Anybody else thinking the holidays are coming too soon?
I can’t believe it’s that time again (but it is)!
I can’t believe I’m having another birthday (my 62nd)!
But I can (and do) believe that there are wonderful things ahead! Here are three things I’m excited for in 2023: I’m editing an anthology coming called Awakenings: Stories of Body & Consciousness. (It’s coming out in October–isn’t that a great cover?!?) I’m working on a collection of essays. And—fingers and toes crossed—I’m hopeful that I’ll soon have a wonderful agent—and publishing contract for my novel You Oughta Know!
Each year, at the end of December or beginning of January, I usually write a gung-ho-make-New-Year’s-resolutions/revolutions post, but this December seems to be calling for something somewhat quieter. So many of us are exhausted. 2022 has been quite a time.
“Look Back with Love”
I was feeling a bit of heaviness recently, when a wonderful email arrived in my inbox. It was my dear friend Sherry Danner’s newsletter at Nurtured Light.
In her post “Look Back with Love,” Sherry gently nudges us to be kind to ourselves as we reflect on the year that will soon to come to a close:
“Here’s a suggestion for us strive-to-be-better, try-harder, aim-higher, goal-setting types: before we look back with unflinching eyes at what we didn’t get done in 2022, let’s first look back with love and notice what we did do.”
I’m reminded of one of my favorite sayings, one I am called to repeat to myself many times over: “Focus on the gains not the gaps.” (I believe this fabulous mantra can be attributed to Dan Sullivan who wrote the book The Gap and the Gain: The High Achievers’ Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success.)
In that vein, Sherry offers a list of questions to help her readers acknowledge the many things they DID do in ’22.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Sherry’s newsletters have such healing wisdom to offer. They often says exactly what I need to hear. And, even better, Sherry guides me in finding the words I need to tell myself.
I am grateful to Sherry for giving me permission to share her questions for a “Look Back with Love” with you:
What are you proud of yourself for doing this year?
What are you proud of yourself for not doing this year?
What acts of kindness did you offer or receive?
Did you share laughter with someone?
Who did you love?
Did you spend time with an animal or in nature?
What did you pray for yourself or others?
What did you most enjoy doing in your down time?
Did you experience awe, wonder, amazement, or joy?
How did you try to take care of yourself?
What are you grateful for this year?
Sherry adds these powerful words: “Our loving eyes see what’s most important with greater clarity than our harsh, critical eyes. If we keep at it, maybe we can all remember to use them more often.”
(I sat down with a journal and a candle in a quiet space—with my phone off!—and wrote the answers to these questions. It was a beautiful and powerful exercise and I highly recommend it! Let me know how it goes!)
The World Lost a Bright Light
On another note, a terribly sad note, a member of our WomanPause community lost her wonderful 21-year-old son on November 19th.
Denise Polis is a dear friend of mine. I met her years ago when I tutored her oldest son for the ACT. Her middle son followed, And then came Michael.
Michael Polis was a bright light in this world. I remember him so fondly. We would sit at the family dining room table, notebooks open, test questions ready to be tackled. Before we started, though, he would always mention something about his cats, who’d often visit us as we plowed through grammar and reading passages. Michael was so very interesting—and interested in the world around him. He was kind and incredibly giving and generous—and a lot of fun! We’d often argue about test answers. He’d advocate for his choices as he would for children in need. We’d laugh, and I’d tell him he’d one day make a great lawyer.
Unfortunately, Michael, along with his light and his kindness, carried the great burden of mental illness. He suffered from bi-polar depression and debilitating OCD. Michael spent years in treatment—all kinds of treatment—so many doctors and meds. He worked incredibly hard to get well and took many steps forward, always with the support of his loving family. But, as Denise wrote in her beautiful tribute to Michael at his wake, “Recently the symptoms of Michael’s illness broke through, seemingly quickly and with a vengeance. He chose not to continue this battle any longer.”
Mental illness can be a terribly destructive force. There needs to be more attention focused on mental health challenges and less stigma, along with greater resources made available, for those who suffer from them.
My heart and love go out to Denise and her family.
I wish you all a wonderful Hannukah, Christmas, and New Year filled with hugs for yourselves and for your loved ones.
Even with all the joy, yummy food, and wonderful friends, I will always remember this is a difficult time for many. Holding you all in my heart.
With much love and gratitude. See you in 2023.
For one-on-one support in uncovering your voice on the page, please consider working with me! I’d love to join you on your journey!