I didn’t come into 2015 with a well planned list of resolutions, only that I mostly intended to focus on maintaining a positive outlook. I’ve mentioned a few times this mental and spiritual shift I’ve felt inside over the last half a year, and positivity seems to be a recurring theme as I try to nurture this change.
As I continue to write, I keep coming back to this thing that I’m feeling. And I suppose that’s because inside, to me, it feels monumental, even though I know that to the outside world it might be almost imperceptible. My circumstances and physical surroundings remain largely unchanged while mentally I’m seeing things from an entirely different and hopeful perspective. Someone commented that, (at least from my writing,) I’ve always seemed to be a pretty upbeat kind of person. I can see where that would seem true. There are things I’m willing to write and those I choose to hold back.
It’s not that I’ve been unhappy my whole life. It’s more like there was this vague but constant sense that I was missing something. And I couldn’t figure out if it was a legitimate feeling, or if I was just a spoiled brat who couldn’t be content with all the comforts and privileges I’d been blessed with all these years. Whether you could see it or not, I had a good sense of skepticism and sarcasm.
And then seemingly out of the blue, it was like, “Oh! It all makes sense now!” Challenges, people, events and circumstances, both those that are discouraging, and the type I willingly embrace, they all make more sense. These days I feel more able to rise to the occasion. I understand hope. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. It’s enormous, yet it’s simple.
Faith. It makes more sense now. The old me kept trying to find it in the ways and places I was taught are the only right ways and places. I had to finally let myself step out of that mindset to understand that God is happy to have me find Him wherever I do. And if that’s not inside the walls of a church, that’s okay. I still feel like my not “having” a church may only be a temporary thing anyway. Maybe, maybe not. But I had to get past the idea that I was going to disappoint others by not doing things the “right” way. Once I finally got past that roadblock, so much fell into place.
It wasn’t really out of the blue. I believe that now, though it seemed at the time like a combination of life’s circumstances, the right people, and well-timed coincidences that brought me to this changed awareness.
Okay, I can’t help but think I sound like a hippie sometimes. I don’t care. I feel great!
It could just be this is something that comes with age or maybe I’m just a slow learner. Either way, I don’t care because I love this mental and spiritual place that I’m in these days. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Nothing on the outside has changed, but I’m significantly happier and more peaceful than I’ve ever been. And I don’t want to go back to the uptight person who used to be all too familiar to me. Every day now, I seek to feed this state of mind and spiritual awareness. I’ve found things to read (daily devotions, the Bible, websites dedicated to positivity and enlightenment) that keep me grounded in a better place and help me look beyond where I’m at today. And what I really love is that this all seems to draw like-minded people to me. Or me to them. However it works, it’s happening. And the crazier thing is, most of them are people I’ve known for years. I just never knew this side of them. My relationships with a few people are growing deeper day by day, even though I thought we’d come to know everything there was to know about each other.
When I look back on all the years when I remained in such a stagnant place, I feel a little bit regretful. I’ve always been aware that I was fortunate to have the life I’ve had. But that didn’t stop me from feeling my share of distrust, bitterness and self-pity, or that I didn’t have enough things or the right experiences. Sometimes I look back and regret all the things I could have done, but didn’t do so much better, as a wife, parent, daughter, sibling, friend, employee or whatever. Don’t get me wrong. All things considered, things have turned out pretty well. I just often wonder what might be different had I worked harder at some things – like finished college, been a more patient parent, a more forgiving wife, or forgiven myself for all the things I saw merely as my shortcomings instead of as stepping-stones!
I have to keep reminding myself that I’m here now and that’s what matters. The past can’t be changed. All I can do is live better now, in each moment, as it comes.
I was at the gym Thursday morning with my friend, Erin and we were chatting about goals and resolutions. Hers are better defined than mine, but we’re both seriously working to really ingrain a positive mindset within ourselves. I mentioned that in addition to that, I want to work on being more intentional. When she asked what I meant, I said that I’ve spent my entire life always looking ahead, to the point that I often miss what’s right in front of me. She agreed that was a good goal.
I’ve had our conversation in mind since Thursday morning and have been mulling over how to be more intentional. I often trip myself up in my good intentions by becoming so immersed in the daily grind that forget all else. I was thinking about this as I stepped out of my car into the office parking lot yesterday morning. As much as I love my job, I find it hardest change my old ways there. I was trying to remind myself not to get so lost in work that I neglect to face daily challenges from this more positive mindset. I hate when I fall back into my old and negative ways!
As I began to walk across the parking lot, I saw a hawk sitting in the bare branches of a tall tree on the edge of the nearby pond. And whether it’s because a hawk isn’t something I see very often, or because his appearance was so regal, or because I’m more likely to look for signs in my surroundings these days, I stood and stared for a moment before he spread his wings and soared away. He was on my mind all day, to the point that I decided to dig deeper.
I loved what I found when I googled the hawk; the idea that animals can possess a spiritual essence. Spirit Animals. Interesting concept! If you’re a believer in such things, here is what my encounter with the hawk is said to mean.
Hawk often represents the ability to see meaning in ordinary experiences if you choose to become more observant.
Many of the messages Hawk brings you are about freeing yourself of thoughts and beliefs that are limiting your ability to soar above your life and gain a greater perspective. It is this ability to soar high above to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture that will allow you to survive and flourish.
I’m going to choose to take this as encouragement that I am moving in the right direction!
Spirit animals, huh? Do I even want to know what all those squirrels in the back yard are trying to tell us? ;-)