The temptation is always there for me to create some beautiful and meaningful moment around my focus for the new year. Like I can craft a picture with my words that is steeped in meaning and dripping with goodness that leaves you hungry to come live in my world. Well, I am saying no to temptation and instead telling it like is actually unfolded.
New Years Day started out quite lovely, sitting by a roaring fire, drinking coffee with friends and sharing heartfelt conversation. The morning slowly ebbed away until we decided to pack up and head home. The bickering started before we'd pulled out of their driveway. My girls sat in the back seat disagreeing about who's turn it was to play music, what fast food stop we should make on the way home and who's turn it was to hold the dog...because taking the dog with us for New Years Eve had seemed like such an awesome idea. My nerves felt quickly raw and on edge.
By late in the day, as I worked my way through the house taking down the remaining remnants of Christmas the edginess of my mood had only increased. Nearly every conversation with Elly felt as if she simply wasn't listening to me, every request from me was countered with a question from her. Finally, it was time for bed and I was hopeful to put an end to the day. I crisply commanded, "Leave your phones here, brush your teeth and head to bed." To which Elly responded with, "What are we going to do with my gingerbread house?" My body felt tight as I snapped back, "We will worry about that tomorrow, just get in bed."
Not ten minutes later down the stairs she came with that gingerbread house in one hand and her phone in the other. She placed said house on my freshly cleaned kitchen counter and I lost it. It's a bit of a fog but I know I heard the word "listen" leave my mouth at least five times as I unloaded my frustration from the day all over her little self.
"Ok mom, sorry. I will try harder tomorrow."
Nothing like a poor parenting moment to seal the first day of a new year.
I can only tell you that there in the middle of my kitchen, in the dark, waiting for my tea kettle to heat up I knew that my word for 2018 was LISTEN.
The listening has already been worthwhile. I noticed that the noise around me is loud. Social media, even in the limited capacity I've given it thus far, offers distraction and opportunity to feel pressure, failure, hustling and the subsequent shame that comes from sensing that I am not enough. Not enough education, not enough influence, not enough social justice work, not enough creativity...it goes on and on.
I felt the choice to listen to that noise or listen to my life.
I settled on listening to my life.
Good choice, right?!
My life is now, and the only thing I can really do is listen to it and live into it.
I cannot undo the past, I cannot make myself something I am not. I honestly don't have the energy to become my own brand, whatever that even means.
Last year I largely focused on being present in my life to grieve, heal and recover from the shipwreck that marked 2016 for me. This year it is time for me to return some things that needed be at rest for a season.
I know I am meant to do some very specific things and at the top of the list I am story listener. The #Silence is not Spiritual movement is very much about listening to stories and I will be part of doing that well and helping others to do so.
Listening to my own heart and finishing writing projects began long ago is also part of what this year will hold.
More will come I am sure, and it should be showing up here on my blog if I am faithful to what I have heard already in the few days of listening that 2018 has given me.