Every year I go through this and every year I forget I've gone through it. Thanksgiving approaches, and I begin to look ahead to the holidays with giddy anticipation, starting my gift list and thinking about ideas for making the house sparkly. December begins and I hit the ground running - scouring Etsy for gifts, placing orders, getting our tree, wrapping gifts, packing boxes, making trips to the post office, writing Christmas cards. And then the day arrives when I'm suddenly fed up with all of it, missing my work, feeling like my time isn't mine, wishing I could take at least one day to turn the world off and be alone with my thoughts, a journal and a stack of books. As much as I've talked about dealing with the discomfort of so much stillness during the past few weeks, the stillness has only been with regard to my work. Beyond my work - in the world of laundry, errands, and gift wrapping - I've continued to be on the go. All the while trying to manage the emotional ups and downs of all the different stories playing out in our lives - stories within our family, with our health, with our friends and with each other. All overlapping and criss-crossing, challenging us in ways we likely need, frustrating us in ways we'd rather not be bothered with.
I haven't pushed myself to the edge of my reserves of energy and emotions; the good news is that although there has been much to attend to this month, I have been able to get through it all at a comfortable pace. Yes, there have been many presents to wrap but I have been able to give each of them time, attention and at least a little creative flair. The gift that this time has given me is presence - an ability to focus on what is in front of me rather than having to rush through it in order to tackle the next task. For that I am extremely grateful.
"Remember who you really are:
If the element of the truth seeker did not already exist within you, there would be no path, no discovery, no awakening of wisdom, no awakening of compassion.
But because the element of truth-seeker is within you, there is a part of you that already knows who you are and wants to awaken to this mystery. Because this is a part of you, it takes you on this journey of discovery."
This got me thinking about my own journey towards truthfulness, and all the layers of that experience. How I might be able to rationally recognize to truth of a situation, but it might take more months before I fully understand and embody that truth. I had an epiphany last week about one relationship in my life, wherein I recognized that our connection has evolved into one based entirely on an unspoken agreement to avoid, ignore and bury the truth. In that epiphany, I had to face the truth that I agreed to this, and this is such a new revelation that I don't yet know what to do with it. But rather than tackle it blindly, I am giving myself time and space to explore that truth, and see if I can find a somewhat peaceful way beyond it, towards a different dynamic, or perhaps the acceptance that this may be the best we can do.
When I look back at this year, I have many experiences and moments I can point to as "lessons learned", "wisdom gleaned", and one more layer in my quest for truthfulness unveiled. But the umbrella hanging above all of this has been an overriding desire to move through every story in my life as gently as possible, to practice more patience, stillness and compassion. To be willing to take a magnifying glass and search for whatever tidbit of truth that will enable me to stay soft and open-hearted. To be willing to respect what anyone in my life needs to do to take care of themselves, and also grant myself the same generosity. In that sense, this has been a year of great transformation, a shift that perhaps no one will even notice, but that I feel deep within my bones. A shift into acceptance of all that is, of putting into action the habits I talk of wanting to embody. A sinking in of the truth that there is no need to force anything - to shove a yes where a no might be enough, to squeeze a friendship into a space where neither of us feels comfortable. And to remember that amidst a field of endless possibilities, there will be, in the end, only one path that is mine, and that the more I trust it will unfold as it is supposed to, the brighter the light that will greet me when I pass through, beyond, and into the next realm.