What we let go of, What we hold onto

I had to cancel my New Years Eve plan this year. I planned on sitting around a fire, outside, appropriately spaced from the two other households who are “not in my bubble,” watching the fire crackle and drinking some celebratory nonalcoholic beverage after putting my 18 month old toddler to sleep. Instead I sit here, in the comfort of my living room, watching a Christmas burn and crackle, a bushy green vibrant tree reduced to a naked, half burning branch.

New Year’s Eve is a time of forced reflection–of resisting the anesthesia of Netflix and choosing to sit right here with myself and my woefully neglected blog. Nonetheless, the neurons that zap thoughts into existence, making connections between ideas, memories and laying the groundwork of a new path are not here tonight. Instead, there is a fog and a powerful pull to retreat. So, this is my attempt to stay rather than go. To shout into the abyss when I would prefer to curl up with my heating pad and self pity.

What do you want to hold onto? What do you want to let go of as the year 2020 fades and we begin another trip around the sun?

I want to let go of:

Plans.

2020 was a year of shattering and the undoing is far from through. I want to know whether or not the death spiral of dwindling education funding will cause me to lose my job. I feel a great sense of anxiety around this prospect since working hard and “doing good” are such pillars of my identity. I find myself imagining all the possible scenarios that would play out at work and how I will respond. The merry go round of possibilities, who will get laid off, who will retire, where we will all end up, how will we pay our bills, what will I have to change, will I ever get back to where, haunts me at odd hours. It’s the same tired track, well worn path of anxiety and tedium.

So in 2021, I’d like to let go of all this desire to know the unknowable and trying to “plan” my way out of what it beyond my control. There is a rhythm to the unfolding. There is peace in letting go. There is wisdom in not creating plans that are rooted in fear and anxiety.

Let go or be dragged.- my kitchen magnet

Also: staring judgmentally at my forehead, obligatory housework (fuck housework, let the laundry pile become a tower), pleasantries, restrained conversation, half truths, my body looking or feeling a certain way, guilt about not doing enough or being enough, fear of the present and future, grocery lists.

I want to hold onto:

The quiet voice.

Beneath the waves of crushing anxiety, the homework, the papers, the plans, the debt, the responsibilities, there is a quiet voice. When I slow down enough, when I sit on the meditation cushion enough, when I breathe deeply enough, I can hear this quiet voice. It sounds like trust, truth, love, faith and community. It sounds like “enough.” May I nurture the quiet voice inside in 2021. May I lean in and learn to notice when I am not listening.

Also: home made pasta, new friends and 57 degree river swims, learning to roller ski, planning trips and taking them, seeing Jenny, baked macaroni and cheese and my ambition to return to veganism (I am large, I contain multitudes), sobriety, sweet, sweet, sobriety, emotional, physical sobriety, my daily meditation and biweekly RAIN meditation, cross country skiing, everything that is my daughter, Finn and Morning holding hands, fires in the hearth, trusting my own worthiness and goodness.

“I can’t relate to anyone who has said 2020 is such a bad year. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I had a roof over my head for the whole year. I have housing! I haven’t been to the hospital. I have worked my menial job at Door dash. For me, 2020 has been the best year.” – my brother called while I was writing and this is what he said. 12/31/2020. 9:05 pm.

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