, Ara, all spring to mind. And one of my partners has been struggling with a string of bereavements that now includes 5 people in 8 months, and his father having passed away on January 1.
Therefore, while it’s definitely important not to see plumbing issues and similar curve balls as “harbingers of doom,” nor as “evidence” that the world is out to get me, I also need to have compassion for others — and for myself — who may not be feeling quite in the holly jolly mood at any given moment. Fortunately, feelings — when I allow myself to feel them — DO pass. (Though if they don’t pass, and stick around for months or longer, it might be time to seek professional grief or other counseling.)
For me, having compassion also includes feeling compassion for myself for having started this post on Wednesday, but not having finished till Monday. *wry smile* Being present for the ritual, connecting with friends in real life, and supporting my partner through grief were more important than writing at this time.
What things do you need to have compassion for yourself around? Where can you be more loving toward others? And what things might you just need to let go of, learn a lesson from, or otherwise transform into a powerful choice?
Wishing you compassion and powerful choices in this season of the new year. And may you always remember:
No matter who or how many you love,
PS: If your challenges include needing a new cell phone case, or buying birthday or advance valentine’s gifts, check out my Zazzle Store: http://www.zazzle.com/LoveOutsideTheBox* Lots of fun stuff with poly-friendly designs and themes!
©2015, Dawn M. Davidson
Tonight, I am having a Commitment Ceremony for a vow that will last a year. It’s New Year’s Eve. After the year, we will have an opportunity to renew, release, or deepen our commitment. Two days ago my toilets all blocked up. I have 3 plumbers here furiously working to unplug them. What does it mean?
There was a time in my life that I focused on the tragedies in my own life, and in the world. I regularly found evidence that it was all going to hell, and I had a right to be angry, or depressed.
Everything was a sign or symbol that things wouldn’t work out, or I wasn’t safe. People I dated, or befriended, were attractive enemies. I was waiting nervously until they proved themselves to be untrustworthy.
Once upon a time in my life, I lived trapped, powerless, the very clothes on my back and each bite of food in my mouth, was dependent upon the approval of my care givers. These capricious, & powerful beings could be kind or tyrannical. They could make and break rules at their whim. It was crazy making. It was home.
But one day I reached a magical age of release. I moved away. I got therapy, 12-step, workshops, trainings, traveled, introspected, did rituals. I got better. I kept working on myself. Bit by bit I grew in health, beauty, and power. I became a Noble Queen with a mission, a realm, and the understanding that with power comes responsibility.
I committed to always be working on myself. To know that part of me would always remain unknown, and that in those parts of me would be behaviors, myths, fears, and reactions that could hurt me and others.
I realized that the Ogres of my childhood were adult bodies wrapped around wounded children. The years went by but they never looked within to heal from their own battered beginnings. They gained size, skill, and age. They did not become whole.
Today I know that age does not guarantee wisdom nor maturity. Youth does not guarantee ignorance nor immaturity. I realize that if we are over 18 and out of our parents home, that we have the POWER each day, to live boundaried by our own unconscious limits, OR to heal & create our own meaning.
Sometimes I fall or falter. Sometimes I forget my own power. Sometimes I am stuck, and wandering in circles around a cesspool of my own making. And when I do I love & forgive myself. But not today!
Today, I choose the meaning of my Toilets Bursting to be cleaning out old sludge before a new beginning.
I smile! I have broken the curse of generations. I have claimed my own power to make of the circumstances that happen, my own way. I am free!
What are you making the challenges in your life mean? Can I help you break free?
Happy and blessed New Year to you! May you create it to be heroic and triumphant for you no matter what happens.
May you always know how powerful you are,