The Gift in Hard: Thoughts on Peace and the Heartbreak of 2016
This year has been hard. A peaceful start and then it quickly turned stormy. I have been tested. Tempted by dreamland desire and wishful thinking. Pulled back towards people and ideas and things I had already let go of, for good reason.
Not heeding warnings deep in my gut, I found myself lost and uncertain. Heartbroken. Depressed. Heavy. Weighed down by old doubts and fears.
On the brink of breaking down beyond repair I was smacked awake. Brought back to myself by family and friends and colleagues. Held. Shaken. Called forward. Gently, and fiercely. Reminded again and again of who I am.
Reminded that I am okay. That it is all okay, just as it is. There is nothing to fix. There is no where to get to. All of this is life. All of this in the cards, for all of us. There is no escaping the heartbreak. And there is certainly no escaping the love.
This was a hard year, yes. Not just for me, personally, but for the world. So many painful events. Testing us. Breaking us down. Causing us to fear we are being pulled backwards as a species into ways of interacting with each other and the world we had already let go of, for good reason.
But I am still here. You are still here. And we are still here to shake each other awake, to call each other forward and to remind each other fiercely of who we are. We cannot run any longer. Not from our pain. And certainly not from our love.
Even the heaviness can be a gift. Holding us in place, grounded and present. Forcing us to receive the life all around us.
So, let us look back on this year and be grateful for all of the smiles and all of the tears, and for the breath of life that still flows from our lips.
There is so much hurting in the world, but there is so much kindness too. If we focus on fixing things we think bad or wrong or broken, we fail to see the beauty and the love. We fail to see that it is only in the darkness of the night we can know ourselves as the creator of our own light.
Being thrown into darkness and being forced to find we are okay is painful, yes. But it is also a great gift. It is the opportunity for each of us to know our own power to create an inner world for ourselves of peace. It is the opportunity for each of us to fiercely protect our own compassionate state.
Gandhi and Mandela found peace in jail. Jesus found peace nailed to a cross. When we can write a story for ourselves that allows peace through all of it, that is true power. That is the healing our world needs. That is love.
This is the opportunity the darkness of 2016 has given us. The opportunity to stop running so fast and so hard at the expense of our health and that of the world. The opportunity to hold our experience of life in a peaceful glow.
2016 was the year I let go of my story of struggle and escape, and began to live a new story of peace in my own life. Rewriting this inner story has been challenging. I have been tested in many ways. And I have found the faith it takes to stay.
In staying I am learning how loved I am in my life exactly as it is, with all its imperfections. And I am learning how much love there is in all of life, even the parts that are heartbreaking and hard.
Yes, 2016 was a hard year. But it was also a year of many gifts.
I love 2016 because I published my first two books and filled a life long dream of being able to call myself an author. I rediscovered my feminine power and my fierce protective inner mother. I found there is nourishment and joy in working towards something long term. I created a community and a home filled with so much love it is challenging for my heart to let it all in. I rekindled, and lost, and rekindled again, my passion for the practice of law. I found the courage to be fully honest in relationship, to humble myself, to allow myself to be wrong, to let go of the kind of love that does not serve me, and to forgive myself for risking my heart against the wise warning of my gut.
In 2016 I found peace in all of the human moments, from depression and heartbreak and fear to inspiration and fire and love. I kept walking forward through raging storms. I kept putting one foot in front of the other despite I could not always see where I was going, and despite I was at times moving so slowly it felt like I was not moving at all. I trusted myself and loved ones and strangers and the world, though each broke my heart many times. I found faith to keep my commitments and am discovering the rich beauty of life on the other side.
I can honestly say am grateful for life in all its messiness. I am present and grounded and peaceful in a way I have never been. I am in love with this slow walk across the tightrope. I am excited to keep building my life from this beautiful foundation I have created. And I am filled with a love big enough to hold all of what 2017 might offer.
Sending you love, friends, and a prayer of peace, as we take the first step forward into the beautiful uncertainty of this new year.