I’ve been following a blog for a while now called My Big Girl Pants. It is maintained by a girl who has cancer, and she documents her experiences through her blog. Her name is Bridget, and she is amazing. When I read about her trials and tribulations, her successes and setbacks, and her sheer courage, I can’t help but feel compassion, and an overwhelming thankfulness for life. Today I read, sadly, what appears to be one of her last posts. After participating in a clinical trial and experiencing yet another setback, her body has about had enough and the last six weeks have proven extremely challenging. In this latest post she has thanked her readers and is grateful she made it through the holidays, and now just wants to spend her final time with her husband, without anymore trials, doctors, or appointments. Her last line read, “Please, don’t forget about me.”
I share this with you not to be a Debbie Downer, but to let you into how I am feeling (because isn’t that what writing is about, anyway?). What I’m feeling is sadness for this woman – this writer, fighter, and all around inspiring soul that I would have never connected with if not for the internet. I’m also feeling an immense sense of gratitude. We often don’t take the time to really celebrate how lucky we are. Despite our setbacks – and we all have our own versions – we are, luckily and hopefully, for the most part, doing just fine.
So here are my thoughts for 2013. Every minute spent allowing your ego to keep you in a stronghold; every minute you spend focusing on a negative, is a precious minute overlooking a positive. Every moment of jealousy, hate, or anger is a moment where you forfeit joy, peace, and love. There is no need for it, and we have a choice every time. You have a choice. I have a choice. Let’s choose the positive. Let’s for once not focus on politics, religion, or any other issue. Let’s just for once focus on love, gratefulness, and understanding. If we can do that, much of everything else will fall into place naturally. We will never see eye to eye with everyone around us. And the beauty of it all is that we don’t have to. Our differences are what make the world the interesting place that it is, and if we could just let our minds open just enough to see those differences in a positive light, we could move forward and actually grow.
Let’s remind ourselves this year that at the end of the day, none of the small stuff matters. Your job, your hangups with your appearance, your bad day, the things you wish you did – none of it really matters. And all the time you spend agonizing of how you could have done something better is a forfeit of celebrating the great job you actually did do. Release the pressure. Do you have food? A roof over your head? Is there love in your heart? That’s all we ever really need. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take the time to go outside, breathe the air, and notice the tiny miracles going on around you every single minute of every day. On your drive to work, don’t just focus on the pavement – notice the changing of the leaves, the birds flying overhead, and all the seemingly subtle things that can be so easy to take for granted. Focus on these things that speak more softly – not the honking of horns or minutes on the clock. Focus on awareness. Think about patience, and before you make a snap judgment, take the time to open your mind and learn about the topic or person first – you never know what one is going through and how you will grow if you open your heart.
If I could recommend one book for you to read this year, it is Eckhart Tolle’s, “A New Earth.” If you’ve never read this book before, you may feel overwhelmed at first. It is not a book you can breeze through, and you really have to sit and think about what Tolle is saying. You may have to read lines over multiple times to truly allow not only the words to sink in, but the feelings to sink in. It can be a mind trip. It will change your world, if you let it.
I’ll leave you with one of Tolle’s recent quotes:
The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.
Even if we discount all those pseudo-problems (such as worry), that are created by dysfunctional thinking, there still remains the fact that “having problems” seems to be the norm in people’s lives. Relationships, finances, work, health…if it’s not one thing, it’s something else. So, can we accept the possibility that comfort and security are not the ultimate purpose of human existence – and that consciousness evolves and awakens through facing discomfort and insecurity? Can we accept that we may be here to be challenged, and so no longer resent the fact that we have problems? Can we accept each moment as it is?
The paradox is that, when we live like that, with no resentment and no complaining, not only do solutions appear more quickly, but we transcend the entire realm of problems. All that’s left then is life and its challenges, and we respond to each challenge with peace in our hearts.
Amen. Here’s to a peaceful 2013. I hope you do what you love this year, and what makes your soul feel good. Happy New Year, Punk readers. Love you guys – thanks for sticking with me and for making this year count!!!
And lastly, for those who may be wrestling with an apology they wanted but never received…