Yes, it has been an interesting year, and far from an easy one. I remember the sense of excitement I experienced at the beginning of lockdown, sensing the collective awakening that it would set in motion. This year has forced us to let go of our plans, hopes and dreams for the year, and our ability to control our activities, our finances and our social lives. We're still in a place of uncertainty of what next year will bring. This definitely feels strange and new. For me, I don't believe that security exists. I've rarely felt it, and I've learned to live without needing to feel it. Life likes to shake things up a bit when we get too secure. We like to cling onto the familiar but we are designed to keep growing and evolving. Life is simply giving us what we are afraid to allow for ourselves.
I found a new place to live in Brisbane and moved in on Monday. Ushering in the new year in a home that I am so excited about feels so right. There have been ups and downs, but as far as opportunities for learning, this year did not disappoint. I've discovered new levels of letting go, and I'm seeing more and more evidence that life is supporting me in my efforts to live a freer and happier life.
It really has taken a lot of practice over the last few years to learn to see things in different ways, to find a balance of creating change in my life and allowing things to play out. I no longer think that life is happening to me, but I do think that it's happening for me. Things that I might have seen as failures or disappointments, I now see as guidance in the paths that I am setting for myself, or reminders that I may not be heading where I want to go. In a clearer way, I'm saying that I believe that we have complete ownership over our lives, but that if we trust life / God / the universe to support us, they will help us to make those dreams a reality. When we expand, everything around us responds to that expansion, and then the world and the universe as a whole can evolve and expand. This is our only job and our reason for being!
In 2014, control over my life was taken away, piece by piece. I certainly didn't go down without a fight. It took five years to find out what was wrong with me and how to heal it. I now call it chronic fatigue, but it took several years to find a name for it. This is a physical illness with numerous physical and emotional causes. I felt like my body was failing me, but now I understand that it was saving me. It knew that I was incredibly burned out, and that I wouldn't be able to release the relentless pursuit of perfectionism without help. I've learned a lot this year with the return of some of these symptoms. I've now moved into a unit in which nothing is new, because it seems that there is still some chemical sensitively there. It's difficult for me to understand the science, but it's about the body's habit of thinking it needs to react to certain environmental toxins, like a gene or a switch that is turn on when it shouldn't be. I now understand that there is nothing about my health that needs to be fixed. I have done the work. I now think of the occasional symptoms as a reminder that my body doesn't like adrenalin and stress, and that although I can't completely avoid them, I can allow myself time to rest and recover when they happen.
So, for the sake of my health I made the decision to let go of my plans for the year and break a lease after 3 and half months, at a time when it wasn't a great time to break a lease. I found myself living where I didn't want to be, and paying out money for a place that I wasn't living in. My guru, the hairdresser, said that although I was not where I wanted to be, I was there for a reason, and that it might be years until I realize what that reason was. As for the money, she said not to give it a second thought, just to pay it, even if it meant paying it until the end of the lease - in May. I let it go. I accepted that I might be paying rent until May. I haven't calculated it, but there were a good three months of extra rent payments. Receiving the email that they had found a tenant felt like a wonderful surprise, and now I'm free to start again. With a lot of learning, I have realized that money only stays in people's lives when they have a strong mindset of loving it and deserving it. If we are not ready to receive money it will move on to someone else. So I continue to work on my money mindset, my ability to receive, and I let it go.
I had developed very strict control over my body for at least ten years before I became unwell and that control was taken away. When that happened, I was not happy, I can tell you. I thought it was incredibly unfair, after all the sacrifices I'd made. It was not just about accepting weight gain, it was about relinquishing the identity I'd created for myself, that I'd always wanted. My body wasn't giving me a choice but to let it heal, so after a lot of kicking and screaming I let it do so. Because of my lack of patience and acceptance, I put it through a grueling regime of intermittent fasting and keto last year, culminating this year in the most spectacular failure of dieting that I could ever have anticipated. I've realized, just in the last few days, that I haven't trusted my body with food since I was about eight years old. I never believed that it could handle this without my interference. Whoever is supporting me out there knows what I want - freedom from fear of food and a healthy body image for the rest of my life. Perhaps this is just a huge wake-up call that this is not the way to get there. I have to trust that my body knows the way.
There was one other thing that came along this year, the opportunity to apply for a PhD scholarship. This is something that I had put aside a few years ago, as a scholarship seemed out of the question for me. The idea came from a lecturer that I work for and it was unexpected. Everything fell into place. Within a couple of hours I had a topic, and within three weeks I had a written application and two supervisors. I just wasn't sure if it was really what I wanted, or if it was the right time. I didn't have a strong feeling either way. I said to the universe, "Look, I really don't know. You take care of this for me, will you?" And, it didn't happen, and I could have thought of it as another failure, but it wasn't. It was just the answer to my question. The best part of the story is that if this opportunity hadn't come along for me, my dad might not have dusted off an ambition that he had thought wouldn't happen for him. So, in February, at the age of 73, my dad will be heading to uni for the first time, studying a Bachelor of Science (Regenerative Agriculture). He is shy about telling people, but everybody who knows has expressed how inspiring it is. Life is a continual surprise, and that is the most wonderful part about it.
With this new, emerging age of enlightenment we will see a stronger emphasis on community and connections between people. There is no need to hold everything in and pretend everything is fine. There is nothing that we're experiencing that hasn't already been experienced. We are beautifully human and imperfect, and there is nothing that needs to be hidden. Showing vulnerability allows others to feel less alone. The strongest need that we have is the need to belong, so this is the greatest gift that we can give.
I'm sure the next year will be the best ever. Happy New Year!