New seasons, like new years, are a great time to reflect and take stock. What do I want this season to yield? What do I need to do to get closer to my goals and dreams? How can what I am doing help me be who I am called to be?
Journaling over the past 25 years has given me proof of how setting and reflecting on intentions has helped me manifest my life up to this point. It has also helped me endure the struggles that have come along the way. For instance, when I read my entries from 2004, I can see when I (finally) came to the realization that I might be struggling with postpartum depression. At the time, I described it by saying, “I feel like I am watching my life in a movie.” I felt very disconnected from everything that was happening in my life, even joyful things.
In retrospect, the first 3 years of my youngest son’s life, I seemed to be in a perpetual state of struggle. I first realized it when I started my counselling degree. My first course was in grief counselling. I was carrying a lot of grief. Grief from childhood, from lost opportunities, from losing two babies before having my youngest. Ultimately, I had lost my self. Who had I become? How did I end up in the life I was living? Why could I not feel?
The 3 years that followed I sought to answer those questions. I went to therapy, I attended workshops, I wrote, I read, I meditated. I even came face-to-face with a very angry part of me I called Angry Fat Girl. What I learned in my search for healing was the art of letting go – of my past, of my anger, of my hurt, of my expectations, and, ultimately, of the weight – a physical manifestation of my emotional pain. It all felt so heavy. It was time to lay it down. You have to let go of some things to give room for new things. It was time to make room for my grief and let go of some emotional pain. It was time to bear witness to Angry Fat Girl and thank her for holding space for my anger until I could deal with it.
This past New Year’s Eve, after watching the documentary Minimalism with my family, our intention for 2017 was set. Letting go can be so freeing. Whether it is an old gaming system gathering dust in your basement; or an old grudge that has been taking up space in your heart. So, after holding on to them for 25 years, I decided it was time to burn my old journals. I no longer need a reminder of the struggle because I have the lesson of healing.
In the end, the point of my writing is not so much about insight into the struggle, but a way to intentionally search for meaning. I write to find the lessons that I know are there, if I look for them. I can choose to leave behind the struggles and carry forth the lessons into the present. That is the power of intention. I should plan (hope for the future) and reflect (learn from the past), but the most important thing is to make room for today. Truly, today is all we really have.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey