After a year which might be described as my personal annus horribilis I know I have survived it and I can account for myself being present to all the heart aches and traumas delivered in multiple blows. There is room for alcoholic lemonade and there will perhaps be more of that brew in 2019, and while a year is just a mark of time, it is a way of gathering up moments and endeavours, and noticing the sprints and marathons endured. I am grateful beyond measure to those who took up my invitation to be witnesses to my year, to those who have been guides and others who have been messengers. To the invitations extended even when they knew they would be rejected and the ones extended knowing they would be accepted. To the offerings that came wrapped with ribbons and bows and to the ones that arrived unwelcome and unannounced, all have been part of the never ending call and response pattern we dance to in this journey of life. To stay upright some days was nigh impossible, yet the moon sets and the sun rises with promise and certainty whatever else is going on in the world or my micro experience of that world, the beauty of the seasons coming and going, the planet turning and returning brings me back and propels me forward in equal measure.
Being unsettled and dithery has become second nature, as has renewed courage and certainty – everything inside and outside of me seems to be a paradox in flux, and I am not quite able to find a way to settle. Being unsettled might be the state of play and instead of trying to settle rest into the restlessness. This is an interesting call and maybe in its own way bring adventure and surprises. Watching a fairly second rate movie when one of the actresses admonished her friend for having been so settled into aloneness said – you can choose to be happy, and reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, she writes of failure being a feeling long before it is an action. These twin instructions have called to me this week and I wonder if they might be messages to begin the new year, or perhaps more powerfully, ones to help me end the year with?
By this time of the year I usually have decided on a theme for my next year’s blog. There has been a lot of support for continuing with a theme around self-compassion. This feels right and an act of kindness to myself and possibly readers alike. What might a gentle approach look like to accompany some of other feelings that are bubbling up in me? During 2018 I read The Power by Naomi Alderman and just finished Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister two must reads for those seeking to get a handle of the application of a gender lens to all kinds of things from climate change to #metoo. I am ending 2018 and beginning 2019 by arriving in the republic of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This amazing woman, youngest to be elected to the US Congress is giving me hope bringing messages and actions of generational change, cultural, climatic and economic disruption. The disruption we need on this planet is ground up democracy, organising is the only thing that has ever worked. We need to organise our thoughts, our neighbours, our electoral rolls and get out to vote for the many not the few.
Igniting my own energy and tapping into some of the anger fuelling the gender and equity movements, the climate activists and those seeking justice for all kinds of issues, I feel closer to blessed unrest than to self-compassion. There is no time to wait to be asked, or to stand in line for it to be your turn, or to wait for the right moment. Having turned sixty I feel an urgency, and pent up impatience to draw on to start the new year.
2019 is shaping up and sparks will fly. As witness, guide, broker, enabler, one way or another I am looking for sparks to take flight and light up corners and crannies inside and outside of my self and as I look some may come to me and other sparks I might have to make with filings and flint I find around me. One way or another, sparks will fly as a theme to embrace what rubs and what ignites will be a great blog theme for 2019 and there will be room for self-compassion.