Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New year, new paths and new choices

I've been feeling thoughtful and introspective about so many things.  I've been unusually quiet and spent many hours pondering what I want to strive for, what my desires are and just what I'd like to accomplish in this new year, and for the rest of my life.  I know, that sounds pretty dramatic doesn't it?  But for some reason, I find it very difficult to actually determine what is really important to me sometimes.   I'm not really a goal-oriented person. I never have been.  I usually prefer to accept life on life's terms, take one day at a time and always find myself striving for living in the moment.  

The problem with that is, I'm a day dreamer.  

I spend way too much time in my head visualizing how I'd like my life to play out, fantasizing  about ideas that I've got and romanticizing everything.  In most cases, things don't usually work out like they do in my head.  So...the last few years or so, I've tried very hard at making the best at what I've been dealt.  Truly living with acceptance at how my life really is, making the best of what is, instead of always wishing for more, better, different.  I've had many a heartache because of my constant longing.  And I truly believe that I've missed out on many a blessing because I was too busy wishing for something else, instead of really enjoying and appreciating what I already have.  I want that to change.  

I want to savor all the moments of my life.  I want to appreciate all the many blessings that I have and love the people in my life.  Love them for who they are, not wish they were somehow different.  Isn't that the real definition of the word?  To love someone, and to value them, we have to accept them as they truly are; warts and all.  Because, newsflash - not a single one of us is anywhere near perfect.  We are all so beautifully flawed.  

My horses and dogs are the same way.  I was looking through some of the pictures on my camera that I've taken over the last several years.  Oh my gosh, the bittersweet memories!  I have loved and lost so much that my heart just breaks...and then I realize just how very, very blessed I have been to have loved them.  They are each and every one so very beautifully unique.  But I loved each so completely and so truly.  I realized just how wonderful my life really is.  That old saying that goes something like, we don't realize how much someone really means to us until after they're gone?  It sucks.  I hate that saying and I don't want to look back years from now and see how many wonderful people and animals and opportunities I've had in my life and not fully have loved and lived those cherished gifts.

I'm not depressed, really I'm not and I don't want to sound melodramatic or even sad.  But, looking back I can see where I really need to work at living more fully in the moment.  I need to stop wasting so much of my precious time dreaming about the possibilities in life and instead, do more now, stop trying to do the "right thing" and take those chances, make some mistakes - where's the harm?  I want to spend more time with my family members, my friends, my husband and our wonderful horses.  I want to accept that life is full of risks and I won't grow and fully live my life, unless I'm willing to screw up sometimes.  I have simply grown weary of trying to always do what's right, doing what I think others might expect of me, striving for other people's approval.  What do I think that I have to prove anyway?  I want to relax and have fun.  Learn from my mistakes, laugh at myself more and definitely stop taking everything so seriously.  I'm not even sure where I'm going with all of this - it kind of feels like a confession of sorts - and I guess that's alright too.  

My point is this:  I feel like I'm evolving, and I've already done a fair amount of changing over the last few years and I can see that I'm on the right path.  So, getting around to this new year that's just begun; a couple of years ago I started choosing a word that I felt pretty well described how I wanted to live, something to aspire to, develop more fully and just a direction to head.  Something to live up to.  

2015 was Faith...oh how I love that word.  For me, it really did (still does) feel like the perfect starting point.  With faith, I can move mountains, do anything that I set my mind to. Anything! My faith has grown exponentially and I keep that word near and dear to my heart.  

