I'm often a slow learner, when it comes to anything to do with my heart or any of that "messy emotional stuff". I prefer not to talk about it, and focus on the easily "conquered" things like technical or logical things that are tangible. Feelings, dreams, ideas, all those things defy boxes or logic and because of that I label them "messy". I've slowly come to realize that not only is it a bad idea to be ignoring the un-boxable things, it's downright toxic. I need to Put It Out There, and let it be. It's my goal for 2009 to be more transparent, and not keep all feelings and reactions under wraps for fear of offending, hurting, or disappointing someone. Honesty can be painful, but it's far less painful than the alternative.
I had an odd thing happen this morning, on the way home from a long-ish run. I stopped very impulsively at an ice-cream shop with my running buddy, and went from sweating in the cold breeze to sitting right inside the door of this little place, eating a heavenly ginger beer/ginger ice cream float. Delicious! I saw a mom with a stroller struggling with the door, so I jumped up and held it for her while she manoevered it through the narrow entrance. She didn't say a word to me or even acknowledge my presence, just went on to the counter to order. I honestly felt invisible. I was tempted to be miffed at her lack of courtesy, and was for a minute. Then I realized I had done it because I knew exactly what it felt like to struggle through a door with a stroller, and it was the right thing to do. It really didn't matter whether she thanked me or not, I put it out there because it was a good thing to do, and didn't need to expect a return of any kind. I'm not a saint, don't get me wrong, but the key is that no matter what I do, I can't put something out there based on any expectation of getting something back. If I do, I'll be miserable.
Putting things out there sometimes gets great returns. Sometimes it doesn't. The act of putting it out there is enough however, and you benefit tremendously. Tell a friend how you really feel. Confide in someone that you're struggling in your marriage. Confess your fears, faults, and failings to one another. There's incredible catharsis in realizing that you are NOT alone in how you feel, think, or worry. There's also tremendous relief in honesty and transparency. I feel it every time I let out something I've been keeping inside.
The recession that's hitting us makes many people afraid, and it also empowers us to dump what's not real, and focus on what is. Admit you've been living beyond your means, and you can start moving beyond that mentality. Admit your fears, and you can start shedding them. They only hold as much power over you as you give them.
State your positive intentions too, and focus on what's possible. I currently have absolutely no way to make a trip happen that I'm wanting to take. It's to visit friends I haven't seen in ages, and I really really want it to happen. I've started by telling people that the time is booked for the trip, though the means aren't visible. I'm planning it, as much as I can, and praying and hoping for the pieces to come into place. I'm visualizing it, and confident that if doesn't happen when I'm planning, it will eventually. I'm putting everything I can out there towards the goal, and while some would call that the law of attraction, I think of it as letting the physical and spiritual worlds know what I'd like to happen, and seeing if they're willing to play along. I once put an expensive airline ticket on 48-hour hold with no money to pay for it. Within 24 hours my boss handed me a surprise bonus for the amount of the ticket plus a little spending money. It does happen :).
Put it out there. Be bold, transparent, fearless, and purposeful. I have no idea what this year holds for me and my family, and I've never been on shakier ground in practical terms. I do know however that I want to focus on the things this year that make me who I am, that nurture my sons, and that keep it real. I'm looking for a "messy" year, and I hope to come through it with humor, integrity, flexibility, and peace. Happy 2009!