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Posts Tagged ‘lessons’

So here we go again, something that seems to have become an annual tradition here at the Palace, my new year’s “realizations.”  While others make resolutions about what they want to see happen in the new year, I find it much more helpful to look back at the year that has passed and examine the lessons I have learned (or should have learned) from the last 12 months.

1) Tears don’t fix things, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable.  They don’t solve problems or heal wounds or right what has gone wrong but sometimes they help.  They help wash away the pain for long enough that I can get up off the floor and get back to what I’m supposed to be doing, even if just for a short period of time.  Don’t fight the tears; they come for a reason.  They come when the pain is too much to keep inside and it needs to be released.  Embrace the tears, welcome them and appreciate their purpose.  Let them come, and when they’re done, wipe away what’s left and go on.

2) I have no idea what’s going on in other people’s minds and guessing just makes things worse.  It’s hard enough to figure out my own motivation for doing things, let alone trying to guess what makes other people tick.  I assume I know you, I assume I know what you’re going through and how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.  But I don’t.  I don’t have a clue.  I don’t know any of it and trying to guess is unfair to you.  If you want me to know, you’ll tell me and then we’ll deal with it together.  In the meantime, I’ll be over here trying to figure out my own shit.

3) I’m tired of being sorry.  I’m tired of assuming that I should be sorry for things, even if I don’t specifically know what they are.  I’m tired of apologizing for things I don’t think are wrong.  So I’m not going to do it any more.  And I’m not even going to be sorry about it.

4) There is very little in the world that I can control so I need to stop thinking I can.  I have spent a lot of time in the last 12 months thinking that if only I had done things differently, they wouldn’t have turned out the way they did.  Now I finally realize that I’ve given myself way too much credit.  I can’t control the universe or fate or karma or the thoughts and opinions of others.  I can barely control my own thoughts.  It’s time to stop thinking otherwise.  Maybe that will stop me from feeling like a failure most of the time.

5) Life is tough and it takes work, hard work, to get through it.  But at the end of the day it’s worth it.  It’s worth the hard work and the sweat and the tears and the back-breaking weight of it all.  Because there are moments that make it seem like not so much work after all, and that’s what I have to strive for; to push my way through the work to get to the reward.  And then to enjoy the reward when I get there and appreciate the work it took.  Even if it’s just for a moment, just for one breath or one giggle or one hug.  I will let those things fill me back up and give me the strength to get to the next one.  That’s what it’s about.

Now let’s just hope I can remember these lessons going forward, so that I don’t have to keep learning them over and over and over again.  Because I’m sure 2014 will have its share of things to teach me, whether I want to learn them or not!

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Last year when I sat down to write my “end of one year / beginning of another year” post, I just couldn’t find it anywhere inside me to make resolutions. I’ve never been a resolution person. Not because I don’t want to be, rather because I’ve done it a few times in the past and by about February I either can’t remember what any of my resolutions were, or they are no longer things I want to spend the next 11 months trying to accomplish. Either way, my resolutions never happen. They get made and broken, made and forgotten, made and ignored.

So last year I decided I’m done with resolutions. What I did instead was come up with a list of realizations. Rather than looking forward to what I want to accomplish in the coming year, I looked back on what I had learned from the year just past; things that I needed to come to terms with, things that I needed to realize and let go of so I could start the new year fresh, unencumbered. So last year I wrote a post entitled “new year’s resolutions” and I was pretty happy with it so I thought maybe I would make a tradition of it.

And so, without further ado, here are my 2012 new year’s realizations:

1) fear the known, not the unknown – doing something new and different is scary but the idea of never trying anything, of living a life spent doing the same things over and over again, is even scarier.

2) do the work – dreaming is great, nothing in life can start without a dream, but a dream is just a beginning. If you want to make that dream into something more than just a beginning, you have to be willing to do the work. Dreams don’t come true just because you dream them, they need some good old fashioned hard work to push them across the finish line.

3) signs are suggestions, not directions – I spent much of 2012 waiting for ‘signs’ to show me the paths I should take and confirm that the decisions and changes I was planning to make were the right ones. And sometimes I found the signs and became confident that it meant I was moving in the right direction. But then I realized that although the sign may be confirming my choice, it did nothing to show me how to get where I wanted to go. I saw the sign and was still lost. The universe can provide the signs, I still need to come up with the map.

4) worrying about everything doesn’t protect you from anything – enough said.

5) if you have all the answers, you’re not asking the right questions – I seek answers in life, just as we all do, answers to all of the questions that run around in my head, big ones, little ones, a million different questions. I used to think life would be better if I could just get answers for all of those questions. Then I realized how awful it would be to run out of questions.

6) it’s okay to do things for no reason – self-reflection and contemplation are good things. Incessant knit-picking and analyzing are not. Sometimes I do things for no reason and it’s okay, I don’t need to take a pause and reflect on ‘why’ – I just need to chalk it up to me being me and move on.

7) leave space for the surprises – if everything is planned out, every minute of every day and every month of every year, there’s no room for the unexpected. No time left for those pockets of wonder that make life worth living. The plan will always be there but the pockets are fleeting.

So there they are, my realizations and lessons learned when looking back at 2012. I have absolutely no idea what 2013 is going to have in store for me but I’m excited for the ride, and hopeful for what may come my way.

Happy New Year.

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