One Word

I’m participating in Reverb 10, which is a commitment to blog once each day, approximately 750 words, on a prompt that some fantastically creative people will come up with every day in December. This is a much smaller goal than NaNiWriMo, which was to write 50,000 words in November. I got to about 15,000 and that was that. We’ll see how this goes!

Today’s prompt is “One word.” What one word encapsulates 2010 for me? BEGINNING. I was going to say “change” or “growth,” but really it’s BEGINNING. In 2010 I BEGAN to strip off the parts of my life that were not serving me. The parts where I wasn’t my authentic self, the aspects that were standing in the way of me being closer to bliss.

On January 1, 2010, I was laying on my mat in yoga class and the instructor was talking about how 2010 is the year of the metal tiger according to the Chinese calendar. The metal tiger is about new BEGINNINGS. I laughed to myself because I was already in the process of getting a divorce. I knew I would be getting a full time job and that would drastically change the amount of time I had with my children. I knew that I would be selling my house and moving with my children to another house or apartment. I knew all these BEGINNINGS would happen.

What I didn’t know eleven months ago today is that the BEGINNING is more about what is inside of me than the actions I was taking. The BEGINNING is about the desire in me to stand up for myself. To speak my truth without shame or guilt or fear. Or maybe not without them, but BEGINNING to have awareness around them and yet not let fear guilt or shame be barriers to what I know in my bones is my authentic, true life.

I have BEGUN to see my own role in the relationships that aren’t working. BEGUN to stop pointing the finger at my depressed ex-husband or my addict mother. Instead BEGINNING to have insight that I am fifty percent of those relationships. As such I have responsibility for the parts that are awesome, and the parts that are sloppy and hurtful and awful.

BEGINNING is about seeing that standing up for myself isn’t just saying no, it’s taking on the responsibility for the crappy parts of those relationships, too. That has changed the nature of some relationships. I’m not married anymore, after 13 1/2 years of marriage and sixteen years with the same man. I’m BEGINNING to see myself as a single mom, and also a woman with no life partner. BEGINNING to appreciate freedom to be myself that I wasn’t aware I had when I was married.

Another significant BEGINNING is that I have BEGUN a life as a motherless daughter. My mother is alive but for now I have chosen not to be in a relationship with her because I have ceased to be able to stand up around her. I have BEGUN to see that she is so sick that we can’t work on our relationship together, so I’ll work on my part and maybe we can stand together again one day.

The word that I hope captures 2011 for me: JOY. This year of BEGINNINGS has been tumultuous and painful. There has also been much JOY: new friends, a deeper relationship with my kids and old friends, a job that has brought me closer to my dad. In 2011 I will spend more time in a state of JOY. Which I have BEGUN to see is more about my perception and less about the goings-on.

I give myself permission to do the things that bring me JOY as often as needed or wanted. I’ll be writing my column for The Dallas Morning News and I’ll have an essay published in a book by Patti Digh, who is my long lost friend from a past life or something like that. Her writing brings me so much JOY that I swear even her books sitting on my shelf emanate JOY into my house. The fact that my little bitty essay is going to be in a shiny, smells-like-magic, bound book that you’ll be able to get at Barnes & Noble brings me oh-so-much JOY.

In the recipe for JOY is more stripping off fear and guilt and shame. When I run I sometimes see myself taking those emotions off, like they are itchy, heavy clothes, and throwing them to the wind. JOY is a bikini that covers the stretch marks but leaves enough skin showing so that I can feel the sun touch my skin and loose the place where I end and juicy, JOYFUL life begins.

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