Learning about peace in 2015, looking to be in 2016

Here we are on the last day of 2015 and I can’t help but raise my hands to the heavens and say, “Thank you, God!” In my mind, 2015 will go down as a year of heartache and struggle. And with excitement I will wave goodbye to the last 365 days.

I began 2015 searching for peace. For those of you who don’t know, each year, I choose a word, which I hope guides me through situations. The first year I chose together because I thought I was supposed to put some family situations back together; instead I was putting me back together. Another year I chose healthy because I thought I was to a point mentally where I could focus on my body, but healthy turned out to be an mental and emotional journey.

Truth is, throughout the months of August and November, I hate this whole word-of-the-year thing. Nothing EVER turns out the way I think it will. I spend the last half of the year feeling defeated and bitter.

I told my person this while she was 972 miles away (remember she moved to Colorado-but now she’s back!). She asked what my word might be next year and I said, “I think it’ll be *!@&# it!” Isn’t goal setting supposed to bring us to life? Isn’t the point of these New Year’s Resolutions to make us a better version of ourselves?

Because she’s wise, she said, that the word of the year isn’t about the word guiding me through the situations throughout the year. She noticed that the word has always been a process where I strip away the layers that are cloaked over me to find the root of the word at the end of the year.

As much as I hate to say it, with all the literal mountains in my life throughout 2015, I do understand peace in ways I did not 365 days ago. Funny thing is that I think peace involves a kind and patient heart through conflict. I don’t know if it involves the absence of conflict. I just realized last week that no matter what situation is going on around me, at the root of me, I hold kindness and patience, no matter how I feel.

Over the last couple weeks I’ve watched the goal-setting gurus (and ultimately sales people) take about setting goals so that one can get things done; so that a person can become the person they’ve always dreamt of being in 2016. It makes me feel icky on the inside when I think about how we have to “do” to become.

I believe that from the moment we are born, we have a certain set of qualities that innately unique. Maybe the problem is that from the moment we are born, we are in relationship. And while I believe that each of us are made to be in community, relationship makes our lives, our self-worth, our outlook uncontrollable. Through that, we gain all these layers that become so heavy by the end of the year, we look to do things shed them.

Think of how many emotional layers are in the doughnut around my waste. Think of how many emotional layers are in the hole of financial debt we continue to dig. Think of how many emotional layers are in so many of our habits, whether they are deemed “healthy” or “unhealthy.”

And whether it’s following through on a goal or choosing a word to guide you through the year, I think “successful people”-not the ones after money-are those who exude their personality without reservation.

If I lose weight, I’m not becoming who I was meant to be, I am discovering who I was created to be; a magnificent body, which has limitless possibilities.

I’ve thought a lot about my word for 2016. I thought, okay, if I chose peace and it was chaos, then I should chose chaotic, then I’ll get peace. I thought if the word-of-the-year is an outcome, then I should choose beautiful, knowing that it will be ugly, then I’ll have beauty at the end of the year. That’s really what I want back. I want to see beauty again. And through seeing and experiencing beauty, I want to share that with those around me again. I also thought about choosing free and out because I truly want to be free from and out of so many things.

Thing is, I feel like I’m pushing that one. At the core of me, I am a naive and tender person. But right now, I’m very thorny and skeptical because of all the layers I’m carrying around.

I tried to hide those layers when my person moved away this summer. I cried and cried and cried in my house, not knowing where to go or who to lean on for a few days. then my friend, Cheryl called and told me that I could be just where I was for a few days. When she gave me permission to feel and think exactly what I wanted to, I was able to process the changes that I had to face.

And because I need that, permission just to be where I am, at this moment, and because in 365 days I want to be more of who I am, I am choosing the word “Be” for 2016. Like every other word I’ve chosen, “Be” can take on a lot of possibilities. And I’m sure the outcome won’t be anything I’m hoping for.

But because I know I will learn something, because I know I will grow and change and because I never want to be stagnant, I’m doing this rodeo again. Honestly, I’m scared of 2016. I feel like a kid at the edge of the pool, testing out the waters with my big toe to see if the water is warm enough to jump into.

I am smart enough to know that the only thing I truly know is that 2016 will include me navigating through my responsibilities, many of which I have zero control over, and me pining for my dreams. And I know that through that, I have shed enough layers in years past to cross these waters knowing who I am at my core.

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I may do it all, but I have not done it all.

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