Twenty-two days into 2017. Outlook good.
I’ve been working on a list of intentions and a few ‘words’ to keep in mind for the New Year. My intentions are sort of like resolutions, but I don’t see them as things that only apply to 2017. I see my intentions as ways of life for me moving forward.
Above everything I am about to say I intend to focus on my blessings with GRATITUDE this year. Last year was all about acceptance and shedding tears and releasing pain and healing and giving up beer and doctors and dentists and therapy. I want 2017 to be all about moving forward. I still have my troubled past — we all do — but along the way of my troubled past I carved out some happy places that I’d like to think of instead of the unhappy stuff.
I have a college education, health, husband, kids, a dog, a house, a slew of friends/family and on and on to be happy about. The problem is that all of those things are hard to see when you are mentally ill. Now that I have grip on my illness I am able to see those things more clearly. So that’s what I want to keep in mind all year. I CAN see them now.
I still want to do more writing about some of what I have gone through, I want to write it from the heart and from a point of wellness and then see what happens. I don’t want to write my own personal tragedy that’ll only bring people down, particularly myself. But since my story involves sadness I’ll have to go there to a point. I also still have to ‘shake off’ a few more things from the past that is necessary.
Maybe that’ll be something I need to do in the coming year. ‘Shake it off!’ Just like I’d hear my coaches saying in sports practice if I missed a basket or spiked the volleyball into the net. Yes, I think I need to do some ‘shake off’ all the things that I don’t need, that don’t serve me.
In addition to being grateful, my 2017 words are: FOCUS and SIMPLIFY.
Focusing on what is most important to me and how I use my time and who I spend it with.
Simplifying some of the chaos that’s in my life. Cutting back. Throwing away clutter. Clearing my mind.
A few more random things jumping around (what else is new?) in my head…
- My husband and I attended a candlelight Christmas Eve service at the church where our kids go to preschool. The service started at 11 p.m. and ended just after midnight. We celebrated the start of Christmas Day holding lit candles in our hands singing Silent Night with hundreds of other people in our community. It was beautiful and on the second verse of Silent Night tears started falling from my eyes. I let them. I sang. I looked up at the Moravian Star that was hung high above the altar. Later I thought how joyful my tears were and then I thought about how one of the misconceptions about mental illness is that if you take medication it’ll numb your emotions. I take medicine and no numb emotions here. In fact, since I’ve been well, I cry both happy and sad tears — the best part is that I ALLOW myself to shed those years. It’s been life-changing. I used to hold so much in, to swallow so many emotions to ‘hold it together’ all the time and try to ‘be perfect.’ Not anymore. I am a regular person with regular emotions and that has nothing to do with being bipolar. What an epiphany.
- I am looking forward to the rest of 2017 without the emotional turbulence I had in 2016. I hope I can let what I’ve learned shine out and that I have to do less introspecting. And that I don’t dwell. I did A LOT of introspecting in 2016. Boy was it productive… but I am ready to move FORWARD. And to ‘shake it off.’
- In yoga the other night, when we were in Warrior Pose and one of my hands reached into the past and one of my hands into the future and my body was situated in the present, I felt a little tug on my hand that was in the future. I don’t always or often have spiritual moments in yoga, but this was certainly one of them. A little tug into the future.
- A life unexamined is boring. If you are trying to find meaning in your life or put together pieces of your past that have troubled you through the years, do the work and may you find peace — everything will fall in place and the outcome is totally worth it. You’ll find a stronger sense of self that will serve you in the future for life’s next challenge — good or bad.