Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 12-22: More Reflection

December 12. Body Integration.
This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

It is hard to think about a moment like this because this last year has been so transitional for me.  Most of the year was spent deciding what to do next, where to go, what path to start walking down, and where to even start.  It’s hard to think of being whole mind and body because this year was more about getting connected than actually being connected.  I guess I could say that the moment I felt most integrated with my body was the day I started teaching.  I was finally living out my dream, doing what I know I was created for.  I finally believed that I was being the best me that I could possibly be.  I knew that no matter what happened I was going to be okay because I was a teacher and I was living through my gifts.  I have been continued to be blessed as a teacher and love every minute that I get to spend with my students.  They are a blessing (and sometimes a curse) but I love them all for who they are. 

December 13. Action.
When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

I am living in my “next step.”  I am working on getting my teaching credential while I teach.  My first day of classes is in about two weeks, thus far I have sort of been flying by the seat of my pants and learning as I go.  But now I will start doing homework and classwork.  My aspiration is to be the best teacher I can be and hope that I help at least one kid become something by something I taught them or showed them.  My aspiration in life is to be an inspiring cheerleader for my kids to be the best versions of themselves as they travel through this life.

December 14Appreciate.
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

The thing I have come to appreciate more than ever are friends.  I have seen a lot of people come and go throughout my life.  I have seen a lot of people who I thought would be at my side through anything, betray me to the bitter end and rip apart my life with their bare hands.  I have seen my friends swear they would be there for me, and at the sign of something hard they turned a blind eye.  I have sadly been let down many of times by friends.  This past year my true friends have shown their true colors.   Sticking by my side and believing in me, even when I wasn’t sure I believed in myself.  My friends have been my cheerleaders, my shoulders to cry on, my sounding boards, and the people who have seriously questioned my intentions.  They have made me examine what I really want from life and given me the strength to believe that I can and will achieve it, and more importantly: that I deserve it!  I maybe don’t show gratitude enough to them, but every day I am thankful for them and I feel overwhelmed with blessings to have the people I have in my life. 

Jeff:  Thank you for unfailing to brighten my day.  There has never been a moment in time when you haven’t made me laugh so hard I am nearly crying.  Thank you for sitting and listening to my troubles and offering me sound wisdom and helping me see the truth whether I want to believe it or not.  Thank you for always being there for me.  Thank you for putting up with my incessant bullshit.  You are a wonderful person and I don’t know what I did before you.  Mostly, thank you for being my best friend.  I know I can count on you to be there for me through thick and thin, and it means more to me than I think you will ever know. 

Hillary:  This year has seen its ups and downs for both of us.  I have hardly seen you, and we haven’t talked much.  Our lives are full of opposite schedules, busy days and nights, and for some reason both of us are petrified of talking on the telephone.  Regardless, when I really really needed you this summer you were there for me.  It was wonderful to hear your voice when I was so confused and unsure of what I was doing.  And you gave me the best advice anyone has ever given me and I will NEVER ever forget it.  *(And I am not just saying that because it’s the cliché, “normal thing” to say in times like these), it really is advice that will reverberate through my ears for the rest of my life.  I was talking to you about a boyfriend problem I was having.  (Mostly, my boyfriend wasn’t willing to move to California and I wasn’t willing to wait), and I said to you, “I am tired of waiting for him to come here so I can start my life.  I feel like until he gets here my life won’t really start.”  And you said to me, “Your life is ALREADY STARTED.  You are a teacher, and you are living in California, and you have tons of friends.  Your life has totally started.  You are doing everything you want.  Stop waiting for your life to start, because it already has.  Enjoy the life you have, the life you are living, and stop waiting for something else.”  After you said that, things started to make sense in ways they never had before.  And I love you for that.  I love you because we are alike in so many ways, and I love you because you don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about you, and you are brutally honest, and you are just you.  I hope some day we can live near each other so we can do dumb shit like make dinner and watch Jeff’s stand up comedy videos together. 

Alecia:  Although I don’t see you very often, and we don’t get to talk very often: I think of you frequently.   You push me to be a better version of myself.  You always question what I am doing with my life, in the most gentle of ways.  You make me wonder why I really am doing what I am doing, what I am hoping to get out of it, and if it really is what I need to be doing.  You make me want to have a stronger faith in God and Jesus and in the beauty of life.  You make me want to love people that I would normally hate.  You make me want to be a better me.  And for that, I can never thank you enough.  I just hope we are friends for a long long time because you make me laugh, you are honest, and your faith is inspiring.  You are going to make a wonderful nurse, and a teacher, and one day you are going to find a man who will love you for all of the great things you are.  

December 15.  5 Minutes.
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. 

There are sadly not that many things I want to remember about 2010.  A lot of it was hard and confusing and most of it was built on the uncertain ground of tomorrow.  I spent most of the time trying to make decisions.

Regardless, there were some moments that stand out.  The night ended poorly, it was my “last night out in Chicago/birthday bash” and we went to some dive bar in Chicago where they had Karaoke.  My friends and I sang Spice Girls, and the boys sang something terrible, but it was fun and I drank too much (which is rare for me), and everyone laughed and we played board games and I was so happy to see everyone.  It was nice.  To feel a part of something in Chicago.  It was sad that it happened to be my last night there.  Another time I don’t want to forget is a night at Standford’s with Heff (that’s Jeff in Spanish).  I had a terrrribly long week at work, I was feeling really terrible and down in the dumps.  I texted Jeff on a Wednesday I think to meet me for Happy Hour (half off food), and just hang out.  I remember laughing so hard I was crying, and just having great conversation with him.  We talked, about real and honest things, and we laughed about dumb and stupid things.  We really just had an amazing time and it was exactly what I needed after the week/month I had.  He reminded me of what a blessing he is to have in my life.

