G O O D B Y E * 2012 *
H E L L O
Wow. 2012 has certainly been a year representing the "out with the old" motto more than any year I've had. It was the ending of some pretty substantial and influential relationships in my life and the beginning of me truly discovering myself, unapologetically. I learned valuable lessons of letting go, speaking my truth & forgiveness-all tools that will help me face many challenges with grace on my future paths.
Here's what I've learned:
T H E L E S S O N O F
LETTING GO _________________________________
Letting go of my first love. The first good kind of love that is. This was an extremely challenging task, as you would assume, and it took me literally the entire year (plus) to finally figure this one out. At the beginning of the end of our relationship I learned a great lesson of faith. There was a part of me, though I was still holding on to him for dear life, that knew that this ending was making way for something greater, no matter how bad it hurt. & the words I spoke to God every night were along the lines of, "I know you have a greater plan in this for me. Just, please, keep guiding me through this storm." One of the things I've become very good at in recent years is graceful grievance. I believe that skill started to form after the death of my daughter's father 2 years ago. It's made me aware of a quiet strength in me that knows that I can conquer any hardship that may come my way. Though in the beginning of 2012, I spent many a lonely night weeping for the loss of a love more beautiful than I've ever known. I was sure I'd never find another like it. The way he made me feel, the way he inspired me, who I was when I was his.
Whoa! Red FLAG!!
"Who I was when I was his"? Hmm, this had to be explored. I wonder if you, after reading that, saw any red flags yourself. Or did you just relate, did you think it was sort of romantic & did you maybe even want it for yourself? To be with a person that makes you a better person...sounds wonderful doesn't it? Well if you answered yes than you, like me, will probably have to reevaluate that concept at some point in your life (probably when you find yourself at the end of yet another unsuccessful relationship, maybe the one that hurts the most, the one you swore you got right yet, evidently, got terribly wrong)
I loved who I was when I was with him, yes, but that was because I chose to dive right into a spiritual journey months before he met me. During our entire relationship I was shedding all of my "bad habits" to find my true self; I was eager to be wrong about something, to become aware of all of the possibilities of what my actions may be causing in others & in my life. I was finally learning how to be happy & he happened to be the person that I attracted while emitting that energy of change & joy. I did that-attracted him into my life because of the person I was becoming. I, mistakenly, developed the idea somewhere in the last 3 years that he represented all of that hard work that I- NOT he- put in to become what I AM today. I was the one that fought--against my ego--to choose happiness over depression. I was the one--not him--facing my fears every single time I got up on stage in front of a room full of people and sung my heart out. The truth is, no one should get to determine who you are. No one should define you but the one you call God, in any form you call it. Your true self; that's who determines who you are. The love that you have in your heart; that's what defines you. That creative little soul of yours! That's WHO YOU ARE!!! Truth is, no man should bare the responsibility of another (wo)man's entire sense of self. Took me time (and a few months of trying to wear an old pair of "bad habit" pants that I no longer fit in) to finally realize that he wasn't the one that made me that wonderful person that I loved so much. I was! & I was able to find that beautiful person again if I wanted to. Now, I can congratulate myself for all of my incredible accomplishments instead of giving the credit to someone else.
On Dec. 21st (The End Of The World), I decided to hold my own sort of ritual to finally rid myself of a few things I was holding on to. Believe it or not, after all that I've learned this year on the subject of love & letting go, I was still holding on to my first love. I still thought that I wouldn't find a love like he & I had, so I brought the concern to my therapist the day before 'The End Of The World'. She told me to look at that relationship as if it were in the adolescent stage of my life, because I had been in such a transitional period during our relationship. It was almost as if I were a teenager, in comparison to the spiritual & more self-developed (adult) stage I AM in now. I was just learning who I AM then, fumbling through all of my mistakes & riding emotional roller-coasters, wanting so desperately to grow up while fighting it at the same time...just like a teenager. This was an eye opener for me. Thank You.
He played a very important component in my growth. If anything he was certainly the reminder of happy that I needed whenever I had a depressive episode. I'll tell you what, if he was just a taste of the kind of joy & love that I can attract at such an early stage in my emotional & spiritual development, I can't even imagine the heavenly wonders that are to come!
So whence approached "The End Of The World", I journaled my goodbye. It is an American culture for most young girls to have a ritual to let go of an old love; usually there's a lot of tears, cursing & the burning of sentiments involved. So I said, "Embrace your inner-teenage-girl!" Okay, I didn't burn anymore than a candle this time (at least only because I burned everything when we first broke up yet I didn't really get the liberation I was looking for.) This time I was actually ready for this ritual. The true liberation: letting go. After my written goodbye, I meditated; calling upon all of the loving, cleansing & renewing energies of the Universe to heal me of this anchor to my past that no longer served me. As my entire body vibrated I felt something working....& now, here I AM, telling the story of how I let my first lovego.
You see, I learned that all it takes to knock down those seemingly paralyzing walls we build for ourselves is attention, question & intention. I always felt the wall but it wasn't until I said,
"Hey, that's a wall"
"Why is this wall here?"
