Happy New Year!
As in years past, I've got a new Panic-Free Estate Planning Workshop Schedule posted and a few other things to say. If you want to read on, please do. If you are interested in attending a Workshop, sign up now! I’ve got dates set through May, 2012, but these fill up quickly. As always, your help spreading the word about my workshops and other services is invaluable and so appreciated; if you are so inclined, please do forward this email or information about my practice.
I have been struggling for weeks to articulate what I want to say about this past year and what I want to manifest in this new one. While I'm not entirely at a loss, things do not seem clear and cohesive as they have in the past. Beyond the common urge to do some 'out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new' type analysis, I have tethered my law practice to this moment: I've sent this New Year's email out now for four years in a row. This does add some pressure to the endeavor, for sure, but, more than that, I look for a new beginning and clear perspective for a community beyond myself and my immediate family.
Last year at this time I was kind of a wreck. My mantra for December, 2010, had been to "just get through it," with the "it" being a period of intensely hard work, and delayed gratification in realizing the fruits of so much effort. In order to just barrel through, I had to shift certain challenges and problems to the back burner, where they waited for my attention, simmering, until the end of the holidays.
The new year did not, in fact, bring the clarity, focus, and facile decision-making I'd been expecting. Instead, the hard work continued, and the deferred maintenance of 2010 simply continued into the next year, only without an excuse to get through some period of time before having to figure out what to do.
A year ago, as I sat in a state of confusion, I called upon myself and the world at large to be honest. In that spirit, I did what any self-respecting, American child of the 1970's should do and I went into therapy. Perhaps this information is too personal to reveal? I'm sorry if you think so, but I do believe that mental and emotional health - more specifically mental and emotional healthcare - are as universally important as cardiovascular exercise or good dental hygiene. There should be as much secrecy and embarrassment around therapy as there is around getting your teeth cleaned, which is to say, none, necessarily.
I won't go into the gory details of my own personal work, but I will say this: for me, it all came back to being present with myself and my life. The decisions did not make themselves, nor did any answers reveal themselves, as a result of my being in therapy. However, I did (re)learn to trust myself, give voice to my feelings when they came about, and to just be able to be with whatever confusion and pain arose, especially when there was no immediate solution. I also (re)learned the importance of finding those things - tasks, rituals, endeavors, processes - that reconnect me to myself and to the moment, that take me out of the restlessness of my worries and stresses, and that allow me to enjoy the good that is and to feel the strength of my own self.
Where does this find me now? Not so clear, not so knowing, not so decided, but - BUT - definitely oriented in space. The work of this past year, in therapy, in getting through my own health scare, in maintaining healthy boundaries during my own family struggles, in nourishing myself, my marriage and my children, has, I feel, turned me to face the right path. I'm really not sure whether it is that my direction is now clear, or that I am now a little more able to bring the rest of my body and mind in alignment with where I am facing and walking. I'm not really sure there is a significant difference.
As it turns out, being present does seem to be the larger theme at work. This is true for my friend with a stunningly successful design business and heart-breakingly unsuccessful efforts to get pregnant. This is true for my relative whose declining mother and drug-addled brother are somehow collaborating to erase any small amounts of dignity and affection within that nuclear family. This is true for my newly divorced and newly widowed friends (more of them than I would like) who try to find hope and peace after losing those which were promised and reliable. All of these people have discovered, and rediscovered, the power and salvation of simply being present in the moment.
So I wish this for all of you in 2012 and beyond: that you are able to be here now. For brief moments, from time to time. Whether you connect through music or yoga or cooking or climbing mountains or playing cards or jogging or smelling roses or pruning roses or drinking beer. Whether you believe in the after-life or not. Whether the life around you is filled with ordinary or extraordinary loss and pain. May you recognize that this time in this life is an opportunity like no other.
Thanks for reading,