2009 – The year I learned to build umbrellas.

Back at the end of 2008, I declared 2009 the Year of Non Suck*. I still don’t have my word or intentions for 2010, but I’ll post as soon as I have them.

*This is a lesson in asking for what you want, instead of just asking for what you don’t want.

2009 did not suck per say. It didn’t suck as much as say, 2006. 2006 was like one long kick in the balls.

But let me be clear – 2009 was not exactly a year of blissful joy. Yes, there were some wonderfully happy moments. But there was a whole lot of hard in there too. Not bad – just hard. Ironically, I said this about 2008 too. It seems that I had unfinished business – this year just kept on delivering the lessons.

I learned a lot this year, about myself and about life. Mostly about myself though. Life and me have always been pretty clear – it was me, myself and I that needed to talk more. Oh and talk we did.

We talked about our fears, we talked about our stuck, we talked about being scared and stuck. Our stuck then decided to manifest itself in some fabulous infections, like when I went deaf in March, and when I had internal bleeding in October.

I also moved across the country, which was the most intense adventure I’ve ever undertaken. I’m really, really glad I did it, but oof. The hard. It was there. The learning curve! Good god, the learning curve.

There was the nude show, which was 10 life lessons rolled into one too. I was employed by someone else for the first time since I was 17, albeit it only lasted 3 months. It was both worse and better than I thought it would be. (I didn’t expect it to trigger internal bleeding. That came as a shock.)

I learned that I am more capable and more vulnerable than I thought. I am stronger and weaker in ways that I didn’t expect.

Here’s what I wrote way back in December of last year:

I want to be in harmony with myself, for the first time in a long time. I want to heal my pains and learn to love myself, so that I can stop struggling against myself.

I want to be in harmony with the Universe, so that I can stop fighting it, and pushing away all of the good things in my life by refusing to see them.

I want to be in harmony with my relationships, so that my own pains and fears can stop screwing them up quite so royally.

I want to be in harmony with my business and my money so that everything resonates with me and I feel like I’m doing the right work and the right art.

I want to be in harmony with my body, so that I’m taking care of it and exercising it and resting it well.

I want to feel peaceful, for the first time in a long time. I want my mind to feel at peace, no longer raging against itself. I want my life to blossom and grow and feel full and wonderful. And that’s got to start with me.

Did I accomplish all of the things on this list? The answer is yes and no*.

*Okay so apparently my big lesson this year was on the duality of life, and that nothing was what I thought it was.

Did I resolve everything perfectly? No. I think that’s what I was thinking when I wrote this – I wanted to fix myself now and forever.

When I wrote that list, I was in a really desperate, really bad place. I remember just feeling like things couldn’t get any worse, that they had to get better somewhere.

So while I have not become the enlightened Buddha in the past year, do I feel more in harmony now? Yes. A lot.

Did I heal my pains? No. Did I learn a lot of skills that help me to start on the path to healing? Without a doubt.

Am I in total harmony with the Universe? Hahahahaha. Not exactly. But do I allow much more good to enter my life? Definitely.

Have I achieved harmony in my relationships? Again, this is a hard question. In some places, there’s a lot more smoothness than there was before. In other places, things got harder, I think because some of my own personal anguish was transferred from one set of people to another. Hard to explain, but looking at this has given me some clarity. But am I better at resolving moments of dis-harmony? For sure.

Being in harmony with my business and money. Oof. This is probably the place where I made the least tangible progress, but had the most realizations. I learned a lot about business this year. I learned a lot about my relationship with money (which this past month has finally started to resolve itself at least a little bit.)

Am I in harmony with my business? Not really. But I am on the path to figuring out how to be in harmony with my business, which is all that matters.

Harmony with my body – again, progress was made, although it all went to hell these past few months. I think I may need to start again. I did discover yoga which makes me feel completely connected to my body, and also eases a lot of the aches and pains. But I haven’t been doing it recently. Sometimes I push my body too hard, and I don’t feed it properly, and we don’t get along too well. This one is still something I’m working on.

As for feeling peaceful – compared to where I was then, I have made a century’s worth of progress. I feel a lot more peaceful. Not every day, and god knows August and September were the least peaceful months ever, but right now, sitting here writing this, I do feel pretty peaceful. More importantly, I feel equipped to handle the not so peaceful moments.

One thing has happened for sure though. This:

I want my life to blossom and grow and feel full and wonderful.

This definitely happened. This I feel in my soul. My life did blossom this year, and right now it feels full and wonderful. I feel full and wonderful.

When I set those intentions last year, I was naively hoping that by asking for those things, I could protect myself from anymore hardship. I hoped that I could somehow build a bubble around myself where nothing could hurt me anymore. I really just wanted the pain to stop. I was tired of hurting all the time.

What I learned this year was the you can’t stop life from happening. Life is gonna throw curveballs and piles of shit and rainbows and sparkles. That’s what life is. You can’t stop people from dying, or leaving, or saying mean things. You can’t stop the rain from falling, anymore than you can stop the sun from shining.

But you can learn how to live with grace. You can learn how to live with yourself, how to be with yourself. Sometimes by doing those things, you find that the sun shines more often, and you see more rainbows. But maybe you don’t. Maybe shit still falls from the sky.

But at least you’re learning how to build a better umbrella.