Last year my phrase was Earn It!
I wish I could write a done and over with kind of a review for the last year’s phrase. I can’t though, for it is an on going process. For the rest of my life I will continue making an effort to earn the respect and regard of those who matter to me, while I ensure that other people earn my regard too. It is all too easy to slide down the slippery paths of the unearned the moment you get careless. Eternal vigilance!
I will, however, say a few things about the year gone by. I had decided not to go into an introspective journey back into the hazy lanes of 2013. But I forgot what the poet said about the plans of mice and men. Ever since I’ve woken up this morning, I have been going wandering off into the year that is about to slip away from us forever. It is time I acknowledged the things that made their deepest impact upon me last year.
Johnny’s sudden passing on brought the lesson of life’s fragility home to me as never before. I will never take life for granted again. I will never forget that everyone’s time on this earth is finite and transitory. I will never delude myself into thinking that my love can ever protect me from the pain of another’s going away. They must go when it is time for them to go. I will also not ever forget that when they go, they go home. I will always remember that the love you have for people doesn’t perish when they cross over. It remains, as alive, as vibrant and as soul- filling as it ever was.
The night I found that Johnny was no more, I was alone in a sterile hospital room, awaiting surgery in the morning. I still remember the screams which roused me at three in the morning. The family members of a patient who had the room next to mine began wailing and crying. By then I was exhausted with crying and had fallen into a numb, dry- eyed stupor.
The loud laments of these other people, who mourned their loved one, inexplicably set my teeth on edge. I didn’t feel any solidarity with them. There was no similarity between their sorrow and mine. I didn’t feel consoled by their grief. I dug my nails into my arm to stop myself from screaming hysterically. It was the longest hour of my life. But I lived through that night. Johnny would have been so proud of me.
I realized a few more things in the months that followed. Tears are a paltry expression of a sorrow as deep as Johnny’s passing away was to me. Moreover, what is it that I mourn? That I wont hear his voice at the other end of a brief International call? But he is the voice in my head. He talks to me all the time, how can that ever be taken away from me? As long as I live I will not forget the way he pronounced certain words.
He is surely happier where he is. Let me not disturb his well- earned peace by carrying on in a way that would make him let lose a few pithy Swahili expletives to hide that he is worried. He always said that he could make himself happy whenever he chose to- and that was very true. He could turn the most worrying, dismal moment around and have us giggling irreverently in seconds. He taught me to smile, and smile I will. He loved life so much; I must now live for two.
The year ended with happy news. My eldest one finished her graduation and got a job with a good company. She is to begin in the first week of January. 2013 has been a landmark year for her too. I pray that her 2014 brings her accolades. More than that, I hope it brings her the private, inner satisfaction which comes from knowing that you did a good job. May she learn pride in herself and to trust her abilities.
Now for the year that began a few hours ago. For 2014 my phrase is Step Out.
They say the only difference between stepping stones and stumbling blocks is the way you treat them. There are no stumbling blocks my path anymore; there are only stepping stones. There are two new things I have been working on for the past few months. Something within me has been stopping me from going ahead with them all this while; not anymore. I think it is time to set sail and leave the safe harbor.
When you cross a river by way of the stepping stones laid across it’s width, you take a risk. The stones are slippery with moss and the river swift. You may lose your footing. Yet you Step Out trusting in the Universe to guide you. You hand over the reigns to your inner being who knows well how to keep you balanced. Moreover, the river may not be as deep as you imagine it to be from the bank.
The far bank isn’t visible to you when you begin your journey. You have no idea if you will find a shady glade to rest in or a sticky, gooey mire to battle. Yet you leave the certainty of what you know and trust in your destiny. You don’t know where you will reach but you are prepared to deal with whatever comes. Something tells you it will for your good- one way or the other.
I am sure the cool water of the river will be refreshing. I might even sit on one of the stones in the middle of the river and dangle my feet in the water for a while. I might let her sing her eternal songs to me as I watch the quick fish dart within her depths. After all, the Destination isn’t the point; the Journey is.
Do you have a phrase for 2014- a phrase which will help you realign yourself whenever you feel you’ve steered away from your course? I recommend the process highly. It works pretty well. There is no guilt of unfulfilled resolutions because you are selecting a compass, not a to- do list. If you’ve been reading me in the past, you’ll know what I am not frightfully fond of to- do lists. They give me the creeps.
May this new year bring you many opportunities for discovering yourself. May you gift yourself the chance to go out on the limb and taste the sweetest of the fruit. May you give yourself the permission to Step Out of your own way.
Wish you and your loved ones a very happy MMXIV!