How Has 2023 Influenced You?
Well, we got through 2023 with joy, sorrow, loss, frustration and peace. Was there an incident in your life that you dared to let those feelings be voiced, expressed, or known? Did you learn from this experience and will you do things differently in 2024? Is there a person, animal or place in nature that has influenced you? Is there a story you would like to share? Is there something you would like to say to your family, friends and community about 2023? Many of the stories I heard had to do with change. A shift happened within your self. Even when a situation was intense or uncomfortable, a hope and often a solution was at the end of the story. Each experience presented a learning curve. How can we support each other more? Let’s perform simple acts of grace by allowing a person to be, accepting where they are, by being attentive and appreciative of their personal journey. These are the gifts of beauty that are within us to give this season and beyond.
“I feel overwhelmed by the time restraint to answer that right now! Can I text you later?” Then all of a sudden the words, the story unfolds. “In order to heal there has to be a release to make room to allow for the beauty for what is to come. A release, a forgiveness needs to happen for you to be able to see what’s in store for yourself. To allow your path. As I travel through this life every person, place or thing is given to me is my destiny to learn from along with pain and suffering to learn to be my greatest self. Trust in your journey.”
“Hmm, that’s a lot of questions in this question. It’s a full question.” Here it comes…
“A friend of mine had a bike crash last Friday. It looked like he was badly hurt. An ambulance came and took him to the hospital with his wife. I went to the hospital, and his wife was very somber and upset. She was realizing her husband could die before her and felt shocked by this and wanting comfort. Two days later I visited them around dinnertime at their home. His wife asked me to stay for dinner and I said No, thank you. Her husband walked over to me and hugged me and I felt deep emotion. I asked myself, what is wrong with me to not want to stay for dinner with them? As a child at dinnertime there were seven children and two adults — nine people in trouble. Concentration at the table was too much, too sad. Parents arguing at the table, my siblings witnessing their distress. I sat through this night after night. These are the consequences of eating dinner with people. Because of this experience, I now today practice having dinner with people instead of walking away.”
“I am retiring. It’s very exciting! I realized I am good at making wreaths. I love foraging outside and creating something from nature. I like the outcome of the wreath. It’s a satisfying skill. I ask, Do you think you will make seasonal wreaths? Yes, I like making the vines and using things that will match the season. I want to try garland and swags. My days teaching at school have been very stressful with construction in the school building with jackhammers going. I go home to my little table, my nature platform incorporating ribbons and nature goodies to create wreaths. I have fun figuring it out. On my walks now I scout out the area for supplies. I am invested in it for 2024.”
“Let me think on that. 2023 was a blessing, I am still breathing. Everything is pretty much the same for me. Blue, my dog, is teaching me every day how important it is to be alive. She is very happy and takes excellent care of my house. I am not happy with mankind as a whole. No kindness, no concern, no real thought of your fellow man. People tend to be thinking of themselves. Such a history of genocide and violence. My solution is we need more kindness towards our fellow man. We are not taking care of ourselves and need to support mental health institutions. How long can we fix things with money? We are overwhelmed and need to value and respect our culture in the way of our ancestors.”
“ I recently was in Baja and felt my experiences there spoke to me in a heartfelt way. I felt a real heart connection with the land being off the grid, and speaking the language authentically brought me so much joy inside. I had a scary experience in the ocean that pushed me out of my comfort zone that I had to learn from. My husband likes to go far out in the ocean. We were with another couple who wanted to see the turtles. We had just come back from a long swim and I was tired but we went out again. I realized I was running out of gas and told my friend I cannot go further out. I started to swim to shore. I felt like my limbs were 500 lbs and the shore was a distance away. I made it, struggling to the cove. I had to scale the cliffs and walk back to the town. The good news was I found a beautiful trail on my way back. I was able to learn a lot about my body and how to listen to it. I also have worked my relationship with my husband in a new way when communication is needed. It was a big scare that taught me to listen to my body and now I have another chance.”
“In 2023, one of the most complicated years of my life, I learned to love myself. I recognized how I’ve let others mistreat me in both subtle and not so subtle ways. And I accepted it. My body finally said “no” to all the ways I allowed others to harm or disregard my feelings. I won’t speculate how a lifetime of old behaviors might’ve resulted in my body breaking down to where I sit down. But as the dawn of the solstice blankets us with greater light, the greater light within me begins a long healing journey of self-love.”