#1 Prompt: Reflect - Take a moment to think back on your reverb11 responses. Have you learned anything? What surprised you about this experience? Which of your responses was your favourite?
#2 Prompt: Choice: What can you choose in 2012 to make your life better?
#1 -- When you take the time and make the effort to reflect on past experiences -- not to beat yourself up or to think about ways things coulda-should-woulda been handled differently, but truly examine the experience in the clear light of after-the-fact, it should always end up being a learning experience.
With Reverb, the year is up for review -- something I don't know I'd do so introspectively otherwise. I've learned that there were too many sad moments in 2011, too many mucky bogs to slog through a step at a time. I've learned that there were too few joyful moments, too little laughter, not enough fun.
I was most surprised, I guess, by the revelation that Mary Oliver's poem "The Journey" turned out to be the defining moment of 2011 for me -- a real 'Road to Damascus' moment that has shaped most of my actions since that dark night. I knew it was important; it is in the looking-back that the impact becomes noticeable in what my life has been since, and in the direction that I've been at pains to continue walking towards.
In that poem, that revelation, I was able to release my fears (mostly) and desperate need to make things better for someone else -- to 'fix' them. I was able to let go and turn towards my own life, and I've stayed on that path since.
What a strange place to find the light -- an issue of O Magazine, reading late on a dark and stormy night.
I like the honesty in my responses this year: I've put a lot out there for people to see, and yet I felt I was writing these letters to myself alone. I liked especially this post because it was a revelation to me as I was writing it, at least the part about forgiveness (I knew I liked food ;>}}}.
Reverb is a powerful writing tool and a revelation if approached with a willingness to examine oneself candidly and honestly. I think there will be additional Reverb-related e-mails this year and I'm also planning to seek out other writing prompts. That really helps with the discipline -- the 'doing the work' part -- of writing daily.
#2 -- What can I choose to make my life better? Being proactive about health issues, losing weight, easing stress will go a long way towards making my life better. I'm mostly doing that now, well, maybe except for losing weight. But I don't want to wait until some big health crisis looms large (like I'm in the emergency room) before I address issues that I know I have some control over -- and all too many of us do.
I can choose to do things I enjoy doing and to be with people who are positive, easy to be with, and who care about me as much as I care about them. I can choose to avoid groups and individuals whose negative energy and attitude are spirit-suckers -- you know, sort of like the Dementor's Kiss in Harry Potter?
I believe that even in the darkest of times there is always a glimmer of hope (reinforced by our current viewing of the entire extended edition of The Lord of the Rings, where the blacks are pretty darned dark and it's hard to see much hope, unless you're Arwen, who always finds it). I choose to be with people who share that outlook, and to ask them for help if I find myself falling into the pit of despair.
I can choose to make my days meaningful, whether that is cleaning out clutter or spending time with a friend or simply sitting and reading a book. And always I can choose gratitude: it helps prolong life and makes even difficult issues easier to bear (I know that is a very Pollyanna-ish attitude and there will be some who scoff. I've tried it both ways. Gratitude is a lot better, lemme tell you. And it is your own perception of any situation that makes the difference as to how easy or difficult it is.)
I am grateful for the writers who took the time and made the effort to formulate and e-mail Reverb prompts this year. It makes a difference to my own life.
Happy New Year to all tonight. May 2012 bring you blessings you didn't know you needed, joy you never visualized, and love you always hoped for.