Happy New Year !
Here we are waking up in the year 2020 and the past forty years feel like a blur. I’ll observe my 40th high school reunion this year, celebrate 30 years sober, begin the process of downsizing a life full of things no longer useful and I have (hopefully) worked my last day for anyone other than myself.
I have had a full year, to be sure. Health challenges, retirement and a crisis of confidence head a long list of “things of great significance”. I used to think I was alone in suffering the aftermath of what can only now be called “imposter syndrome”. This year I learned it was a thing. I also learned I wasn’t the only one.
There are so many things that eat away at our confidence. It can feel as though something corrosive is burning through the layers we have for protection. It’s acidic and painful and leaves the tenderest parts exposed and vulnerable.
Who am I to call myself an artist ? Who am I to imagine I could write a book ? Who do I think I am ? Is it the lack of formal education that makes me feel “less than” ? Is it the awkward way I am in most social situations ? Do either of these things really matter in the long run ? I ask myself over and over why I circle back to “not good enough”.
I’ve spent this last year trying to have some reality about what is next for me. Am I pursuing what I love ? Do I even know what that is ? And if I figure it out, am I brave enough to chase down my own wild ideas ? I tend to gravitate toward those who make me feel inadequate. What is that all about ? Why on earth am I not in tireless pursuit of those who make me better ? Or who make me feel better ?
Part of (one of) my tarot spreads today hit me like a ton of bricks. The question before me could be boiled down to this: when I “get away” am I retreating or am I escaping ? I keep thinking if I only had quiet or a change of scenery everything would be better. But is that true now ? Has it ever been ? Am I running away from a new beginning ? Is it possible to really relax into a day or two away without the feeling that I have to “accomplish” something ? Please don’t let me find that I am investing everything in the one day that never comes (tomorrow) ?
I do these tarot spreads for guidance. I’m not seeking answers so much as I’m seeking a spiritual path. To know me is to know I was born without a compass. How can I ever hope to find my true north without a cosmic nudge ? I get lost in parking lots and malls. How can I ever hope to wrangle my hearts desire from the void ?
I wish my superpower was the ability to see in the dark …
Before I give a nod to these two beautiful card readings, I want to note a few things that have been meaningful over this past year. Number one: although I may have occasionally played a little fast and loose with the actual descriptions, on December 30th I completed my goal of 52 hikes. This one means a great deal to me.
For the better part of a year I made getting outside my priority. I managed to sneak away on days off and early weekend mornings. I worked hard to overcome the pain and fatigue that are characteristic of RA. I dragged my happy ass out of bed before dawn a couple dozen times. I pressed on even at those times I had my doubts about my fitness. I put my heart first and my body fell in line. I reached my goal and it matters.
This coming year I want to do 52 again, only this time with no repeats. I want to sleep in the woods, under the stars and I want to log as many hours as I can in civil twlight. I want half of those hikes to be new. Easy, right ? Well, it’s not an impossible goal…
My word for the year is “acceptance”. In recovery I have always known it to be at the root of my well-being and the answer to most questions. With acceptance comes responsibility. It is a foundational thing and I need the reminder. I’ll give it to myself for the next 363 days. I want it to come naturally to me as if there is no other way. Because to achieve serenity there really is no other way.
In considering what I’d like to leave behind as I enter this new decade I have to state the obvious: the ten pounds I’ve gained since summer and all of the nagging doubts that keep me from being fully immersed in my future. But there are less obvious things too. Not everything has a name. Sometimes we have to give up on less defined dreams and be content to let them go even though they never fully materialized. Maybe sometimes it’s best to remember things like they never were to me.
My perpetual goals continue: drink more water and meditate more regularly. It is the discipline of doing those things that will serve me. Anything that brings a calm to my unquiet mind and helps me to sleep more deeply is of great benefit. As always, my priority for being outside continues and deepens. Sometimes for me, going out is going in …
I hope that this is the year I find my tribe. There are a handful of people I feel deeply connected to but they are dots on a map. I need people who know me and find a way to love me anyway. That despite all of my shortcomings and awkwardness find a way to see through whatever cover I may have thrown up and love me through the hard parts. I need people to take walks with. People who will jump in the car with me on a moments notice to go chase an orange morning sky or a blustery afternoon at the beach. My tribe. Someone I can call when a idea takes hold. A gentle hand to help guide the bus on the bumpy, winding road ahead. Is this the year ? Finally ?
I did two tarot card spreads. Same spread, different decks. The first spread is from the Gaian Tarot. It has been a reliable companion the past few years and I am beginning to understand a lot of the cards without consulting the book. I still do, of course, but the cards have become familiar and quite intuitive. I am beginning to slowly understand how to read them for myself.
The second set is from a brand new deck, the Crow Tarot. The artwork on these cards is just stunning. The kinship I have always felt with these corvids comes through in this beautiful offering. I am just beginning to discover these cards and their meanings.
If there is an overriding theme, it is one of transformation. I suppose that is obvious given my new circumstance, but the cards seem to confirm the change that lies ahead. Someday, I hope to get more clarity from these spreads. I’m not sure how they come together, or even IF they do. Am I wrong to read the reverse, shadow meanings ? I hope to spend some time learning these two decks this year. They each feel powerful in their own way. Onward.
I hope you will continue to follow me here. This blog is like an old friend now and I return to it over and over. I’ll share more adventures this year as I move forward. I am preparing a new list of hikes in the new year as I spring forward from my last brave adventure of 2019. Even as my circle is getting smaller, my map is getting broader.
There is so much to see. As John Muir said
“The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”