As I rambled the back streets of my neighbourhood this morning, determined to get the heart rate elevated before the heat of the day kicked in, I reflected on the year that was. This time of year always prompts a degree of introspection doesn’t it? We look back on the last 12 months and wonder firstly, how on earth did it get to be Christmas again so soon and then secondly, what the hell happened?
Around about this time, the immortal John Lennon pops into my head singing:
And so this is Christmas, and what have you done, another year older, and a new one just begun…..
My first instinct is to say it’s been a huge year – so many highs and lows. My Mum would call it a year of “hatch, match and dispatch“. I welcomed some beautiful babies into the world; no not mine – rest assured dear readers, the immaculate conception has not been staged in suburban Brisbane! I was thrilled to be part of the wedding of the year and grateful I could walk my beautiful daughter down the aisle to the arms of her soul companion. I was glad I could be there for my friends who said farewell to their elderly parents. I was bereft at saying goodbye to one of our extended family who passed way too soon.
In the midst of all this life activity, I wandered on and off the beaten track in Italy for some much needed soul liberation.
Now, as I dawdle to the end of the year that was, there is time to look at how much life has changed and which new direction it will take. Ironically, this reflection has led me to consider that my life has become so much smaller over the last five years. Smaller in spite of an active and amazing social life, my large circle of friends and family, some serious work challenges, moving house twice, and travelling extensively.
I wonder if this was unconsciously self-imposed? I wonder if the universe in its infinite wisdom, forced me to take a look at the small things in a way that I hadn’t before? I wonder if there was so much time DOING over those last 5 years, that I forgot the BEING bit of living. To BE requires time which I had forgotten, focussed as I was on raising children and working my butt off (not literally unfortunately – the last few years had me sitting more than I’d ever done with the result that my rear end could have it’s own postcode). Perhaps the smallness I feel was more internal than external; as if I had closed up shop internally for a while.
My time in Italy reminded me of the joy of BEING. In a sense that trip was a nice, bright, sparkly bow to tie up those last few years into a neat package of wisdom.
You all know my love of a good quote and I love this one from Nelson Mandela:
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, fabulous, gorgeous, talented? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that’s within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we automatically give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
The smallness we feel is that little voice of fear echoing loudly in our ears and in our hearts so that we hide in the darkness, playing it safe, playing small.
I imagine life much as I imagine travelling down a large river system. There are times when you are paddling downstream easily, confidently navigating minor twists and turns with only a small rock in the way. Other parts of the trip are terrifying, passing through pulsating rapids that are determined to pulverise you into oblivion if you don’t keep your wits about you. There are smooth, wide, light filled lakes where you feel calm and tranquil, moving gently with the current as it takes you in any direction it chooses. There are constructed dams that block the way and force you to find a different path. There are murky swamps full of ferocious crocodiles with big sharp pointy teeth.
So this is a big thank you to 2015 for reminding me that I have a choice to either lie low in the swamps where the scary things await or play in the tranquil light-filled waters, going with the flow.
I’m excited – I can’t wait to set sail on that beautiful lake, drift on its gentle currents and Live Life Large all over again!