Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hasta La Vista, 2016!

During this last week of 2016, I consciously remained in the present. In my journal I wrote that I wasn't looking forward to 2017 or looking back at this year refusing to let go. I've seen the posts of "Fuck you, 2016!" And I understand the vitriol behind it. 

For me, 2016 started with my dad rushed to the E.R. on New Year's Eve and admitted to the hospital. It would have been a premonition of things to come in the year but I was consumed with the busyness of my family's issues and the misery of my job to know it. 
Fear was a constant companion as the unknown loomed ahead. 

I remember that pivotal morning in the first week of February after I logged into work. I sat  in my cubicle at the cube farm weeping silently in desperation and crying out to the Universe. I was sick of me, sick of my thoughts, sick of the trajectory of my life and I had enough. I needed a major change and it had to happen now instead of later.

Within minutes of me wiping my drenched face of tears I looked on my Instagram and saw a quote my friend Justin posted from poetess, Nayyirah Waheed's, Salt
I read those words and felt the momentous shift take place inside me. A powerful revolution was born from the simplest act of learning to love myself. Minutes after reading my friend's Instagram post I opened an email that contained an Eckhart Tolle quote: Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world." 
 

I vividly remember sitting in that cubicle in quiet awe. For within five minutes of my calling out to the Universe, she answered. For the next couple of months, I devoured everything Nayyirah Waheed wrote and checked books out written by Eckhart Tolle, specifically A New Earth.

I stumbled upon the affirmations of Louise Hay, was reintroduced to Gabrielle Bernstein's work and read her books, Spirit Junkie, Add More Ing to Your Life, Miracles Now, and The Universe Has Your Back. 

Every day in 2016 I woke up and prayed, meditated in the afternoons in my cubicle, read, and listened to podcasts all day. I would drive into work doing my best to change the misery that engulfed me every time I crossed the threshold of the building. 

When Gabby Bernstein says the Universe has your back I know it's true. It seemed as if I was given an arsenal of weapons to help combat the ongoing negative pattern I perpetuated my entire life. I learned to be accountable for my actions instead of blaming others. I learned to love myself, really love myself because that's where change begins.

I believe my greatest learning lesson was, of course, the end of my dad's life. And again, the Universe gave me something to help me through that in the form of Dr. Atul Gawande's book, Being MortalHad I not read this insightful book I wouldn't have understood the last month of my dad's life dealing with hospice, case managers, and nurses.

I learned to walk into the job I loathed and pray blessings for my boss, including the coworkers who did not understand me. I learned to stay away from coworkers who thought they could tell me what to do with my hair when they clearly had no idea what to do with their own lives. I learned to distance myself from their negative energy and when I couldn't, I learned to pretend to "act professionally and cordially." 

I recently found a page in the back of my Passion Planner I completely forgot about. It was dated on 7/2016 and listed the things I wanted to manifest. 

Don't anyone scoff, mock, or ridicule me for manifesting because two out of three happened shortly after I wrote the list above. Number one on my manifest list was: A new  job where I can work from home, near my mom, making more than $30/hr. A job that will use all my skills to its full potential. 

It's been three months since I left the cube farm and not a day goes by that I haven't fallen on my knees in deep gratitude for being where I am now. It's not so much that I work from home than doing the work I actually love and being with people who get me. Although my teammates and boss are scattered throughout the country there is a cohesiveness in my team that I never experienced with my previous employer of six years. I can honestly say I'm happy. Despite the crazy workload, I am happy at my job. 

The day that I wrote my manifest list above I went back to my cubicle, sat with my eyes closed, prayed, meditated and affirmed. Much to my irritation one of my coworkers decided to interrupt my solitude. Her eyes fell on the pages of my passion planner where I glued Louise Hay's daily affirmations (see pictures below.) My coworker proceeded to ridicule me as she read them. I didn't care. Let her, I thought. I'll be out of here in no time and I'll still be praying/meditating/affirming/visualizing/manifesting.
   
Which brings me to another lesson learned---know my values---live by them without deviating too far. This lesson has helped with navigating a new life involves a widowed mom and this newly elected imbecile I refuse to call my president. 

I can't really echo the sentiments of others when they say "Fuck you, 2016!" Rather, I give 2016 my thanks. "Thank you, 2016!" Without you my evolution into an enlightened being wouldn't have begun.  You weren't without challenges, and heartbreak; angry moments and disappointing situations; sickness and death. 

And let's not forget the heart-wrenching world events in Aleppo, Syria, the injustices placed upon our Native American brothers and sisters standing against the progression of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Orlando nightclub shooting to name a few. 
  
 
2016 took a group of icons and legends whose deaths affected many. It seemed as if I couldn't take a breath before I heard Prince died, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Florence Henderson, Leonard Cohen, and recently, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and her mom Debbie Reynolds. I know there were more but for me the impact of these deaths cut deep.

Yet, there were also the good times in between. The highlight of my year, besides my emancipation from the cube farm, was planning my son and daughter-in-law's wedding on top of photographing their save-the date, wedding shower, and ultimately, their wedding. How many moms can say they were able to document their son's wedding? 

With only less than five hours to the new year I can face midnight with no resolution lists in my journals or writing goals for 2017

I'll continue starting my morning on my knees in prayer knowing each day is a blank canvas for renewal with the intention of joy and gratitude. For months now, each morning upon waking is a fresh start to a day that unfolds depending on my choices. Situations beyond my control are unavoidable but the choices I make in how I react to them determine the tone for my day. 

Now, more than ever, I intend to value those people who were present when my dad passed away. The ones who surprised me with being there when I least expected. They're the ones I'll carve quality time out for.

I intend to practice mindful love in my relationship with Ray who just said right now, "We're going into another year, babe, you and I. You're my ride or die..." In our ninth year I think it's time I actually listen to him instead of running headlong into situations I regret later. I should know better by now, right

Below is a picture of the two-page spread I dedicated in my Passion Planner to my favorite Nayyirah Waheed quotes. These are the pages I return to often and will continue in 2017. 
 As 2017 ushers in and the days go by I'll remember the poetic words of Nayyirah Waheed: 

I will be lost and unlost, over
and over again, relax love. You 
were meant to be this glorious.
Epic. Story.