And so we are here at the end of another year and we look to the horizon for beginning again. What have I learned in 2016? Good question to reflect upon. I have found that being aware of my learning does help me integrate the lessons in hopes of “progressing” on the path. It is questionable if there is such a thing as progress. Nevertheless I reflect on this year and remember learning to let go again and again of what I thought should be.
I started the year feeling sick and struggling with a respiratory infection for several months. I spent many days in bed resting, reading, and waiting to feel better. This was a slow process and took much longer than I’d anticipated or wanted it to take. I remember wresting with conflict in regards to feeling guilty about being “out of commission” so long and really enjoying the space and time to not be expected to produce and be “in commission.” I learned some about be-ing rather than do-ing. Valuable lesson.
This year I began my studies with Chris Zydel in the intuitive artist teacher training program. This has gifted me to continue to find joy, vitality, and deep spiritual connection within myself through the use of expressive arts; especially painting visual art. One of the greatest lessons learned in this program has been the gift of compassionate presence for myself; allowing me to be seen and heard by myself and others. This too is about honoring my be-ing rather than my do-ing.
I experienced lots of family transitions this year reflected in the remodeling project we did in our house over a 4 month period. There was a great deal of upheaval and chaos created as we moved everything out of the kitchen, dining room, and living room into the family room. A major shifting of so much and opportunity to examine every item owned and determine whether it is still needed. This paralleled the process of internal examining of what patterns/beliefs are life-giving and what can be released. My husband, Jeff, and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. This year we again made choices to nurture our relationship remaining engaged with each other and allowing our marriage to change and grow.
In the summer of this year, July 12, we were stunned and elated that Jeff received 3 stents in his arteries after an exploratory angiogram. I learned a deeper sense of gratitude as all of life could have been so different. Another chance, more time, and a reminder to not take life for granted.
The end of the summer found our youngest son, Isaac, leaving home to attend high school at Perpich Center for the Arts. What a difference our lives were without his vitality and everlasting energy present. He has done very well and is a natural at finding his wings. My lesson here has been to continue to love and support without smothering the chicklet.
September through mid December brought deeper lessons. Our daughter, Anna, experienced anxiety induced insomnia which landed her in the Mental Health Unit in the local hospital for 3.5 months! This was unbelievably difficult. Here I learned about living with the contradiction of being brave/strong while shaking and being so scared. I learned about being powerless and ultimately having to surrender to the mercy of what is….one minute at a time. I learned about my own limits and about asking for help and the gift of being empowered by the love and support of others.
All in all an amazing year of grace, growth, insight, integration, wisdom, compassion, kindness, and love. Not so easy but so rich.