The old to the new
Well, the end of the calendar year, and the astronomical year if the Winter Solstice is seen as the end of one cycle and the start of the next, has come with a pile of revelations from a friend and a series of bangs that have released some inner demons and tears and uncovered an emptiness and knotted-ness in my gut area.
I’m pleased for my friend, don’t get me wrong. At last they are taking the little yet huge step they need to take to release them from a situation that is untenable for them and into a new phase of their life’s journey. I wish them happiness and joy and love. I worry that they are chasing a rainbow, a dream that will not live up to reality, they’ll find the grass isn’t greener, but I know that they’ll find themselves progressing forward in a way they couldn’t where the currently are at.
Their excitement, fear, trepidation, hope and all the other things their going through has stirred up some ‘stuff’ within me that needs to be worked on and examined, which are, in no particular order:
- Job and Career – Teaching is no longer healthy for me and though I find pleasure and satisfaction in some areas of the job, increasingly I’m finding it harder and harder to cope with other aspects of it. I need to look at myself and what I can offer in terms of being an employee and what I need from a workplace in order to feel appreciated, valued, successful and that I am achieving good and truly helping people. What kind of career I want, I don’t know. Maybe training as a hypnotherapist will lead me along the way. However, I do know I need to identify what I’d like to do, and that starts with what I can do and so on.
- Relationships – I’ve been single for, gosh, thirteen and a half years now. Along the way I’ve had many experiences placed along the spectrum of good to absolutely goddam awful. I’ve felt time and time again the hurt of rejection and the blow it delivers to my self-esteem, self-respect and so on, and of course I realise that I expected nothing else. Well, it’s about time that changed and it’s time for me to learn about relationships…big step for me. How I do this, I don’t know, but it will start with me looking at myself honestly at the qualities I have, good and not so good, and come to accept and care about myself.
- Friendships – I have a small number of very good friends, but learning to ask for help and accepting it when it is given is … a big hurdle for me. I’ve had to be strong and independent for so long, to prove I can do it, that admitting I can’t is a big thing.
- Creativity – I do not do enough to develop my writing skills and to weave stories. I doubt my ability to do this. I fear plagiarising, being unoriginal, being boring or trite. I fear failure (damn that ultra-perfectionist part of me that doesn’t recognise when something is good enough). I feel a sense of being overwhelmed when I think about telling a tale. The result is I do nothing. I also am lacking inspiration in art, finding myself doing the same kind of thing over and over and over …
The common threads running through all of this involve me learning to love myself by knowing who I am and to accept myself for this, warts and all. I need to raise my self-esteem, my confidence, to be brave enough to start something. Above all else, I need to find the courage to be brave enough to share something of myself with others.
To follow tradition or not?
This year, more than at any other time, I’ve found the traditions and the significance of events more puzzling and confusing.
The rational scientist in me recognises that time is a continuous flow, the only markers on time are the ones we place there so that we can agree on when we are talking about and the meaning we attach to those markers is manufactured to satisfy a need for predictable events in our lives, to bring some kind of order to what appears to be an otherwise random and chaotic existence.
Then the more spiritual aspect of me kicks in and says that it’s OK to do this, to mark the various points on the wheel of the year, the various events that we celebrate, the things we give meaning to. They connect us together, for we are all connected, not just to all other human beings, not just to all life on Earth, but to the very stuff the Earth and, indeed, the Universe is made out of, the energy that constantly flows round and round.
We are not disconnected from the cycles that we can observe on this planet. We may rationalise that they are caused by scientific laws, that they have no meaning.
However, I’m coming to realise that they do have meaning. They bring us together and remind us that we are not separate, that what one of us does impacts on the whole, to a greater or lesser degree. By honouring the traditions we connect to the patterns that are stored in the universal consciousness for humans have been honouring the same observed patterns and events over many, many generations. It’s a way of honouring our forebears, of connecting to the present day, and of speaking to the future too.
It’s important, however, to decide if the particular traditions or observances fit in with your own philosophy, why you celebrate in the way you do, and to recognise that it is perfectly acceptable to change them as you grow and develop as a person, and not to just follow them blindly because you have always done them. It is, of course, perfectly acceptable to create traditions of your own too.
It may be that because I lead a very solitary existence, traditions celebrated by oneself have not really had any particular meaning, or have changed as my spiritual philosophy has grown and developed over the years. Perhaps it is important that I find which traditions, which celebrations have meaning to me, and develop ways of observing them that lets me understand where they have come from, the meaning they have for me at this time, and how they will impact on the future.
Of course, I’m not sure if all of that made any sense at all! Sometimes I need to get it out of me by writing and mithering and wittering on.