Sunday, December 31, 2017

On The Dying of the Light- One Little Word 2017 Final review... or where I find I didn't fail as hard as I thought....

One of my favourite spots on the planet- Nugget Point South Otago.

My One Little Word for 2017 was Light

Here's what I said I was seeking back in January....
  1. I want there to.... finally be a light in my eyes
  2. I want a bringer of light.
  3. I want to... light my soul up.
  4. I want to...lighten the darker corners of my mind
  5. I want to...lighten up 
  6. I want physically lighter.
  7. I want to... lighten the material load at home.
  8. I want to... illuminate my home in the world.
  9. I want to... be a guiding light, especially for my children
  10. I want to... be light-hearted
And here's where I am at now...

1. There's a glimmer of light in my eyes and it comes down to three things... having my best friend playing a much bigger part in my life for the last year and a bit... encouraging and supporting me and also stimulating me mentally and he seems to be able to make opportunities happen as well. Writing- I have been writing, it's time consuming but feels easy and natural and I love it. Bali... both the country and just the act of travelling were life changing... given the option I would have already left to explore the next place with my small boy crew in tow because they'd love it too.

2. I guess if I am honest I did bring some people some light this past year in small ways. It wasn't what I was hoping for I had an audacious plan to build an online community where people share their stories, record their stories and also use social media for their own and others good mental health. I started too big and too soon and got scared off and ran away to hide. I still very much believe in this dream and feel sad about it... not sure how I will handle this in 2018.

3. Bali lit my soul up. Swimming lit it up in a way I had forgotten I could feel. People's stories lit my soul up. In the past couple of days my garden has been lighting it as well. And I'm certainly excited to the core of my soul about my 2018 One Little Word.

4. This was a big one for me this year and not what I intended at all. But I finally admitted that I needed to go to counselling and found an excellent and affordable counsellor whose style of counselling (Schema Thereapy) was perfect for me... it was fucking hard, hard, hard, exhausting work and I fought to resist some stuff very much... but I got there in the end and finished up at the end of December.
It was hard to see myself as I see myself and the shortcomings that I believe/believed I have/had. It was really shocking to see how virtually all my security had been eroded without me noticing and the corresponding impact on my independence, resiliency and just how negatively vulnerable it left me. It was like I just gave up on life and now had a mountain to climb. I still have lots of work to do but I have the tools now and a good understanding to move forward with. I also started to do some regular journalling and art journalling- both of these are hard for me to do at home because I don't feel like I have much privacy nor any real security for my thoughts.

5. I wanted to lighten up... I did a bit the counselling helped a lot with this- turns out I am a bit of a perfectionist in disguise and set some pretty high standards for myself and generally judge myself with a pass fail system... not helpful. Sometimes I won't even try and do something if I think I won't be able to do it to standard.

6. I did start to lose some weight this year and then had a mental set back and never really picked it up again... I'm ok with this surprisingly it was a huge year mentally and emotionally.

7. I started the decluttering at the start of the year, eased off and stopped. Then when I got home from Bali the first thing that hit me after having been in a white bedroom with a white bed with two bedside table and a lamp was just the sheer volume of stuff we have... so much damn stuff!! So I have started again and plan to keep it ongoing... I might have to set a daily or weekly target to keep me ontrack. But I'll be moving house at the end of the year so it will be good motivation... the next house will have light coloured walls... not this dark brick crap- it really makes a difference!!

8. Nope... not even sure what the hell I was thinking with this!

9. Is also a no. Well I guess it might be a 'sort of'... but I really have been trying to get my own damn oxygen mask on for the past while... it's still not firmly attached... maybe 2018 I'll do a better job of attending to theirs... but I'm not guaranteeing anything... and I'm not kicking myself for this either... only I understand the whole picture and as some people have reminded me... I am not doing a terrible job... I'm just not doing a good job by my own high and exacting standards. Yeah yeah yeah...

10. I have not been terribly light-hearted this year except in small moments- there's good reason for that. This goal was too big an ask considering.

Along with all of the above light has played a part in my year in other ways as well...

... one of the best things about having a word is that it helps you to notice the world... I have seen the coolest light bulbs this year, and dusk and dawn lights, sunsets, light on water, shadows and so on and so forth. Light has been a lovely lens to look at the world through.

... light is the way I prefer to work when I am taking photos... I have been taking some tentative steps with aperture lately and some even smaller ones in manual mode... but using Jim's camera for the year most of my learning has been around light... too much, too little... ambient... ethereal (the best sort).

... light was something I enjoyed on my travels this year as well. Jim and I went to Margaret River and visited two light houses- one as the sun was going down. We drove to Merriden on a day that seemed to have four seasons in the space of just a few hours- we ended the day in the midst of a spectacular lightning storm- probably the best I've seen ever. The light in Bali and the luminescence of all the greenery there is also stunning and on a couple of nights awoken by thunder I opened my curtains and lay watching the flashes of a monsoon season storm.

... I was incredibly fortunate to have other people be a light for me this year as well. I asked some super big and hard questions about things I was struggling with on Facebook this year and the responses I got were enlightening.

... I also worked through trying to find a job, applying for uni in 2019 and sorting out the sorry state of my teeth. Having a light shone on these areas made me incredibly vulnerable and uncomfortable I felt really worthless... and am still working on building that back up.

To be honest coming into writing this post I thought it hadn't been such a good year for Light as my word. Back in November I wrote this in a discussion with someone else about my word...

I wanted to lighten my physical and mental loads, I wanted to provide a light for others- within my family, community and the world, I wanted to light up my emotions after feeling quite dead inside for such a long time- I wanted to feel light hearted. And lighten my to-do list as well. I think if I had have been a little braver and more focused the word may have worked better for me. But I also underestimated how far from the core of myself I have strayed. I really probably needed to nurture myself and let the rest fall into place once I was happy and more comfortable in my own skin... I'm not there yet... but I am working much better towards it. Setting myself such a huge task and then feeling that I was failing at it just made everything harder... oh... you've just helped me learn something about connecting with my OLW... I need to dream smaller.

I felt like Light was too big. I had some dream goals that I had felt confident about in January but then got undermined by the process of looking for work and seeing my lack of value in that arena... that feeling of worthlessness and 'never enough'- let alone 'good enough' permeated a whole bunch of places- and had a massive impact on my ability just to be ok. But in review it wasn't as bad as I had thought... in fact it was pretty good (Yes Jim you were right I came a long way). It wasn't what I intended for light but it was what I needed and I have to admit that is as it should be.

I didn't shine in 2017... but sometimes I glowed.

Farewell Light... and thanks for all the illumination! xoxoxo

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