Monday, December 31, 2007

Au Revoir, 2007

Saying goodbye to 2007 seems apt. It feels as though I've really said goodbye to a lot this year... to people in my life, to notions about myself and what I was pursuing, among other things. I started this year in a somewhat turbulent way. I knew I needed to make major changes in my life (again) and after some very precarious decisions and truly, putting myself out on a lonely limb, I realized those changes.

Part of changing requires some serious self-reflection and then an awkward state of transition. The transition is necessary and often transition makes us feel weird about things. Of course, life is a series of transitioning but do we really embrace that transitioning and all that it brings? For me, it is how I emerge that makes all the difference. Those months of weirdness were really tough and quite lonely but necessarily so in order to emerge with a renewed sense of hope and stronger sense of self and purpose. 

I am finally starting to feel that renewed sense of hope and starting to feel stronger about myself and the pursuit of my dreams. I recognize that I quieted my dreams in 2007 without realizing it.  There are always challenges, though. I feel that I have really thrown myself willingly into self evolution and there are a lot of ups and downs when one does such. I am starting to realize more fully why people don't eagerly pursue full lives. It is hard work to deconstruct much of what you've convinced yourself over the entirety of your life. Deconstruction requires dealing with all the pieces... all those misconceptions about self, society, dreams. For me it seems to be cyclical... weeks in which I feel so alive and abundant, then a stretch of inner turmoil and self questioning. 

Saying goodbye to 2007 is easy for me to do. I always find myself eager to march forward but try to keep sight of what I've been through and what it has taught me. Here are a few of the significant lessons/thoughts/etc. that I retain from 2007 and take with me into 2008:

-Acceptance. Of self, others, life. I've been working on acceptance for many years now and each year I feel significantly better about my acceptance of others and acceptance of life in general. Self acceptance is more challenging for me but I am making progress. 2007 has been huge for me where acceptance is concerned.

-Authenticity. Being myself feels really good. When I pursue that which is important to me, I feel most alive and authentic. And I see the authenticity/lack of in others more clearly. I want to be surrounded by authentic people and hopefully, inspire those who have lost sight of their authentic selves.

-Loving freely feels really great. It requires much vulnerability and accepting the pain of past experiences, but to love so willingly and openly fills my heart and soul. 

-When you pursue your dreams, amazing things happen. I find that when I am focused on my dream of going to France, hidden hands emerge, opportunities abound, and I feel most authentic and happy, without much effort.

-The kindness and generosity of others never ceases to inspire me. 

-There are profound connections in life. I have met a handful of people in my life in which the connection between us was so profound and real from the moment we met. This isn't so much a lesson as it is a rewarding realization. 

-A life lived in pursuit of my dreams is the only life for me. 

-Progress is not measured by speed. Small steps are all that is required but I must not stop taking those small steps. 

-Being open to the possibilities of life is the only way to find happiness. The surprises/unexpected qualities of life are often the most beautiful and fulfilling. I may know what my Personal Legend is but there will be many surprises along the way and beyond. As much as I look forward to being in France this year, I know that is only a small part of the overall experience. 

And on that note, I step into 2008... hopeful, open, and vulnerable. 


Randal Graves said...

The fact that you realized what you want to do, what you NEED to do, will make 2008 a great year for you. But please, no mention of deconstructionists. I hate those bastards. ;-)

Happy new year and keep posting stuff like this!

b said...

Randal... I truly believe you are right. Why does it seem so difficult at times to step toward that which is just naturally right for us, however? There will continue to be challenges for sure, but most of those challenges lie within us. Haha... no deconstructionists, just breaking down those misconceptions of myself, I promise! :)

Happy New Year to you. So happy to know you. I appreciate your continual encouragement and sense of humor!!

La Belette Rouge said...

As always, very inspiring post!
I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating, I am so inspired by your willingness to fully share your journey with us---even the parts about the loss and doubt. Acceptance and authenticity are words that characterize your writing and who you are.

When I read about the kindness and generosity you have experienced---I think of the extraordinary kindness and generosities you have shown me, which have been nothing less than profound.

Yes, I agree that it takes great courage to follow your dreams but with just a few well placed steps the rewards start rolling in—and ways I would have never imagined---at least they have been for me. And, once you have taken the leap and started to experience the rewards. Why would anyone want to live any other way? And, I think that the greater the risk the greater the reward. No?

I so look forward to witnessing the next steps on your journey and I am so happy to share a part of it with you in Paris. Bastille Day, 2008!

Happy 2008, B! And, here’s to living an authentic, deep life of profound openness to our dreams. I’ll drink to that!! Cheers!
Your pal,

Richard said...

Glad to be inspired by your positive outlook and ebullient enthusiasm.

Hope all goes as well as you envision in 2008.

I remember there was a great liberation when I set my own course and direction at university in Ottawa. Now I am married and other responsibilities and am not so free to just pick up and start anew.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


You words leave me smiling. It is with great hope we all go through another year and with that year new changes. But what I loved most about this piece was the last line that you , "... step into 2008, hopeful, open, and VULNERABLE. That word alone takes courage to say and even more courage to follow through with. Vulnerable means you are letting us that read your words and those that see you in everyday ways naked of baggage. It says, "I am here world, touch me, I dare you!", how wonderful for you and most admirable.

The best to you this New Year B. I have a feeling you deserve it.

Soft love,

Dr.Bethenais- Languedoc's Lady Doc said...

words to inspire and direct our intentions are part of the healing thread of honoring our place in the world--as you do so well! blessings for the new year

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful to just sit back at year's end and do a little self-analysis. You seem to do it so effortlessly. To be able to point out our strengths and weaknesses is a gift and an essential step for improving our lives. I have no doubt you will achieve whatever your heart desires.

b said...

