End of Year Musings, or Starting to Embrace Changes

evening skyThis time of year is not always an easy one for me. I can remember a number of New Year’s Eves spent curled up in an afghan or blanket, sitting outside in the cold crisp air, on the verge of tears. There wasn’t usually a reason, just a melancholy that would descend, a way of seeing the ending of one year and not necessarily the beginning of another. I could enumerate all of the things that didn’t go so well, all of the ways I screwed up, all of the ways that I would be better the next year.

And so, for a long time, new year’s was a time of resolutions of all of the things that I wanted to be or do, because it would make me a better human being, make me more beautiful, make me someone that I wasn’t. I wished on star after star in the cold black night, in that magical time between one year and another, year after year.

Somehow, I never became that magical, perfect, wonderful person I wanted to be. I never magically started loving exercise or better for me food. I never made millions. I never got famous. I never wrote what everyone would consider The Great American Novel. I never figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. (Not really, anyway.) Year after year, as my resolutions went the way of the dinosaur, I would beat myself up. The ways I would terrorize myself are horrifying to me, and they still continue some days.

So, there’s the rub, the honesty that hurts, the wound that will never heal until I let the butterflies in my chest fly. I’ve spent so much of my life wishing that I was someone else, wishing I could change my story. And so, I’ve tried to do just that. This is the anxiety that wells up and wants me to stop talking like this: all serious and melancholy. Be happy, free, and completely positive, all of the time. That’s the girl everyone loves and wants to be around.

And while that’s not entirely untrue, I also recognize that that’s not my 100% honest truth.

What isn’t amazing to me is that I’m saying this. What is most amazing to me is that I am far from alone in feeling this way. How much do we do to change ourselves? How much do we deny who we are and what we really need in this world to be fully ourselves – the easy parts, and the hard, dark parts that we don’t welcome nearly as easily.

And when we don’t welcome all of ourselves, as we are, and wish desperately to be someone else, what happens? What happens when I am unwilling or unable to fully embrace who I am, all of the pieces? When I walk away, again and again, because I don’t want to be who I am, where I am, or face what’s right there? What stories are created in that space, and how have they driven who I claim I am, right now? How do I begin to develop new stories around all of that?

These are questions that have been circling my brain.

As I’ve been writing, thinking, meditating, I realize that there is one major thing I am lacking from myself – which impacts my ability to practice fearlessness, which impacts my ability to practice, which impacts my overall ability to open to the process of this life. And so? I bring you my 2013 intention-word.


May the new year bring you opportunities to embrace and fully be who you are. The world needs you to be who are you – fully and completely.


16 thoughts on “End of Year Musings, or Starting to Embrace Changes

  1. These are very good, important questions, the paragraph that stars with: “And when we don’t welcome all of ourselves, as we are, and wish desperately to be someone else, what happens?” The last one made me think of something Susan Piver said (I’m paraphrasing): is the story we are telling a way of writing our way out of it, freeing ourselves, or our way of trapping ourselves inside of it?

    And I LOVE your word! It makes me wonder if you’ve ever read Kristin Noelle’s site “Trust Tending”? http://www.kristinnoelle.com/ You might like it.

    I feel like we are both on the verge of something this year, that something significant is going to shift, some fundamental confusion is going to clear up. Happy New Year, Stephanie!

    • Happy New Year, Jill!

      I will definitely check out Trust Tending. I cleaned up my Google Reader recently, to reflect what I really read and look forward to, and so have freed up some space to add new reading! :)

      I agree; it feels like a shift is occurring; not sure what is there, but I’m trying to keep myself from wanting to plan too much, or to map out where I think I should go. (The Universe laughs when I do that, it seems.)

      And Susan’s quote? Perfect! It’s definitely something on my mind and a question I want to live into, to see where it leads. I know what I *want* to be the answer, but it doesn’t work that way, does it? ;)

      May what we continue to do be of benefit.

      • Exactly, I feel like the shift is away from planning, doing, predicting, controlling to sinking in, surrendering to my life as it is, to seeing what is already here, already happening if I simply slow down and get quiet enough to notice.

        P.S. That paraphrase was from something Susan said in the first few minutes of this podcast, http://ny.shambhala.org/2012/12/27/meditation-creativity-fearlessness-podcast/, which I haven’t been able to listen to all the way through yet, but can’t wait.

        • I think it’s that move away from controlling that’s been one of the hardest for me to wrap my brain around. I seem to think that planning, organizing, whatever will help and make it ‘better’ somehow.

          As I’m traveling, it’s a good reminder of slowing down, showing up, not trying to go too fast.

          And I love that poem! Thank younfor posting it here!

      • Oh! Just saw this (Tara Brach posted it on Facebook), and it seems a perfect fit:

        Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
        Don’t try to see through the distances.
        That’s not for human beings. Move within,
        but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

        Walk to the well.
        Turn as the earth and the moon turn,
        circling what they love.
        Whatever circles comes from the center.


  2. Wonderful post, Steph. It just reminded me of the title of the Zora Neale Hurston story collection Alice Walker put out several years ago: I Love Myself When I Am Laughing…and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive. You are loved in all your guises, hon. Happy New Year! Yay for trust!

    • Thank you!

      That’s a fantastic title! I’m going to have to look into the collection. (I loved Their Eyes Were Watching God when I read it a long long time ago.) I also am reminded of one of the quotes I have on FB that I tend to forget: “I found god in myself, and I loved her fiercely.” – Ntozake Shange

      And thank you. I appreciate it. I think I forget that I am loved in all of my guises, because I don’t always find that for myself. It’s hard to receive it from others.

      Happy New Year to you, too! (Dance! *wink*)

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