2016 was Courage...and boy, wasn't that the perfect word to set the tone for that year! Without faith I couldn't have shown courage.  But because I kept faith and felt it grow within my heart and mind, my courage blossomed and I really did step up and push myself beyond where I'd felt comfortable for so very long.  Only I knew how hard I had to struggle at times. I had some days where it was pretty easy, I felt good, and then there were some days where my fears paralyzed me, and I felt like a failure and all I could do was cry, hang on and take that next step, even if it felt like a baby step.  Just breathe and look ahead.  I kept those words of Ray's in my mind, that "I had to go through it, to get past it".  So even if it didn't feel like much of an accomplishment at the time, I forced myself to keep at it, one tiny little step at a time.  I remember that enormous sense of relief when I made it through the fear and thought, oh well that wasn't so bad.  Those tiny successes started to build upon one another and before I realized it, I could look back and see just how far I'd come.  I was becoming more confident in my abilities and was actually starting to believe in myself again.  Fear is a powerful emotion, but it really can be overcome with faith, perseverance and just putting one foot in front of the other, or in my case, one ride after another.  My faith and trust in my horse has grown by leaps and bounds, and the more I trust him, the more he trusts me and my courage builds.  It feels really good.  My heart just swells at the thought.  And, reality check - this doesn't mean that I won't have a serious case of the jitters and fears when I saddle up again after having this winter off.  *sigh*

And so here we are at another new year, another new beginning, another chapter in this life. And I've not been in a hurry to choose my word, I just wanted to keep my heart and my mind open to the possibilities.  Give myself the time that it takes, to decide how I should proceed from here.  I knew one thing for sure.  I did not want to push myself as hard as I did last year.  I want this year to be more about getting comfortable, about acceptance and learning to roll with the changes that life offers.  About enjoying everything that comes my way and just learning to relax and have more fun.  I don't have anything to prove to anyone, but myself.  Realizing that has opened up the possibility that I'm already good enough.  That doesn't mean that I don't want to continue to learn and become better.  It just means that I'm alright just as I am.  My blessings and my life are good enough, nothing needs to be better or more, or different.  They just are, and that's how I want to look at myself.  I'm beautifully flawed, absolutely imperfect, totally human and so very thankful to be able to live my life surrounded by so many wonderful blessings.  

2017 is Serenity - It feels so good and so right to me.  I knew what it meant to me, but I looked up the definition to see what it said, and that made it seem just about perfect for me. 
**  se~ren~i~ty  **  the state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled.  a state of freedom                                     from storm or disturbance.  
Related words are composure, patience, peace of mind, tranquility, cool...  all those words just leave me feeling relaxed and breathe a little sigh when I think about them.  That's what I will aspire to this year, and I will take that just a step further.  

The serenity prayer.  

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed.
Courage to change the things
which should be changed, 
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. 
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that You will make all things right,
if I surrender to Your will.
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen

Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian 
1892-1971

I'd never actually read this prayer in its' entirety.  I love it, and the complete version just seems to feel good and right for me going into this new year.  

Serenity


 I'll take it.

7 comments:

Linda said...

Such an interesting post! Yes, acceptance is a wonderful gift. I think a natural inclination is to think this or that is not up to par. For example, the cold and snow. We've had it since early December and it hasn't let up one little bit. I have a tendency to feel bad about that fact. But, oddly, every time I go out to work with my horses in it--and the snow is DEEP now--I end up having the time of my life. I was complaining to my farrier today--it was cold, gray, cloudy--and then we walked outside and the sun was coming out and I said--BUT IT'S BEAUTIFUL!! He agreed whole-heartedly.

Serenity is a great gift. It sounds like you're on the right path for yourself.

DJan said...

How wonderful. From faith to courage to serenity. I am thinking you are totally plugged into the past, present, and future, and all will be well in your corner of the world. I look forward to seeing where it all leads this year, dear. You have written it from your heart, and I feel it deeply. Thank you for sharing this. :-)

Nicku Bruce said...

I love your 2017 word and very much understand your desire to live in the moment.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great post Lorie! I think we all feel not good enough or up to par at times. I know I do but I've learned to accept that I'm not perfect and never will be. Serenity is a perfect word for the New Year. Enjoy yourself and bask in the sunshine of serenity by living in the moment this year!

Shirley said...

Wonderful introspective post.
It takes faith and courage to have serenity- sounds like you are on a good journey.
May this year give you many blessings.

Rian said...

Your post today made me think of a saying that I believe in and I use with my grandkids:

"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened."

Happy 2017!

aurora said...

We are all so hard on ourselves. For me, that's where nature, horses, yoga and all the other good things where I connect, remind me that life is really for living in the present. The past has already happened, and the future isn't guaranteed. I like this new focus, and introspect you've shared. Being true to oneself is so important.