Rewind 12 or 13 years… I was probably at one of the lowest points of my life. I was in a relationship that was not good for me (and probably not good for the other person either). I was finally starting to work through so much of the complicated emotions of my mom killing herself a decade before… I was seeing an amazing therapist and she had suggested an activity for me to complete on the Winter Solstice. She said I should write all the things I needed, wanted to let go of on little slips of paper. I then needed to dig a hole and plant them…. on top of the papers, I should plant a spring bulb. Through this activity I would believe and see that it is from when we are able to let go, new growth can occur. I did the activity… and I continue to believe… know that new growth has come from me letting go of so many things that were holding me back.
2020 has been complicated, stressful, unexpected, hard. As we today celebrate the Winter Solstice, my mind goes back to so many years when I physically buried so many things holding me back on the darkest day of the year. It made me wonder if many of us need to do the same thing today if we want to move forward in 2021. Entering a new year is not magical… the magic comes from each of us doing the hard work that is required if we are going to experience change in our lives.
I think it is critical to take a step back… take a breath… and reflect on 2020. It is critical to not just focus on how this year has wronged us, but instead ask what this year has taught us or is still trying to teach us. The therapist with the advice to bury my past on the Winter Solstice is the same therapist who always told me life gives us what we need at the exact moment… I tend to believe her and realize it doesn’t change until we learn the lesson we need to gain from it.
It is no secret I am a perfectionist… I often like to claim I am a recovering perfectionist, but the reality is my perfectionistic tendencies are always right beside me. My desire for perfection had to go out the window this year. Not only did I get a new job in January of 2020, but in August of 2020 I was told I had funding to expand my department. While such news was exciting, it also meant the amount of work that needed to happen in a small amount of time was overwhelming… and in an instant my perfectionism had to be dumped… I quickly realized my perfectionism was not going to be able to survive if I was going to make my new job work. Not only was I creating a new department, I was doing it during the middle of a global pandemic when the normal rules of education were no where to be found.
As much as 2020 has been hard, I am thankful it required me to step outside of my box. This year required me to stop relying on old habits of gaining my worth and value from my perceived idea of being perfect. My “one word” for last year was “ENOUGH.” Little did I know, this word would be my guide through a year of first. I had to focus on being enough for what I was doing at each step… If I stopped and questioned my worth, I would never get the work in front of me accomplished.
Sometimes we get the choice to decide what we need to bury on the Winter Solstice… other times our old habits, security (or more like insecurities) are thrown into the hole and all we have to do is acknowledge the old is weighing us down and preventing us from experiencing the new life that awaits us.
I have no clue what 2021 will hold… in the same way I have never had a clue what the next year will hold. What I do know is I either can accept what is in front of me and learn from it or fight it until it overwhelms me… in the end I will need to accept reality, the only difference is how hard I want to struggle.