"________________ is what I want to see, be & feel on the other side of that wall."
that the wall just seemed to disappear on it's own. & the wall of him & I is now just a beautifulmemory, an already written chapter in my book of life, and a whole slew of new strength & wisdom I can wear on me like badges of honor :) & even better I can finally surpass that wall and be welcomed by all of the uncharted wonders of my destined path!
T H E L E S S O N O F
SPEAKING MY TRUTH
This is still a lesson I will still have to practice throughout the years to come but had my revelation just this year. Are you like me? Do you have the disease to please?? Scared to ever speak up when someone hurts you just so that you don't hurt the other person or Godforbid....they won't like you afterwards. Yea...me too. Really, this is a disease of the ego--the part of you that always has to be in the right. But let me tell you how detrimental this can & will be for you & has been for me. I spent my entire life swallowing the pain that others caused me down so much that I didn't know any other way & now I don't even realize when I'm doing it. I grew up in a household where speaking my truth wasn't really encouraged, a mother that was near impossible to please & a perfectionist father. Also having an empathic ability that I didn't actually realize I had until this year. I just knew how things would hurt people if I told them. So I went through my life living lies in all of my relationships, giving the other person the idea that everything was just fine while bottling up every little thing they did that hurt me allowing it to fester inside of me until I eventually exploded & had to completely cut all ties with the person & never explain why because I didn't have the guts to say, "Remember 10 years ago when you did that thing? Well that really hurt me & I've been holding it in all these years."
This is exactly what I did with one of my best friends of 10 years, & as much as I tried to avoid talking to her at all costs, the Universe put me right in a situation where I had no choice but to face it. I spent years allowing her to take more from me than I was willing to give & never once gave her the impression that I deeply resented her for it. You see, here's what I've realized how not speaking your truth can be detrimental: Speaking your truth is how you set your boundaries, it's how you say, "This is the line that you are not allowed to cross, because crossing it would mean you don't respect me & the simple fact that I'm pointing the line out to you means that I have respect for myself", & when you respect yourself others will too. Instead, I didn't speak my truth, thus not setting any boundaries. I basically just said ,"My feeling don't matter at all so go ahead and walk all over me." & that she did. Now, really can I blame her for that? She was selfish at times, she disregarded my feelings & disrespected my valuable time, she made it my obligation to be there for her even though I clearly had muchgreater responsibilities. But I didn't stop her. Which is the greater sin? The truth is, I disregarded my own feelings & didn't value my own time. I allowed her to tug me in directions that I didn't want to go. I disrespected myself by not speaking my truth. So when the opportunity finally rose for me to speak it, I broke down in tears. I could barely face it. I was that little kid all over again trying to tell my mom that when I showed her my project that I was so proud of because I worked so hard on it & she shrugged her shoulders unenthused & said, "You could do better", all my hopes were crushed in that moment. You see, what happens when we don't develop certain emotional muscles, whenever you're faced with having to use it, you go right back to the very first time you chose not to develop it. So there I was, in tears mumbling my truth. It was hard but I had to do it & honestly it felt like the greatest weight lifted off of my shoulders. The truth was that I was having that talk not to mend the relationship but only to speak my truth & that I did. Letting her know that wasn't easy & she (never having an issue with letting people know how she felt) didn't quite understand where I was coming from. But it didn't matter. I was speaking a truth that I had been holding onto for over a decade. Do I wish I would've handled the entire relationship differently & let her know right from the gate that she was crossing the line? Yes. I'm sure ourfriendship would not have gone nearly the way it has. I honestly still don't think we'd be friends today though. But I can't have regrets because I also know that I didn't have the ability tospeak my truth back then.....not until now. Since then I've had a few more opportunities to speak my truth. Some that have been harder than others, some didn't really need me to speak my truth out loud to the other person but instead to acknowledge it myself & then try to see things in a different way (this is the part where forgiveness comes in). Usually if someone hurts you it's really an issue within yourself thatyou have to deal with & almost always has nothing to do with the person that hurt you. So keep that in mind when you're practicing speaking your truth. Understand that the issue is always going to be within you, just like with my friend. It looks like she'd be to blame for being a poor friend all those years but the real truth is that I never let her know the type of friend I needed & I allowed myself to be treated in a way that went against my heart's desires. It all comes down to self-love & self-worth really. :) & I hope you can see that the next time you'respeaking your truth.
T H E L E S S O N O F
This is the lesson that I am most excited to share with you because I truly believe thatforgiveness is not only the greatest gift you can give but forgiveness in your own heart is thegreatest gift you can ever receive. I'm choking up just thinking about it.
In this lesson, I had yet another falling out with another best friend of mine, but this relationship was much different than the last I spoke of. This girl wasn't just my best friend she was also my cousin & my other half practically my whole life. At the beginning of 2012 we had a huge falling out that left me so hurt that not only could I not speak to her but I couldn't even write about it; which is really out of the ordinary for me since writing--songs or otherwise--has been a passionate method of emotional release for me most of my life. I knew that I was blinded by this incident, by the pain, by the anger. Approaching any situation from a place of pain or anger is like going into war blindfolded; you'll end up killing some of your own. That was exactly what I was trying to avoid. I honestly could not see how I was at fault in this matter & I couldn't stop blaming her. Months went by before I finally spoke about it out loud to another friend & then shortly after that I was finally able to write a song about it. It was a song of resentment & pain; both emotions of the ego. But it actually happens to be one of my favorite new songs & has paved the way for a new sound that is a greater expression of myself as an artist.
