A Shift of Perspective
Moonlight glow Christmas 2018 – photo by favourite and one and only son, Rob Gaudet
“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.” ― Ellen Goodman
There is value in this thought of Ellen Goodman’s, and as this year draws to a close and I enter a reflective time I want to offer a suggestion. Rather than even looking at “potential,” what about setting aside some time with paper and pencil to record a laundry list of things we did this year that gave us satisfaction. The actions we took that we are proud of.
I am not talking about pleasure, happiness, easy or getting our own way. Rather, I am speaking here of things that may have been hard, challenging, or risky. Things we didn’t even want to do but needed to be done and we rose to the challenge. The times that we overcame “resistance” or “fear” or “inertia” to start or stop something that we deemed necessary. I might add, things we even desired to do and were still a struggle to begin.
As a consequence of doing them we experienced satisfaction, meaning, relief, joy, delight…and we could say to ourselves, “good work.” I did it.
I can imagine that we all have something to write down. No life is free of challenge. No life goes along smoothly from day to day without disruption. Once in awhile we can be our own disruptor and tackle the task or the situation we have been ignoring. And then we have the heady rush of completion, or, if not finished yet, we see the light at the end of that tunnel.
Why not devote a little time to this idea. I’m going to do it when I finish this blog post. I have a few things already surfacing as I write these words. And I will use the encouragement of what I did do, to pick up the pieces of what needs doing in 2019.
I have reconciled myself to the fact that my inbox will never be empty. I will never be able to do everything or even repair everything in my life that is calling out my name. Instead I am going to celebrate small victories. This won’t keep me from attempting all kinds of things that I think are important but it will allow me to honour the effort, which is the only thing we can do anything about.
I say, congratulations to all of us, for the things we did, or, in some cases, did not do in 2018. The conversations we had; the books we read; the meals we cooked; the problems we solved; the help we offered; the thank-you’s we gave; the apologies we offered; the kms we walked; the harsh words we avoided that one particular time; the times we said yes; the times we said no in order to say yes to some other purpose; the tasks we completed; or started; the sock drawer tidied up; the excess we gave away; the laughter and kindness and tears we brought to the table – our vulnerability.
Let’s be kind to each other including ourselves. This is nothing about deserving. Who deserves anything, the good or the bad, when you think about it? As I have said before, quoting Hafiz, “No more throwing sticks at our own heart.”
Let’s end our year not just counting our blessings or emphasizing what we neglected, but noticing the things we actually got right. Let’s encourage each other along, including ourselves.
Note 1: A want to acknowledge the hydro men and women who have been working tirelessly around the clock to restore power to the 700,000 residents, on the coast and lower mainland of BC, who lost power one week ago this morning. They and their families need our deepest appreciation for this endless effort over the holidays. And they are working still. The estimate is that by New Year’s Eve they will be done. A deep bow!
Note 2: Because of the lengthy power outage my small family moved to the seaside town of Parksville where we had our Christmas gathering. Grateful for the warmth, light, and Christmas dinner provided. My son Rob took the photo used here, of the beautiful moon reflected on the ocean in front of our suite. Thank you for reading my blog posts! Warmest greetings to you all, and see you next year, Trudy