Reflection in the midst of busy

Is it just me? I swear the years are flying by, seems like only yesterday it was January, where the heck did the time go? Here we are in December, thick in the midst of the holiday madness, where finding time to just think and be is harder to find. Yet for someone whose rhythms now follows the seasons, it is a time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work and what do I want to change?
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This year has been a trip! In many ways this was a year where I have just learned to be me, where I got comfortable using my voice, where saying no to any and all things that didn’t work for me became a way of life. Oh, there has been plenty of collateral damage, many who decided that the new and improved me, just didn’t work for them! That is okay, I am comfortable being me.
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I started this year in a dark place, crumbling finances, crumbling marriage and a general sense that I needed to do more than talk or write about change. I actually needed to do it! I did it! My finances are no longer in critical condition; instead they are in serious but stable condition. The marriage is a work in progress, relationships are fluid, not static and when two people decide to share a life together they both have to be willing to accept that fluidity. In the end I have a best friend for life regardless of what legal status we have slapped on us and that is more important to me than a label.
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Professionally I continue to grow and thrive and wonder what the future holds, I am supposed to be working on my application for grad school this month, but with all that is happening at work, wondering if this should be tabled.
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Like many I struggle with my body image, weight has been gained, in recent months I have stabilized but haven’t lost more than a few pounds. I admit this is a hard one for me; it’s easier to love me when the numbers on the scale read somewhere in the 130’s to 140’s. Though I have been telling myself living in the 150’s isn’t bad. I am striving to find why do I place such a premium on seeing lower numbers? Is it society, is it me? The truth is I am far more flexible and limber than ever, pushing my body more on the yoga mat, one step at a time.
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Learning to love and cherish myself was the overarching theme this past year and I suspect it will continue into 2012 as well as I contemplate taking some risks. Risks that will make me vulnerable but risks that I have determined if they come together will be the pieces that complete me.
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So in the midst of winter madness, I strive to find the quiet moments and places to take stock of my life and my future. What about you? Do you find the quiet moments in this season of busy? If not, why not?

A new year and a new direction

For the past several years despite the fact that the official New Year starts on January 1, for me the new year seems to start on my birthday which is this weekend. I have spent the past several days doing a lot of reflecting on the past year and really the past decade…as I have said before they were the best of times and the worst of times. As I type this post my father is literally en route to Maine where he will land in the next several hours to start a new chapter of his life. In some ways his moving here will be the start of a new chapter in my own life and not just the fact that my Dad is temporarily shacking at my house.

For months now I have been acutely aware that something was amiss in my life, I am short tempered, grumpy, achy and generally speaking not very happy. I have come to realize that a great deal of my unhappiness or general frustration in life is rooted in my job but actually it goes deeper than that. Like many folks I have spent a great deal of my life assuming that if only I reached the XYZ goal I would be happy. After all so many of us still think that happiness is a good job, good partner, kids, etc and while these can be good things the truth is they won’t necessarily bring us happiness.

Lately my happiness has come in those quiet moments often when I can be alone with my thoughts and can actually just be present in the moment. I find when I can fully engage in the moment and be present with those near me; it’s when I feel the most peace and happiness. To aid on my quest to live in the moment I have started to rely more and more on yoga and specifically yoga nidra. I am a very anxious person having been diagnosed with my first full on panic attack at 19, living with anxiety is no fun and yet this past year as I have dabbled with yoga for the first time I have found relief from the anxious thoughts that often plague me.

Getting some relief from the anxiety has allowed me to go deeper inside and try to figure out what the hell is that I really want in life? Drum roll please….after what feels like a lifetime working in the non-profit sector I want to leave to become a life coach. See, I worked with a life coach several years ago and recently realized that every goal I set with my coach I have accomplished. I have also since learned that most of those goals when reached weren’t nearly the game changer I thought they would be.

I admit I was initially skeptical of working with a life coach but in the end it was a valuable experience and one that frankly I think can be valuable for many women of color. So many of my sistas of color are stressed and frankly on the hamster wheel chasing what we think we want and need yet most of us are anxious balls waiting to explode. It’s no coincident that many sistas in my life including my own mother started on the high blood pressure meds at the age I am now…

Anyway that’s what up with me as I head into a new year of life and I will be writing more about my future plans as they unfold. Yet after talking with a dear friend over dinner last night I decided to make my plans public.

A Season for Darkness

The past 6 years of my life have been a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. I moved away from my hometown, went to graduate school and got my masters, lost my beloved Mama and Granny and lastly had my daughter.. oh and have seen my income decrease by about 40%. Talk about being an overachiever, I feel I have hit many of the huge life issues in a fairly short period of time.

Any one or two of those things was enough to make a sista get a tad depressed but combined and I am being brutally honest but there are mornings I swear the only reason I wake up and don’t go mad is because of God’s grace. Now I rarely talk much about my personal faith here, but in a way I will today. I am a born-again Christian, that said, my faith has also been on a roller coaster ride. See before life got in the way, it was easy to praise God and trust that all would be good. Yet it was right after my Mom’s unexpected and untimely death that things got kind of heated between God & I. Now I will say I have made a lot of peace with the things that have happened but that childlike naive faith that initially had me thinking things would always be peaches and cream doesn’t quite exist. Instead I know that despite what happens I will be ok, its like that line from the Elton John song, I am still standing, in this case I am standing with God’s grace.

However despite standing there are days well, when I am a tad shaky and some might say even depressed. At one point I considered getting my MSW and becoming a clinician so I know a bit about depression from my case management days and while truthfully I do get depressed, reality is no I am not about to jump off any bridges or harm anyone else and though I have my moments, overall I enjoy life. Yet the reality that I have come to grasp as I recently shared with the spousal unit is that sometimes we just have dark seasons, but I am convinced they happen for a reason.

For me the dark season has lasted a while, yet in the midst of this ice storm known as my life there have been many good moments and I am at a place that while I sure as hell wish shit would change quick fast and in hurry. I have come to realize there is a reason and a season for everything, which is why I think rather than wishing change would happen quickly that maybe I should look for the beauty in the midst of this storm and see what changes happen in me that I can take from this time. I just started reading Thomas Moore’s Dark Nights of the Soul which from the first few chapters I have read so far really seem to speak to where I am.

I think its easy to get sucked in wanting and wishing we had what others have, but the fact is we have what we have and I don’t want to waste my life trying to get to the next level at such a rapid pace that I forget to enjoy the ride. KWIM?

Anyway its a gorgeous though nippy Friday here in Maine and since I am playing hooky from client work, I figure its time to head into the city and hit my favorite consignment shop. Have a good weekend, catch ya on Monday unless I am moved to write over the weekend.