What the past has to say about the future…
I had my eyelashes “done” today. This very simply means I lay very still, mostly asleep, with my eyes taped shut, while a false eyelash is glued individually to each of my real lashes. After the young woman was done, she handed me a mirror to make sure it was to my liking. I looked at my reflection. It was me, but different. My eyes seemed to “pop” more and perhaps they shone a little bit more. It reminded me of this feeling I have had the last few weeks. Like me, but different. A bit more bright eyed and alive.
I refuse to live in the past. I don’t see the benefit of dwelling there. I definitely don’t want to take up residence and end up pulling apart and analyzing every piece. However, I do believe there is value in an occasional visit.
My mantra has been and remains, Present, Brave and Kind. Although taking a look back does not support the ideal of being Present, I do believe that reflection has an important role in my self development. Reflecting on the past and where I’ve been will help me understand where I want to go. A visit to the past will drive my intentions going forward and who I choose to become.
2016 was one of the most difficult years I can remember. It was full of injuries and broken pieces. I was determined for 2017 to be a better year. It marked the year that I pulled myself out from the darkest space I’ve ever been in and into a place of stunningly blinding light, love and self acceptance. In that journey, I learned some important lessons. It has also inspired me to want to know more and to maintain my grip on that strength of spirit that has brought me to a place of happiness and humour.
There were a few tangible, external achievements this year. I started this blog and returned to writing. I began a new job that allows more time for my passions outside of the workplace. I joined a running club and raced some of the toughest races I ever have, with a newly healed foot!
But more importantly, what I will hold onto going into 2018 are the lessons I have learned that have changed my heart, my mind and fueled my soul.
Authenticity. A buzzword. An ideal. The idea of being truly myself, first and foremost. It’s easier said than done. Being truly authentic includes being vulnerable and honest. Two things that are not easily embraced or accepted. There is a freedom in being authentic. There is a power in being unapologetically me and knowing that I’m a work in progress. And knowing that’s ok. It doesn’t mean being unkind or an asshole, but it does mean being honest and true to myself. Who do I want to be? Being authentic is being brave.
Acceptance. In the darkness I could not and would not accept myself for who I was. The worst judgements came from me. One of my greatest lessons is understanding and accepting my complete lack of control. In truth, the only thing I have control over are my reactions. That’s it. I can’t control how I’m received or perceived. People will see others and the world around them through the lens that they have built. I have no control. I also accept who and where I am because it’s where I’m meant to be and it’s perfect. I’m perfectly imperfect and that, too, is ok.
Within. In my search for happiness, joy and belonging, I found myself desperately hanging on to people, relationships and dynamics, hoping that they would bring me what I so passionately sought out. It didn’t. Happiness and belonging comes from within not from without. It’s not a person, a place, an object or a dynamic. Those things can contribute to my joy and belonging, but ultimately it’s all within me. The choice to be happy, the choice to feel joy and the choice to belong is made every day. And each time it comes from within. Once I found that, I could not “unfind” it and no one can take away my hope, my happiness or my belonging…not unless I let them.
Intuition. Your mind will tell you lies. It will rationalize anything you want it to. But your body won’t lead you astray. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Decide on the quality you want to have in your life and don’t settle for less.
Perhaps it’s an existential crisis, or a midlife crisis or simply the spirit of the holidays encouraging a feeling of whimsy and nostalgia but I hold true to my lessons. I will continue to endeavour to be Present, Brave and Kind. I will continue to redefine myself and who I want to be. And I will continue to dream and believe. But what the fuck do I know?