Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reverb 13: Day 11. Challenges and failures

1. What challenges lie ahead in 2014? How might you meet them boldly?
2. FAIL | What just didn't work out this year?  Is that okay with you?  Or are you going to try, try again?

1. Who doesn't have challenges? The level of challenge depends on where you are in your own life -- what seems a big issue to one may look like a walk in the park to another. We lead a fairly drama-free, calm, good life, and our challenges sometimes take on a far more serious threat than they really are. I am grateful, GRATEFUL, for that, actually.
I expect the biggest challenge to center around my daughter and her issues, and how I react to them. What I want is to be loving and compassionate and kind, but not enabling or controlling. Learning to not give advice unless asked or sound angry and judgmental are my goals. Being squarely in the moment as I listen to her is another, and not projecting outcomes is another. 
Taking care of myself and inviting positive energy is essential to meeting these goals. Her path is hers; the only one I can directly affect is my own. I can do this by going back to the gym and participating in yoga and tai chi classes as much for the spirit as for the physicality of the exercise, and by continuing to cultivate mindfulness in every moment. And just loving myself, warts and all, and loving her without judging. Tall order, hm.
2. I don't think of any of the events of this past year as failures, even the ones that were and are hard and that may not be all I'd wish they were. There was progress in every instance, maybe not as much as I'd like to see, but progress nonetheless. Life is about change, learning to adapt to them, being willing to initiate change if a current path is getting you nowhere, and always evaluating your options. We always, always have options. 
As I grow and change and mature and adapt, my choices and options change as well. And we're never done with change and options as long as we are still breathing. Perhaps it sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but this story about choosing to be happy stuck with me.  Even at life's end we have options: I was with both my mother-in-law and my mother as they drew their last breath, and the difference in how each woman left her body was remarkable. My always-angry, passive-aggressive MIL left fighting, uneasily, although at the last moment she saw something transformational that she tracked with wide-open, clear eyes. My mother slipped peacefully away, not long after my brother arrived, and holding  our hands, calmly and quietly and lovingly. One last, long intake of breath, and then quiet.
I hope I will always try, try again to see my options and choices in whatever situations I find myself.  I hope I will always choose progress over paralyzing inaction. I hope I will choose the positive path.

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