peace be with you. 

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Dear Person Reading this Blog,

It’s been a full year since I’ve written one of these, that is, a declarative commitment on social media. Last year, I openly committed to actively practicing gratitude throughout the year; a goal I believe I accomplished, though those sorts of things are a bit hard to judge.

I experienced divorce, loss of friendships (several) and loss of work. During/following that time, I think I actually came face to face with depression…something that overwhelmed me and dug me out and made me whole in a way I never thought possible. I kept thinking, “how am I going to stay positive and get through this?” I bounced back, experienced another round of harrowing and humbling adult experiences:  financial struggle and uncertainty, all while dealing with some unknown health issue that no doctor has been able to diagnose — I have wretched headaches for days on end on the left side of my head. All of these things still leave me somewhere between really feeling like I’ve got a grip on things and feeling like I’m eighteen, still clueless. REGARDLESS of these terrible things, I looked around and took deep breathes and smiled. I knew then and know now that the situation can almost ALWAYS be worse, and I am most fortunate that my circumstances never were. I had moments of making mountains out of molehills and alternatively, moments of complete nonchalance in chaos.

I think I’ve finally figured out how to balance myself, how to really pull myself out of a funk when needed and also, allow myself to wallow and watch copious amounts of Netflix when I need to. I learned how to turn my phone on silent and dive in to a book for an entire evening without Facebook or TV or any sort of media to interfere. It’s beautiful when you learn more about who you are…and like that person. It’s beyond important that we can look in the mirror and really love what we see.

I’ve learned to be at peace with myself; for that revelation, I am grateful.

2016 is going to be a much different year for me. my thoughts have turned to different things, heavier things that don’t concern me at all.

When Neil and I started dating I found out very quickly how like minded we are. I found out that we have almost exactly the same political and religious views, and almost (if not all) the same core values. This makes our relationship extremely easy — and also fun. We spend hours and hours driving around talking about this article or that blog or this documentary and it’s just thrilling! I didn’t know I was so passionate about some of these things.

I’d always categorized myself as skeptical, but I had no idea, until these conversations came up, that I’m partially a conspiracy theorist. I didn’t know that any time I read something or see something on the news, I’m automatically breaking it down, dividing the facts, sifting through what may have a little truth in it and what is definitely an elaborate fabrication.

I’m getting to a point, I promise.

Without going too deep, saving you from all of the millions of circular details of my analysis — I’m really doing you a favor — I think what it all boils down to for me is the attitude of humanity. I know I’m throwing a blanket over all of this, but for brevity it’s necessary. I think about religious groups and politicians, social media makers and the people who support it (I’m one of those people, to an extent) and what happens when all of those people get mixed together. It makes me sick. The attacks, the slander, the hardheartedness…it’s ruined humanity. It’s put more death in our lives, raised suspicions, placed blame where it isn’t needed; there are fingers pointing in every direction. And it’s killing us.

I feel like we’re restless, overly impatient with each other, with ourselves. How do we get beyond that without practicing peace?

Maybe it’s because I’m older and I read the news more and listen more intently and actually care what’s happening. I still don’t watch the news — first of all, I don’t have cable, and secondly, each channel feels no remorse for being outwardly biased, and that’s not real reporting. I have no desire to listen to a news anchor berate a college student for sport because she was nervous and obviously bad at math (and in way over her head.) I have no desire to hear Trump demean another woman, I don’t care that the Pope is on Twitter or that Mark Zuckerberg is selling his millions because he had a baby and is shockingly not a heartless dweeb like we all presumed.

I don’t care about any of that.

I care about eating clean and opening my mind and my heart. I care about playing music and being in love. I care about graduating college and writing more novels and just living so loudly. I care about doing all of the yoga I possibly can and continuing to share my practice.

I care about peace.

I’m committing to spend the year 2016 breaking down what it means to practice peace and the challenges it brings: peace with my family and friends, peace with my enemies (there aren’t many) and most importantly, peace with myself.

Be gentle on yourself, you’re only human.

Peace be with you.

…and……ummm, you can have some also.

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