Tag Archives: trust

A New Year, A New Chance

A New Year, A New Chance

I committed the cardinal blog sin and didn’t update a cliff-hanger blog.  I suppose the excuse that “I’ve had a lot going on” is the token excuse that we all tend to insert when things in our lives don’t get updated or addressed or completed…but I’m going to go ahead and use it. “I’ve had a lot going on.” 

The update is that after some follow-up tests, the ever-growing baby inside my ever-growing belly is thus far healthy.  I broke down in tears (as I’ve done over just about everything in this heightened hormonal state) when I found out the baby wasn’t going to start out at a genetic disadvantage. It wasn’t that the baby would have been any less special and central in my life, but it was most definitely the fear that I simply couldn’t do it on my own.  

But the good news coupled with a new year brought a bit of a sense of hope to my quivering psyche. As I sat with countless hot chocolates in my comfy, baggy pjs over Christmas, I looked around with newfound gratitude at the gift my family is…surrounded with ecstatic kids ripping through gift after gift and loving hands placed on my popped belly. 

I think it’s a universal outlook any one of us can take in this new year. No matter how much shit we were hit with last year, the beauty of a NEW year is a sense of a fresh start. Just like today is a new chance to remedy yesterday’s miserable mistakes, this year is a whole new year. Here are some additional encouragments about this year you may not have been aware of. In the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the Horse. The spirit of the horse is recognized in people’s unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is designated with the characteristics of energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. …not a bad grouping for a year if you ask me. 

The truth is, none of us is starting out at a disadvantage in this new year. We are simply starting out.  Being pregnant (sans job) is just a part of life… as are any of our predicaments.  Whether it’s divorce, unemployment, surpise prenancy, health problems, money problems, deployed away from family, heartache, heartbreak, loneliness, lost soul, or devastating loss, the fact is that if you stop and look around, we all have one or more of those checkmarks to claim at any given point…Lord knows I’m no stranger to many of those things! It’s not at all belittling to say those things are just circumstances…the setting and props on the stage of which you are the star.  And this is a new act. You know that saying, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you choose to do with it.”  It’s not the setting of your stage that defines you, it’s YOU who defines you.  The actor, and not the props, is what matters the most. In other words, don’t submit to your props! You’re not the victim; you’re the star…now BE the star.

Give yourself the gift of a deep breath in, the faith in the knowledge that simply by being alive, you’ve been given the gift of another new year, and a whole new chance to discover and experience the gifts of life being presented to you. For me, I suspect my gift this year will come in a little blue bundle (it’s a boy, by the way). It’s taken a readjustment to see this as a “gift,” but I think life’s Author just might know me better than I do. For my sister exhausted with three kids, it may come in the moments of laughter she holds onto each day from funny or ridiculous things her kids do and say. For my other sister planning her May wedding, it will come in a new life joined with someone she loves very much. For my 90-year old grandpa, it comes in moments like L.A. Lakers victories, and phone calls and visits from grandchildren, as well as his ever-professed satisfaction with having lived a good and full life overflowing with love. For my friends in Afghanistan, it’s in Skype calls with family, care packages, and sitting around the hooka appreciating the friendships that have formed in a far-off land. These gifts are otherwise known as joy. Let yourself be open enough to be surprised by joy this year!

Power in Emotion

Power in Emotion

“Sometimes I feel as though there are two me’s, one coasting directly on top of the other: the superficial me, who nods when she’s supposed to nod and says what she’s supposed to say, and some other, deeper part, the part that worries and dreams… Most of the time they move along in sync and I hardly notice the split, but sometimes it feels as though I’m two whole different people and I could rip apart at any second.” ~Lauren Oliver

I have a bit of a plug stuck in my mouth when it comes to verbalizing just what it is I’m feeling…especially any negative feelings. I can cry for a week straight, then when someone asks how I’m feeling, I say with a straight face that I do not know. Maybe it’s the whole growing up in a Catholic family where you don’t really talk about the negative emotions – you just remove yourself from the situation and try to think about something else. It turns out, go figure, that walking away and ignoring negative emotions not only hurts our bodies physically with added internal stress leading to a depleted immune system, but it also takes away our own personal power. When we walk away and look the other way from our own emotions, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to choose how to respond to difficult situations. In essence, I stifle myself from maturing and gaining experience from the tough stuff of life…and I prevent myself from knowing ME better.

Here’s my lesson for myself for the day: If I feel anger, frustration, rejection, hurt or humiliation, I should recognize that I have choices…and from those choices I can either choose to gain or lose power through acknowledging what I’m feeling. So often we try to push the emotions down and away to escape suffering, but that ends up working against us. It creates a sort of pressure cooker that will fester and eventually blow up.

Finding the ability to recognize what is physically going on inside of you can be a challenge in itself, especially if you were in the habit (like me) of stuffing it back inside for decades at a time. But mustering up the courage and willingness to verbalize what you are feeling – even if just to yourself – can be a very healing experience. Don’t vent and blame, but trust yourself or someone else to listen open-heartedly to what you have to say. It can be a tremendous source of relief to have someone you feel safe enough to share your true feelings with. I grew up writing feelings in journals, but I never got in the habit of sharing with others, and it’s been a long adult life lesson to see the necessity of knowing and sharing my feelings with others in order to have deeper and more intimate and real relationships. We don’t always understand why we feel what we do, but our feelings have validity. I often feel as if I shouldn’t feel particular feelings – like I don’t have a right to be sad or upset – but learning that I am free to feel and am not wrong to feel, and I have a right to share those feelings, I come to a new personal freedom…not to mention I save my body from another internal beating.

It’s much easier for me to know and identify the good feelings…contentment, fired up, relieved, mellow. No problemo. But the bad ones are a big problemo para mi. By the way, I’m writing this from Los Angeles as I visit my grandpa, so maybe that’s why my Espanol is coming out…don’t get much of that in Hawaii! As I was researching emotions, I found some helpful charts (below) to help us all identify just what it is we’re feeling.

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” ~Mr. Rogers

“The best way out is always through.” ~Robert Frost

…or for those of you who prefer pictures…

Some of these thoughts were found from the article The Matrix of Emotions.