To welcome in the New Year, we have a candle lighting ceremony. It's a way for us to acknowledge and say goodbye to the previous year and a big hello to the up and coming one. As a person lights a candles, he/she says what they are thankful for in 2015 and what they inspire to be/ do in the coming year. In past years, this has been a jovial experience where you get to listen to your friends talk about past accomplishments and future aspirations in a very "Facebooky" type of way. This year however, was refreshingly different. The first candle that was lite was accompanied with an overwhelming sigh and a single question was posed, "What happened to 2015?"
We've all been there, when time goes by so fast that with so many things (celebrations/ tragedies/ day to day living) happening all at once, that the next thing you realize is four months have gone by and you haven't come up for air. Honestly, I get extremely emotional when this happens and find myself thinking, "That was insane. How did I get through that?" And then I realize that maybe I wasn't living life, but life was living me.
As our candle tradition continued, our opening question set the tone for an intense group discovery. With a sense of ferociousness,urgency, and longing, with tears streaming down our cheeks, we shared our inspirations for 2016:
"To live without fear." "To not be lonely." "To finally get pregnant." "To stand up to my boss." "To stop isolating myself and reach out to my friends more." "To stop doubting myself." "To find happiness by being less self absorbed." "To truly follow my dreams!"
Like everyone, we are all trying to get by with what life throws at us..every single up and down. We are in it together, but often times we only share the good stuff in our lives. Lives are messy and complicated. Many times we are just trying to up hold what we think others see us as instead of being our authentic selves. We have shitty days, we may not be where we thought we'd be at this time in our lives, we want to lock ourselves in the bathroom to get away from our kids for 10 minutes...
As I participated in this activity with friends, I realized how important it is to share the messy part of our lives with each other. That yes our successes and aspiration should be shared, but to know that often times the messy part of life gets brushed under the rug and we are left carrying our own self doubts and fears that often steam roles into bigger issues. We become so consumed in our own thoughts that we wake up four months later trying to figure out what just happened... And as I vowed to my dear friends that night, I encourage you to:
Ask for help, knowing it's easier to carry our load with others.
Take care of you first, so you have the energy to care for those that depend on you whether it be family, coworkers, or friends.
Create community by planing a once a month get together with friends.
Don't forget to enjoy a great beer or glass of wine.
Most importantly, forgive yourself, we are our own worst enemy!