Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Revolution

I am facing a clean page, a clean slate, a new year. I realize the end of the year is an arbitrary thing and that the calendar is mankind’s invention. Yet I think the year “ends” for a reason and that reason is grace. Humans need a new beginning. We need a fresh start, another chance, hope.

I am a resolutionist. You read that right -- a resolution-ist. Each year I make resolutions and I use them as a springboard to real and lasting change. Perhaps you could call me a revolutionist, because what I am going for is a revolution in my life.

I think resolutions, in general, are under-appreciated. Most people do not realize the innovative power of the fresh page. Simply promising to do things differently or be different is, of course, not enough. A successful revolution requires a leader, a plan, and a change in consciousness. In order to have a successful revolution, I have to be willing to be a leader in my own life.

It seems obvious, doesn’t it? And yet becoming a leader in one’s own life is indeed a revolutionary step. It means that we can no longer blame our parents, our spouse, our past or fate for our unhappiness or lack of success. It means that I and I alone am responsible for building the life I want to live and creating the world in which I want to live it. It sounds like blasphemy, doesn’t it?

I am not suggesting that God does not have a place in my life. Not at all. I’m suggesting that God is not responsible for my unhappiness which could, indeed, be called unfaithfulness. We have shared responsibility-- co-authorship-- if you will. God is responsible for things in God’s realm, and I am responsible for things in my realm. And peace of mind certainly lies in knowing which is which.

Hence, I am once again a resolutionist. Things will change in my life once more, and I will once again be the author of that change, God – and I – willing.

This year I will use a pattern I found some time ago, the six-word resolution. I will make a resolution in each of six areas of my life: (1) Health and Body,(2) Education and Spiritual Growth, (3) Vocation/Work, (4) Relationships, (5) Money and Material Possessions, and (6) Service. Step Two of my private revolution is to choose specific actions for creating the change and checkpoints for accountability. The reason many resolutions fail is because most people do not take the time for Step Two. Of course Step Three is living it out –putting my revolution where my mouth is -- and making reasonable adjustments as I go.

Here are my resolutions for 2011; may they inspire you to map out your own New Year’s Revolution!

• Health and Body: Get to my goal weight; maintain.
• Education and Spiritual growth: Daily writing and reflection; more collaboration
• Work/Vocation: Implement a marketing plan for Coaching
• Relationships: Play often, laugh lots, love more
• Money and Material Possessions: Cull out, organize; acquire and waste less
• Service: More time and attention to fostering

Monday, December 20, 2010

Changing Form

I am somewhat surprised, at 51 years of age, to find myself in a forming stage of life.  Growing up, I thought you became an adult and you "were something" -- a teacher, a missionary, a parent, whatever -- and that was it.  I have been many "somethings" and also had a few jobs that were more about my bills than about my path.

When I was a child, I frequently heard myself characterized as a "late bloomer."  That was a source of shame for me then, but now I embrace it.  I hope I never stop "blooming."  I met my soul mate, Paul, at age 36.  I was 37 when I became a mom for the first time.  And at 51, we started a whole new branch of the family.  This suits, me somehow.  I am comfortable in my skin and at this stage of life; I know what fits.

It reminds me of working with clay.  There is something so wholesome and earthy about it. It's sensuous -- and not in a corny, Ghost, sort of way.  The clay at first is in a slab, cold and unyielding.  The initial task is to warm it up with your hands; to soften it and make it pliable.  This takes some time and patience; some kneading, some faith.

Only after the clay is worked and warm can a new creation emerge. What is created is not always what I expected.  And it rarely, if ever, looks like I thought it would.  Yet it is always true to its nature.  Somehow it is exactly what it is "supposed" to be and exactly right.

The stress in my life comes in when I forget that I am in a forming phase.  In clearer moments, I understand that  "the forming phase" is every phase.  When I am willing to allow my life's circumstances and yes -- God's grace -- to do the shaping, then I am wholly me.  And something completely new can take shape.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saving Face on Facebook

 Sometimes I entertain myself by doing silly stuff on Facebook, like yesterday's My Year in Status - 2010 in Review.  It's pink, it's pretty, it's bright  -- and it's pretty much the good stuff.  And yet, as I reviewed, I noticed there were tears running down my face. 

The tears were about what the status' didn't say.  All the work and processes and downright sh**ty days.  The doldrums.  The endless rain.  The searing heat.  And the elation as well; the little moments that I will remember forever.  The evidence is in -- I save face on Facebook. 

I hit the books to discover what the tears were saying; the processing books -- that is -- and my journals.  Straight from my pen to your eyes, here is what my statuses did not say.
  • January 18  - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  The man has had a direct and profound influence on my life.  I will work toward living up to my own expectations more.
  • February 26 - 3 tiny, total strangers walked into our house today.  Well, one was carried.  So far, so good but truthfully, I'm terrified.
  • March 13 - The anniversary party went off without a hitch -- but I have a nagging uneasiness. 
  • April 18 - I've been hit in the face with a brick.  Make that gut.  No, heart.  I am flat out heartbroken, broken, beaten up -- no sign of hope. Desolate.  Inconsolable.  Mad as hell.  Calling for reinforcements and thank God for my girls.
  • May 5 -  Back and forth about the babies.  Feeling nuts.  Should they go or stay?  Love them so much but not sure how solid my marriage is yet.
  • June 15 - Quit my job today.  Sh*t.  Now what?  Guess now I get to see who I am outside of what I do.
  • July 9 - Dumbfounded, astounded, in shock.   Inconceivably, birthmom terminated her rights.  Feel like the weight of the world has been lifted.  Oh my God.  Thank you, thank you.
  • August 12 - 5 years since Karissa died.  Still don't get it.  Why?
  • September 24 -Today,  I have a 14 year old.  Sooooooo grateful for this one and her life with us.  She's too big for me to make it all better anymore but I'm gonna keep trying.
  • October 7 - missed a call this morning, Gabe almost missed the bus, ran late fixing coffee for Gina.  House a mess, hair a mess, I'm a mess.  What's the point?
  • November 18:  Tomorrow's adoption day. Today I'm wondering if I'm too old, too fat, too out of touch, too poor, too unemployed, too selfish and too lazy.  Hmm.  Looks like I have some "work" to do before bed.
  • November 29 - Mom and Dad headed home.  Tired but elated -- it's been a good visit.  If I'm on my back about anything, it's all the eating.  Oops.
That's part of what I didn't say.   It was exposing to see so much unsaid.  And when I read between the lines of not only of the few I've listed here but all that I read last night, I see the things unsaid as opportunities missed. Opportunities to be myself, to be vulnerable, to be truthful, naked, real;  to be awakened.  Following each of these times were times of support and connection;  times I reached out and collaborated with others both on the problems and the possibilities.  Why couldn't that collaboration be a part of my "Facebook face?"  It could and it can.

I am going for a more honest expression of myself in 2011.  Otherwise, what's the point?