Insomnia called me to my keyboard at 4:44 a.m. on a day filled with to-dos, including finishing holiday shopping and shipping, seeing a client via the marvels of modern technology, doing paperwork, laundry, writing, maybe even taking a continuing education class required to maintain my Social Work license. All ‘normal’ activities in an abnormal year.
Listening to Miracle Healing Music as I type, so I can drink in the sonic sweetness to soothe my weary mind that has been roiling with thoughts about the end of a year that has tested so many beliefs I have held about what is within my control and what I have no way of wrangling. As someone with savior behavior who has long believed that I can heal, fix, save, kiss all the boo-boos and make them better, I have been sorely tested in the past 12 months.
When the year began, I was celebrating with friends, the joy of possibility in the upcoming turn of calendar pages. I will likely spend this NYE at home, having on-line convos and musing about what is to come in 2021. Perhaps toasting with sparkling cider. Definitely doing some kind of ritual that will include a whole bunch of gratitude for what remains after I have sloughed off the fear, anger, and worry that have been near-constant companions at times.
Over the years, I have used a Japa mala to count what I am grateful for. In case you aren’t familiar with them, they are Buddhist prayer beads, like a rosary with 108 beads and one extra. Practitioners often recite a mantra for each one. I bring to mind the people whose presence in my life has made a difference and then send them love. I express deep gratitude for the experiences that have come my way, sometimes referring to them as ‘blessons’ which is a conjunction of blessing and lesson. If I haven’t been totally thrilled with them, at least they have served to make me stronger and more resilient.
I may jot down what I want to release and then burn the paper. I may write intentions for the year, knowing that I may end up chuckling with delight or rolling my eyes at the ‘we make plans and God laughs,’ absurdity. I might create a Vision board.
For sure, I will focus on the ‘blessons’. The first pure blessing was the birth of my grandson Dean who entered the world at a tumultuous time on January 21st. Wide-eyed and curious from the get-go, he is my joy-boy who now walks, ‘reads’, baby-babbles, climbs, drools, laughs, dances, sings, eats big kid food, cuddles and hugs. I was not able to see him in person for 11 weeks at the onset of the lockdown. Videos and Facetime helped the bond continue and now I am with him four mornings a week. He is thriving.
In the Spring, I felt a mix of terror, despair, and hope. I knew I didn’t have the luxury of tumbling into the abyss of the first two emotional states. As a therapist, I have clients who sometimes set up camp there and it’s part of my job to remind them that when Pandora’s Box was opened and all manner of evil was released, hope was what remained at the bottom. I have learned to embrace hope in the midst of the pervasive destruction, a tearing down, in some cases, of what I thought was so. I reached out to family and friends and they, to me. I honored the resilience of the human spirit. I mourned what I thought would never be again. As a consummate hugger and people person, I wondered how I would remain ‘in touch’ in an authentic way if I couldn’t touch others. I wondered how I would get my own touch needs met. The first one I solved with phone calls, Facetime, Zoom, and upping the amps on my social media activity. That last one I solved with blankets, pillows, heating pads, teddy bears, self-massage, and lovely skin lotion.
As a social justice activist, I had to rely on stuff I could do from home since I promised my son and daughter-in-law that I wouldn’t attend any in-person vigils, rallies, and peaceful protests, even masked. Their safety and that of my grandson is paramount. Petitions, donations, attending virtual entertainment fundraising events, writing postcards to Georgia voters, participating in a Ridin’ with Biden car rally, and writing copious amounts of articles on the topic of the election have had to suffice.
I have raged at the injustices I saw play out on the tv screen during the protests and the madness of a man determined to take us down with him since he can’t abide losing. I have celebrated each of his defeats that he relives each time he denies the reality that on January 20, 2021, he will no longer be the President.
I have reveled in the election results, my heart leaping hearing our new President Biden and Vice-President Harris speak with intelligence and heart about ‘building back better’ and reaching across the aisle to those who hold different intentions. Whenever Joe Biden uses the words, “This is not who we are,” when referring to the acrimony and divisiveness, I keep repeating, “I want to believe you’re right, but I have my doubts.” This year has revealed who some in my life really are. Shocked that they still side with a man who ignored the peril we face. Dismayed that no amount of rational conversation and fact-checking will have them accept that he doesn’t have our best interest at heart and that even if they don’t view themselves as racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic or xenophobic, they voted for someone who is.
As I drive around my area, I still see many campaign signs, flags, and banners that send a clear message that these neighbors still think he won. I wonder what it will take to convince them that they are living in an alternate reality. In some ways, it lets me know who they are and what they stand for. I have stopped patronizing some local businesses since they are outspoken supporters of #45. I have let go of friendships, not over a ‘difference of opinion,’ but a difference in values.
On the flip side, I am immensely thankful for the health and overall well-being of family and friends whose safety I invoke all throughout the day, surrounding those I know and love and those they know and love and so on… with love and protection.
I pray that the new year we enter will be kinder, healthier, more inclusive, more prosperous, more forgiving than the last.
2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
God/Goddess Bless Us Every One.
This post is republished on Medium.
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