Here's the thing about the ego: I think that once people learn about & truly recognized the ego within themselves, they tend to grow a hatred towards it (realize that this is just another emotion of the ego). It's hard to really understand its purpose when you come to a spiritual awakening. But I know that I have learned to in some ways keep my ego in check by channeling it through creativity. The truth is the ego is how our Holy Spirit teaches us in order to bring us back to God by recognizing our true selves & that we are not the ego. I know that if I was never in so much pain most of my life I would've never gotten so sick of it that my only 2 choices were self-inflicted fatality or to finally get happy. I chose to get happy and was only able to do that by realizing that all that pain of the ego was not who I truly was.
I digress, back to the best friend situation. About a month & a half ago which was over 8 months since I had spoken to her, I was watching a Super Soul Sunday on Oprah's OWN network as I do every Sunday and the subject of forgiveness came up. It immediately made me think of her. I'm not quite sure why but I all of a sudden had a burst of courage (& maybe slight insanity) to write her. So I did. But I was in a state of seeking the ability to forgive. The anger & pain was still there but I made sure to let her know that I was really trying to forgiveher. Weeks went by without a reply. & Then On Dec. 21st, after I had had my ritualistic mediation & journaling my intention to let go of the things that were holding me back (which included the anger I had towards her), I opened a reply email from her. She seemed to be hurt too & as I read through it I'll be honest, a part of me (the ego) felt like she had no right to be hurt by me. I was still blind. But I noticed a similarity between our emails. It seemed as if we both thought the other didn't appreciate or support us & resented each other for it yet never communicated it. So in my reply, this is what I started with & then something happened. It was as if each line that I typed, my blindfold was being removed & I was beginning to see clearer & clearer. It was a miracle occurring through me at that very moment! Maybe it was all that mediating, maybe it was the intentions I set, maybe it was the prayers, maybe it was everything! Whatever it was, it worked!
All of a sudden I thought to myself, "How could I have not been the friend I always thought I was?" "How could I have done that to her? Someone that I love so dearly." I was so busy pointing the finger at her for not being the friend that I thought she should've been that I was completely oblivious to the fact that I wasn't being the friend that she needed. The friend that I needed to be. If anything, nowadays, I take showing my love to those I love very seriously. It is my duty to be a good friend to her. It makes me cry thinking about it--that I did that to her. But my eyes were still opening even wider. I realized that I had really been mad at her all these years because she had it "easier" than I did growing up. I struggled with depression, was always poor, had an alcohol mother, had to raise & fend for myself from such a young age & because she didn't have to I resented her. I also didn't believe her when she was just trying to give me the love she thought I needed; instead I took it as disingenuity. The truth: that mistrust & resentment didn't belong to her. It belonged to my resistance to the cards that I had been dealt; the cards that have taught me my most invaluable lessons. I AM now at a point in my life where I no longer resist my past, I've embraced it & I AM now very grateful for it. Because I know that it was only the path I took & not the definition of who I AM. Because I have already forgiven my past I am able to forgive my best friend. Truth is there was nothing to forgive her for. So I asked her to forgive me. That's the ultimate gift of forgiveness! To come to the realization that it is in fact you that needs to be forgiven. I expressed my prayer to her that she would truly be able to forgive me because I did not want to be responsible for any pain in her heart. Now I'm just so sorry that she has yet to experience the true me. The me that is so loving & giving & I only hope for a chance to give that to her for the rest of my life.
So this, by far has been my great lesson of 2012 & probably my whole life! I thank Godevery time I think about it for giving me site & awakening me to this revelation.
G O O D B Y E
There are still many lessons that haven't quite clicked in me yet & I hope to always be a student of life but all-in-all I think I've had a pretty incredible year of lessons with so much to be grateful for! & I have finally come to a place of letting go the past that no longer serves me so that I can move into 2013 reborn!
H E L L O
Setting my intention:
This will be my year to shine! The year of taking chances! Now that I've cut all ties with the anchors that held me back I can finally fly. & fly I shall!!! This year, I approach life with a truer self than ever before. This is the year I look back on the mountain that I've been climbing for so long to see how far I've come. I remember the moments & recognize the blood, sweat & tears I leave behind. This is the year I soar, from the top of that mountain to the unknown!
God, thank you for this beautiful state of mind in which I live. I've never felt more worthy or significant than in the moments you let me see, let me feel & know heaven on earth. I am sohonored to serve you, to live in your presence, to be the manifestation of your love, to spread your light throughout this Universe & to have been saved by you!
To the Reader:
Thank you for reading. I hope that you give yourself the opportunity to look back on all of the great lessons you've learned in 2012 & set the intention for all the greatness you'd like to experience in the beautiful forthcoming year! Embrace the new year for a chance to make anew you!!
& say, "Hello!" to 2013