Winter wind howls outside, whistling through old windows. I sit here in the near dark and start this blog and wonder what the heck I'm doing. The day's earlier bravery has all but deserted me. I'm on Day 2 of my new year's plan and am already so far out of my comfort zone. Right now, the prospect of 363 more days like this don't sound appealing . . .not at all.
But. My code word for today is "smile." At others, as I usually do, but more importantly, at myself. So, I have just stretched my cheeks into a smiley sort of grimace, wide enough to make my dimples appear. And yes, it is working, lightening my heart just enough so that my shoulders relax. A sigh escapes and I feel the tiniest bubble of resurgent joy.
For the past three years, as I have tried to lean into life, I have chosen mottos for the year. 2006 was my Year of No Regrets. 2007, the Year of Full Emergence. 2008, the Year of the Holy Here and Now.
As 2008 drew to a close, I had to listen really hard until one day, a couple weeks ago, I heard just a whisper . . . I didn't understand the point of what I was hearing, or so I thought. Actually, I did not WANT to understand the idea--did not WANT to have a year's plan so amorphous, so undefined, so boundaryless.
But these last few years, I have learned to listen, because it is way easier to follow inspiration than to backtrack.
So, the banner over my 2009--my guiding light--my inspiration for each day is: What if?
Yeah, I know. "What if" WHAT???? Exactly. I have NO clue where paying attention to this idea will take me each day. The range of possibilities is truly infinite. All I know is that (I THINK) it is supposed to be something measurable . . . something that, at the end of the day, I can evaluate whether or not I "did" it. . .
All I do, so far, is pose the question, early in the morning . . . "What if . . . ?" and then listen. Yesterday, not surprisingly, I heard "What if . . . you were very gentle with yourself through this first day?" The day ended up being full of accomplishments and joys, and throughout it I stopped often to give myself a mental hug, and I really felt the impact.
Today, Day 2, as soon as I posed the "What if . . . ," I heard " . . .you smiled at everyone today, including yourself?" Well, I usually make a point to smile at others, but I REALLY amped it up today; but the difference is that, many times, I smiled just at me. And wow. I FELT it. Nearly every time, I had a physical response, an upswell of joy, when I got smiled at by me.
Who knows where the days and weeks and months ahead might lead me? I can imagine a rainbow of options: What if . . . I spent the day naked? signed up for skydiving lessons? spoke only in whispers? walked backwards? put my clothes on inside-out?
My only commitment is NOT to force the answers, the leadings . . . I am trusting that I've been led to this idea, and therefore I am trusting that each day will issue an invitation to me.
I feel as if I have been "in transition" forever and always. So many difficult human experiences have left their imprint on me, and their odor. I am ready for new. I am ready to step away from the handrail, let go of the rope securing me to the dock, get up off my chair and out onto the dance floor. I've been doing this in varying degrees these past few years, but I sense that this year's call--my "What if" year--is meant to be a fullout effort--all-or-nothing--and I choose ALL.
If anyone out there, (except my daughter who already mostly understands me), is reading this, and wonders WHAT THE HECK this woman is prattling on about . . . here are some human details. My dad left when I was 2. Family unit was basically me and sister and mother, with older brother away at school. Abusive grandfather lived on other side of house, limiting my involvement with wonderful grandmother. Dad came back, briefly, when I was 6, just long enough to commit incest. 31 years of repressed memories followed, during which I married, raised 3 children. Husband chose to leave me after 33 years of marriage. I've been living alone since 2004, single since 2007.
I am SO TIRED of having pain leave tracks on my soul. I am commited, with every sliver of my being, to letting innate joy and indwelling God/goodness paint the fabric of my days. I have tried to "do right" all my life, exhausting myself in the search for The Rule Book, which, if I could find, I would obey in every aspect and thus prevent pain . . yeah. I now officially give up that search. I trust the God Who made me, to guide me. I commit to being loving and honest. All the rest I let go of.
I have no idea how this next year will play out. I only know that, ready or not, here I come.