LBR... Thank you so very much. You know you are one of those magical connections I speak of!! I certainly see the rewards of the baby steps I've already taken and it does give me renewed courage to take more steps. Your friendship is clearly a greater reward than I could have imagined!

That critical inner voice requires constant battling but I hope the more steps I take, the easier it will be to quiet that voice permanently.

Every time I receive a "reward" for pursuing this dream, I am overwhelmed with that sense you point out here: "why would anyone want to live any other way?" And yes, I absolutely agree that the greater the risk, the greater the reward, indeed! I truly believe in my heart that all I've been through and am going through will not be for naught...but only if I stay true to my dreams.

Thank you for sharing this journey. I have already turned to you in such huge ways and you readily and beautifully sing my song for me when I lose faith in my own voice/ability.

Paris and Bastille Day in Paris 2008... here we come!!! I will absolutely drink to "an authentic, deep life of profound openness to our dreams." And there is no one I'd rather drink to over that than you! :)

Merci beaucoup!

b said...

Richard... Thank you for the kind words. Sometimes I feel that my enthusiasm can be nauseating for others at times, but it is necessary for me to move forward and not return to stagnation!!

I know that with marriage and children come considerable responsibilities. But are there ways you can find liberation now in your life, even with those responsibilities? You may not be able to start "anew" in a physical sense but do you think that you can still start anew as a person?

b said...

Inside our Hands, Outside our Hearts... Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I honestly had tears in my eyes when I read this comment. Openly stating that I will be vulnerable is a difficult thing for me and yes, I suppose for anyone. But I realize that the only way I can grow is to be vulnerable. Every time I shut down or put that wall up, I alienate and limit myself considerably. I don't want that.

It is support like your comment that gives me strength and reinforces that being "naked" makes me feel the most alive. That feeling of being alive is so overwhelmingly fulfilling. I love what you say here about shouting out, "I am here, world, touch me, I dare you!" That is exactly how I feel. And it can be scary at times but again, it is the only way to really feel alive in my opinion.

Happy New Year to you as well, T. Thank you for inspiring me with your own blog! Your sincerity and kind spirit are felt strongly!

b said...

Betheanne... Thank you for stopping by my blog and for this very kind comment. I am so grateful for your encouragement. I wish you the best in the year ahead as well.

Zen Chef... Self analysis is often turbulent but profound. It comes rather easily for me at times and then at other times I feel myself wanting to close off. But I know the ramifications of closing off for an extended amount of time. It closes you off from the world, from living. Thank you for this comment. I too feel that I will achieve all that my heart desires but only if I remain open, vulnerable and have such wonderful people like you in my life to encourage me.

Take A Year Out said...

awkardness is growth... vulnerability is strength... authenticity is the truth... following your dreams is bliss.

keep following your path B.

carra said...

Firstly it is very beautiful to see your achievements, however small or big they seem to you, for most people it would be grand. Secondly I really do hope that you will continue pursuing your personal legend, it is a great thing when one realises what it is.
Your post as always is touching, almost if you were next to me telling me those things, how little is the distance in the matter of mind.
Happy New Year B, and I hope it will bring much more to you than the last year did, because you really undoubtedly deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your self reflective thoughts. There is a freeing element just writting them down. 2008 is going to be awesome.

For me, it's a bit difficult not to jump in when I know exactly what it is that I want. I have a very difficult time with sitting back and making the best decisions for the path I want to take. Thanks for the reminder. (i.e. I'm finding it difficult not to put my 2month notice in for work. Oy!)

Richard said...

Every life circumstance has its advantages and disadvantages. It probably wouldn't be so bad if I was keen on playing the role of the principle bread winner in the household and focus on my career. It is just that I don't want that role.

I don't want to reinvent myself (well, not much - I would prefer to be more a doer than a dreamer).

I don't know if enthusiasm is nauseating or not. I think it can be infectious. I think a lot depends on how the enthusiasm is presented and whether or not any of it is able to rub off on others.

mattbg said...

b... that is a very ambitious agenda for 2008, but I wish you luck with it!

What you said to richard about starting anew as a person inside a marriage was a bit strange to me. Doesn't the other person rely on you being who they married, to some degree? Choosing to spend your life with someone assumes that you can live with that person as they are. If they completely change, so does that proposition. Changing for the better may not be considered "better" by the other person... especially if you make them feel uncomfortable because of who they are themselves. They may not be ready to share the journey, and may feel that your change makes them look bad in contrast, regardless of how logical that is.

Again, though, all the best for the new year!

b said...

TAYO... Thank you for the endless encouragement. It seems that as we make this transition in life, we need to be constantly reminded of these truths. I am lucky to have you as a friend.

Carra... You are so very kind. I have to pursue my Personal Legend. It is the only life I will lead. In reading your blog, I so often feel that I am sitting with you as well. No doubt that is the bond of friendship. I wish we were sitting at that café in Paris across from the Louvre, sipping our Ricard and laughing at our flirtatious waiter! Happy New Year to you as well. I appreciate your kind words and friendship so much!

Matt...Thank you. In regards to your comment about marriage: we are constantly evolving. We should never expect that other person to be just as they are when we married them because that is unrealistic and really to me, undesirable.

I think that is why we must love a person for who they are at the core and who they strive to be. But do we love a person because of their job and their income or what they looked like on the day we marry them? If a person wanted to change their career or pursue a hobby more fully, what truly loving spouse would resent that?

I know it is by no means a simple proposition. Sometimes one spouse really wants to change things to be more themselves and the other might resent that because they feel like they must change too and maybe they are unwilling or afraid. How a couple manages the openness (or lack of) of their individual evolution together really seems huge to me.

Thanks for the stimulating consideration! Happy New Year to you as well.