Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Year in Review

Really? This year is almost over? Where did it go?

Where did December go, for that matter?

I swear, as I get older, time just seems to move faster and faster, and as it speeds up, I find that the stupid little things I used to get so hung up on just really don’t matter anymore.

Tonight when I was going to scrub the sink with Comet, I turned on the water to get the sink wet first—and the spray arm fell off in my hand, and water went shooting everywhere—all the way across the kitchen, on the cabinets, the ceiling, the fridge, and so many tiny crevices between the ceiling and floor that I’m certain I missed some when cleaning it all up.
At first, I was stunned—initially at how long it took me to reach for the handle to turn the water off. But then, at the sheer amount of water that had landed in wholly inappropriate places in my tiny kitchen.

And then… I started giggling.

I couldn’t stop—as I grabbed a towel and started the excavation—a moot attempt to find all the dispersed water in my kitchen, and I laughed harder and harder as I opened cabinets only to discover that the contents were also soaked! I couldn’t believe it!

And then it hit me…

A few short years ago, an episode like this wouldn’t have ended in hysterical laughter. Oh, no. It would have ended in yelling, screaming, cursing, and eventually crying, as I slammed cabinet doors and shoved things out of the way.

It’s not that distant in my past. And I marvel at how much I have changed in such a short time.

This year is no different.

At the beginning of this year, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be at Frito-Lay for all of 2011. I still had a lot more weight to lose. I was living in the sterile suburbs, in the house my ex and I had lived in for almost 9 years. I was still grieving the loss of my marriage, although at that point I was mostly functional. I had no interest in men or in dating—rightfully so, since my heart was still healing. I was going through the tail end of a full-on identity crisis—having realized only a few months before that I had spent my entire life trying to be a Relater (sorry non-Pathways folks…), but recognizing I’m actually an Entertainer/Commander.

It was revolutionary for me, yes, but along the way, I sure did make an ass of myself (at least a few times) as I tried to figure out what it meant for me to be far more outgoing and results-oriented than I had ever given myself allowance for.

And finally, while I leaned heavily on God in times of crisis, I wasn’t sure what it meant to be with God on a regular day.

I also moved to Dallas. Clearing out that house was one of the last things to do before truly moving on with my life, and admittedly—it was one of the hardest. Going through 9 years of stuff, plus all the crap I had from college and even my childhood proved to be too much. I got bronchitis and ended up throwing out a ton of stuff and leaving even more behind. In other words, I did the best I could with the resources I had.

My living room and dining area
Suddenly, I could breathe. I fell in love with my apartment. It’s a little slice of heaven… a sacred, safe place where I could recover and deeply heal.

Then there’s the tiny little step of accepting Jesus.

Somewhere in all of this change, I rediscovered my love of dancing, fell in love with yoga, and tentatively invited piano back into my life.

In May, I had a housewarming-slash-birthday party at my abode to celebrate my new space and my continued changes.

And then, my 44 year-old sister had baby Kasey on June 1st, and I got to experience the joy of becoming an aunt all over again. Seeing that tiny little girl with my hands and feet really threw me. And getting to watch my sister become a mom all over again is actually really cool. She’s so much calmer and more laid back than she ever was before.
Wendy & Kasey

As if I hadn’t had enough excitement… at the urging of my friends who insisted it was time, and that I was ready, I started my adventures in online dating. And I wrote about it here

Of course, some of the very best stories didn’t end up here in my blog, but they are written, waiting to be put in my memoir. I spent my entire summer doing nothing but working and going on dates. It was fun for a while, yes—but it got exhausting.

Spending those months "turbo dating" as my friend Michael calls it, though, was not only incredibly valuable, but it helped me get my confidence back. It helped me learn what I really did and didn't want in a partner. I got my sassyness back, too. I even came pretty close to falling in love. In retrospect, I'm incredibly thankful I didn't. I am thankful for exactly the way things happened.

David & Me
Just as everything in life, those months got me ready for the man I was about to receive.

In late August into early September, I slowed down and was spending time with one or two guys when David entered the picture—after a long ramp-up time of us shyly getting to know each other.

It took us both by surprise… and it still does. Neither of us can believe the way we feel about eachother, and just how unlike it has been with anyone else.

In the midst of our getting together, I realized that what felt like the last piece of my old life was my job, and it was time to let go.

The timing felt right, and I had a plan in place. Except—my plan fell through, and now I’m squeezing all I can out of the very last of what little money I have.

Still writing every day in my paper journal.
During this time, I had the distinct pleasure of facilitating Writing for Growth with Mark Rogers. In that 12 weeks, I stretched myself immensely, and I watched all the participants stretch, too. This is, without question, one of my biggest blessings of 2011—making Writing for Growth happen, and then thoroughly enjoying the fruits of that labor!

But the last three months of this year have been the most interesting, by far. For the first time in my entire life… I have rested. In October, I mostly slept. In November, I got an awful lot of sleep, too. And December has seen its share of sleep-filled days as well. It feels like I’ve been recovering from years and years of sleep deprivation.

And then, December came along—and during Step Beyond, I was able to finally shed the very last piece of all that had been holding me back. I finally learned how to forgive myself, and I learned what it means to me to give myself grace.

I stripped my contract of all the additional words I had added in during and just after my Pathways training, seven years ago, and I slightly refined my covenant. Now, it’s this: I am a strong, loving, accepted woman, resting in His arms, letting my light shine.

The rest of this month has been a blur of learning what it truly means to trust and have faith in God, that I will be taken care of, no matter what. And in talking with a friend, I realized something crucial. These precious last three months have been the personification of my “theme” for 2011—slown down and simplify.

I’ve come to realize just how little I really need. I’ve come to realize that I don’t actually like living a super-fast-paced life. I have enjoyed this time of rest and reflection. I have been continually amazed at the messages I’ve received, the gifts I’ve received, and most of all—the love I have received in these last three months.

What I see is that I have received these things because my life has slowed down just enough for me to be able to practice being fully present in every living moment. And in being fully present, it’s pretty hard to miss just how blessed I really am.

The space around me is God, supporting me. Everything in my world is here because I chose it. It’s no longer by default. Nothing is here by default! If it isn’t useful, if it doesn’t support me, if it isn’t a positive force in my life… it’s gone.

And even though I have an alarmingly tiny few dollars to carry me into the new year, the fact of the matter is… somehow, I am happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve completely shed the skin of my old life, and while that leaves me feeling somewhat exposed, it’s also a remarkably humble and hopeful place to be, too.

I am thankful for 2011. It’s been a really good year. A year of intense growth and learning what it means to be truly emotionally healthy. I finally learned how to engage my world in a healthy way instead of a codependent way. This year taught me the value of asking for help… the value of stillness and rest… what true peace really feels like… and while money is tighter than tight, I am rich in blessings, love, and connection. Richer than I've ever been!

I am thankful.

I’m not sure what 2012 holds for me. My hope is that it holds abundance.

You see, I have always limited myself so drastically—putting such tight caps on what I think I can earn, the amount and quality of love I give and receive, the depth of my relationships, the courage I have—and in 2011 I got so exhausted with all those limits that I ended up working hard to cast them off. In place of those limits, I am welcoming abundance. Abundance in love… in connection, intimacy, giving and receiving, travel, happiness, and yes—money. I am so tired of starving myself of what I thought I didn’t deserve, and I’m not going to do that anymore.

So, yes—my theme for 2012 is abundance!

What's yours?