Keep looking ahead

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.”

Joseph Campbell

I woke up this morning and tried to recall what I did last year on this day, the last day of the year. I don’t remember. I suspect my mind threw it away.

We all have good and bad days, crummy and exceptional years, but the thought that my mind would trash a day or two, or week, or month, or year, is frightening. I didn’t give it permission to do that. In recent memory, this failure to recall is similar to the experience of going under general anesthesia. I can not tell you what happened in my life for that brief period, and while it’s unnerving to me it is acceptable because I know that a drug did that. However, the thought that my own mind is shutting me out of chapters of my own life is not acceptable. So I asked myself why that blackout?

Karen to Mind: What are you protecting me from?

Mind to Karen: Yourself.

Karen to Mind:  Why might I need protecting?

Mind to Karen: Because you needn’t place your life under the microscope.

Karen to Mind: Thank you for your concern, but I think I can learn from those experiences that I can no longer recall.

Mind to Karen: But you already have learned Karen. You lived them. You accepted them, while sometimes begrudgingly, you tackled them and survived. There were days when you wished you didn’t have to live through them, and people prayed that you would find your strength. There were days when you abandoned all hope, and they prayed for your pain to pass. There were days that you hated yourself, and they prayed that you would forgive yourself. And there were days when anger enveloped you, and they prayed that joy would replace it. Most of all they just prayed that you would remember the light that is within you.

Karen to Mind: I remember now.

Mind to Karen: You found joy this year, and 2016 helped make that possible. That’s all that you need to remember.

Karen to Mind: Thank you for reminding me. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for helping me be grateful.

I spoke with my Mom on Christmas Day. I thanked her for all of her heartfelt gifts that she gave us on Christmas Eve, many of them are keepsakes once belonging to my Grandma. She thanked me for recognizing the thoughtfulness behind them.  She went on to tell me how much joy I bring her and how proud she is of what I’ve done and where I am heading. It was a moment I will never forget (Note to mind: Don’t let this one fade!).

Marianne Williamson

This morning I walked over to my dresser and picked up this frame. My dear sister and best friend Annmarie gave this to me some years ago. Every time I read this, I think not about looking back, but ahead. As Marianne Williamson wrote, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I do believe that what we put out in this world, is received and returned. And when we overcome our fears, the pain that tethers them to us, is too released, opening our hearts and minds to joy. I am so fortunate to have people who saw my pain, and prayed for it to pass. And because of them, the grace of God, and my own volition, my anger turned to joy.

On this last day of the year, I could focus on the worst parts of 2017, but that’s foolhardy. Who wants to look at life half empty, when it is so full of promise? Not I. For that reason, I’m going to say goodbye to this year with love and admiration for the friends, family, and even strangers who brought me so much joy, so that I could return it. As I look ahead to 2018, I know in my heart and mind there is nowhere to go but up. My 2018 wish for all is to continue to learn from the present and embrace the future, by simply looking ahead.

Happy New Year!

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