Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Falling Through the Looking Glass

2013 slithered in on its belly, sneaking past December 31st without much notice, and it curled up in the corner of the room hoping to escape my attention. With the freshly devoured 2012 still bulging in its midsection, this viper makes no promise of an easier year. It taunts me with its fangy grin, quite content in the knowledge that it can peacefully lay in wait for the next twelve months. During the long nap it has settled in to take, it will undoubtedly dream about snatching up yet another wasted year before it moves on to one more empty corner upon awakening.

2012 was supposed to be different. Sadly, it wasn’t much different than any other year. I had great expectations, some perhaps not very realistic, but nonetheless I looked forward to the year with much anticipation and a hope of improving my quality of living. Admittedly, I bought into the whole idea that a major shift was going to take place in the world by the Winter Solstice on December 21st, a date marking the end of the infamous Mayan calendar. While I didn’t allow myself to fall prey to the end-of-the-world doomsday prophecies, I was secretly hoping that something dramatic would happen that would shake the very foundation of everyone’s belief system and give people a much needed wake-up call. That call to action never happened and everything has continued on pretty much as it has done for centuries.

Personally, I am very tired of living in a greedy, selfish, narcissistic world where people are oblivious to the needs of others; where exploitation of those who aren’t fortunate enough to be born with wealth and power is not only commonplace but apparently widely accepted; where violence and bad behavior make the headlines over remarkable achievements and kindness; where war, death and destruction is the norm and peace is but an elusive dream; and where we’re okay with slowly and systematically annihilating our planet while we happily line the pockets of the already obscenely wealthy corporate CEOs who spearhead the rape and plunder our home’s natural resources. End of long, run-on sentence. You’re welcome.

It’s traditional to review the previous year upon embarking on a new one, to reflect upon mistakes that were made and to make lists of all the things that will be different in the coming year. A larger portion of my past typically comes under scrutiny when I indulge in such reflection. Afterward, I usually wish I could recapture the innocence of my youth, a time when I held firmly to the belief that I could make a difference in the surrounding insanity. If only I could rewind the clock and unlearn certain things I discovered in my journey through life. Not knowing about what really goes on out there in the real world certainly has its comforting attributes, but unfortunately I can’t turn a blind eye to everything I’ve learned over the years.

This year, I tried very hard not to participate in that unproductive exercise of inward contemplation. Despite my best efforts, however, I found myself compelled to examine my own major shift that began about five years ago instead of focusing on my future. I forced myself to look at everything that happened as a result of each and every decision I made during that time. Soon I was playing the pointless game of What If with myself. What if I hadn’t moved across the water from the big city to the small town? What if I had stayed there and not come to Colorado? What if I had tried harder to find a new home for my cat before I left Washington? What if I hadn’t decided to stop putting so much effort into building my own business? What if I had made different choices? What if, what if, what if. . .

What exactly did I learn from playing that tiresome game? Through all my questioning, I managed only to permit self-doubt to cast its ugly shadow over every facet of my existence. It slowly chipped away at my confidence and everything I had accomplished. Upon further examination, however, I did discover something rather valuable, so the whole exercise wasn’t nearly as pointless as I initially thought. I had allowed my fresh start in Durango to become tainted by the negativity, fear, and paranoia of others. Things that I had looked forward to with great anticipation fell by the wayside, whether through my own actions or from my reaction to the behavior and ideals of others. Hateful words were spoken that should never have been vocalized, while others remained inappropriately silent. Things I once took great pleasure in doing have been reduced to nagging chores. Yet each and every challenging thing that happened, took place because I allowed it to happen. These were lessons placed before me so that I could grow.

Today, my new year’s resolution is to take what I’ve learned and move on. I can’t turn the clock back. I can’t undo anything, and although I don’t subscribe to the concept of linear time as an absolute, I will march forward to the beat of my own drum. I will try to resist the temptation to dwell in the past, peeking over my shoulder from time to time at my mistakes only so that I can figure out what to do differently the next time I’m faced with such issues. If I continue to repeat the same actions, I can’t expect different results. And I certainly can’t be upset with the outcome if I did nothing to alter its course.

Since the greatest disappointment in potential catalysts to the human condition has come and gone without so much as a whisper (the end of the Mayan calendar), it appears that we'll all have to come up with another creative motivator for living a more conscious life. How I see myself and the world in which I live has changed dramatically over my lifetime. Now more than ever, I want the rules of the game to change. I want the world to be a better place. I believe that change is still on the horizon. Can you sense it too?

Happy New Year!

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