(and there are more things but my 5 minutes are up)

December 16.  Friendship.
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

A friend that has changed me this year is for sure Alecia.  She has been subtly pushing me closer to God, whether intentional or not, she has been.  And that is a gift that I can not thank her enough for.  It has been a gradual thing, but she has reminded me how important it is to be surrounded by people of faith and people that believe the same things as you or you will get sucked into the things of this world and not be involved in Godly living.  She has reminded  me that I have to be intentional with my actions, with my thoughts, and with my friendships and love relationships.  She also has reminded me that at some point you really have to give all of yourself to God, even if it wears you down, because at the end of the day you will know that you did all you could do for Him.  And that is the best way to pay gratitude to God, is by living through and with and using all of the gifts you have in every way possible.  Thank you A.

December 17. Lesson Learned.
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

This is a tough one and an easy one.  I could say one thing I learned about myself is that I cannot live in a cold place because it makes me cold.  But that would be the easy answer.  The hard answer would be that I learned I have to trust in God more, and be more faithful and honest with myself and the people around me.  I can’t keep going to church and saying that I am a Christian and living like I am a non-believer.  The things of this world, and the people who live only for things of this world are not going to make me content.  I am always going to be wanting more and never going to be satisfied.  BUT, if I start living as though all things are blessings and nothing is really in my control and that I have been given enough, I feel I will be truly shown a different life.  I believe that through prayer, the right people, and a love for God and not for guys, is really what will fill my life completely.  I previously lived as though a love relationship would make me complete (mind you I was looking for love through sex), but I am going to move forward knowing that the only true and full satisfaction can come from the grace and love of God.  I know that puts a label on me, and in some ways makes me lose some of my edge that I worked so hard to get…and maybe some people won’t like me any more because of it, and some people won’t understand it.  But, I would much rather not live the way I have been.  Which is pretending to be close to God, when really all I was doing was living in sin.  I would much rather live what I believe on a daily basis.  God is real.  He is good.  He is faithful.  He is abundant in his blessings.  He is the way, the truth, and the light. 

December 18. Try.
What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

Next year I want to try to get out of the country (or at least NYC).  I keep talking about traveling and getting somewhere I have never been but I have not been able to do it.  I didn’t do it in 2010 because I was hardly working, and wasn’t sure if I would get a teaching job, and I was traveling from Chicago to California, and moving across the country.  It was kind of a busy, and expensive,  year.  I am hoping that this summer I can travel somewhere.  Either to Italy, Paris, London, or NYC.  Really, I would be content with any of them.
December 19.  Healing.
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I would say I am in the process of healing right now.  I think I need to heal from a lot of old wounds, and a lot of things that were hard for me last year, and hard for me in past years.  My “Best friend” sleeping with my boyfriend of four years.  A different “best friend” sleeping with my first love.  And yet another “best friend” being mean and harsh and playing with my mind and heart.  I was just in a relationship that was exactly what I thought I needed, or I made myself believe it was exactly what I needed but didn’t want to admit the things it was lacking.  The healing of things that have gone on in my family, and healing from past crap I just haven’t dealt with.  I just feel raw and open and like a lot of things are being healed now because they have just been brushed under the rug until now. 

In 2011 I would like to be able to find the power to believe that God, friends, community, and faith will heal me from all of the things that have been weighing on me, or have hurt me in my life.  I don’t want to carry around this extra weight anymore.  I want to be rid of it, or at least at peace with it. 


December 20.  Beyond Avoidance.
What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing?

Simple: I should have broken up with my boyfriend in May when I wanted to, but was too scared to. 

December 21.  Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Dear 2011 Self,
I know things seem hard and confusing right now, but trust me, you will get through it.  You can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you know that it’s a long hard journey to the end.  Keep pushing through even when it’s hard and uncomfortable and you feel like running in the complete opposite direction back to what is familiar.  In the end, it will be worth it.  Your life will be more fulfilled, more successful, and most importantly: more peaceful.  When you are wanting to be alone and tired and stressed and sad, push yourself to call a friend and get out there.  Push yourself to be open with people, and to tell them how you are feeling in a gentle and kind way.  Be more patient with your students: it is not their fault that your life is not perfect.  I know you wanted everything to be easy for you at age 25, but trust me, by 30 you will have forgotten this hard time even happened.  You will have all the things you imagined for your life. They may take longer than you thought or wanted them to but you will have them.  Make time for the things that really matter to you and that bring you peace and joy, and it will be okay. 

Also, stop comparing yourself to others.  You know you have never been one to blend in with a crowd, you have always preferred to stand out.  Keep that up.  In the end, it’s much better to be a shooting star than twinkling night star.  A shooting star may fly by quickly, but people never forget them.  And remember that shooting stars used to bring you love.  Things may come slower to you, and you may not feel like anyone understands you, but remember you have all those wonderful friends who have stood by your side, and who have always been a part of your life no matter how far away you lived.  Be thankful for them.   Also, open up your arms for new friends.  Your life will change in ways you cannot understand once you find a church community to be an integral part of.  Like I said earlier, you know the journey is not easy.  You are on the road less traveled, the road where wounds get opened up, and life gets honest and dirty and hard, but at the end is grace and love and acceptance.  Believe in that, and keep pressing onward.   Most importantly, don’t give anyone the power to drag you down. 

2016 Self


December 22Travel.
How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

This was sort of already answered in a previous post, but I didn’t do much traveling in 2010.  I would love to do more in 2011.  Hopefully I will be able to.  FINGERS CROSSED! :)


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