For years now, I’ve spent every New Year’s Day surrounded by legal tablets, calendars, pens, and caffeine…vestiges of that Manifesting 101 class I took, well, a long time ago. We tore things out of magazines to paste on our personal vision poster boards and damn near sang “Kumbaya.” Needless to say, not much came out of that, unless you count using the vision boards for kindling later on in the Spring.
But 2016 was different. On New Year’s Day, I did not make a list (Gary considered calling 9-1-1, but I talked him out of it). Instead, at the advice of an amazing medicine woman from Utah, I wrote down what I wanted to bring into my life this year on a wee piece of paper. In addition to a bunch of gory details that I won’t bore you with, I asked for Clarity. I added a single strand of my hair and some “eagle smoke” material to it, tried to clear my millions of random thoughts, tossed it all into the fireplace, and watched it burn.
Oddly, the little packet took a long time to burn, but my friend said that it sometimes just does that. Or if it had burst into flames and singed my ceiling, that would have meant something else altogether. Beats me.
Then, I continued on with my first day of the New Year, with an odd sense of calm and anticipation, sort of like how I feel when I get my hair cut. Trust combined with enthusiasm. Or faith, if you prefer.
A month later, now, if I have any advice to give anyone about anything, it’s this old adage:
Be Careful What You Wish For
What I didn’t realize fully, as I tossed my makeshift packet dramatically into the fire, is that Clarity is exactly that; it is neither positive nor negative. It is not inherently happy or sad, nor any other dichotomy. It just is what it is.
Because I do not, alas, spend all of my time living “mindfully” and “in the moment” (I know I am the only person who does this, sadly), I decided to turn up the volume of my intuition, in hopes of not missing an opportunity for Clarity. After all, it can take a two-by-four to get my attention sometimes, especially if I’ve had too much coffee.
So, I consciously decided to read that book instead of just thinking about doing so. Or delve into that post on Facebook instead of blowing by it. Or calling someone, when I normally would have opted to do so later because I was too busy doing something pointless.
And it worked. Within just a few days, I got incredible Clarity about my recent bouts of lower back pain and other stress-related maladies. Once I realized the dynamic behind it, BAM!, the next morning, the pain was GONE. It was profound, really. The power of our subconscious is not to be underestimated.
I also had the passing thought that I should start a daily diary of sorts, and start each entry with a simple haiku. So, instead of procrastinating, as usual, I did. Not that I know a damn thing about writing haikus, other than the number of syllables there must be in each of the three lines. But I figured that writing a haiku about my state of mind, in that early-morning, barely-caffeinated moment, could be a fun, creative exercise. And then I would take a few minutes to write a stream of consciousness about whatever was in my little head that day, good or bad, boring or hopeful.
And doing so has paid off, I think. On January 7, looking back from today’s perspective, I wrote after my haiku (which is really bad, so I won’t share it):
“Something is going to happen to me in Arizona. Something honest, life-changing, and profound.”
And so it did. And I never would have seen it coming. Well, gee, aren’t I the little manifester, all of a sudden?!
To explain, as you may already know, we headed down to the Phoenix area for a week, mostly to celebrate my 60th birthday with some close family and friends. I just felt that change was in the air. And, indeed, that turned out to be true.
Within a day of arriving, a close friendship spanning 35 years was suddenly and unexpectedly over. After stumbling around all day, devastated, I poured myself an ice-cold glass of vodka at 4:01 pm, and took stock of the situation. After a few sips and thinking more ghastly thoughts, I instead returned to the present moment by visiting the freezer for more cold vodka and deciding to just move forward, damn it.
The next day, on my actual birthday, I could not have been happier. I enjoyed a surprise breakfast from my wonderful daughter-in-law, soaked up some Arizona sunshine by going for a short run, had a delightful lunch out at one of our favorite restaurants with Gary and his oldest son, Mike, and prepared a simple meal for our family and three old friends whom we reconnected with a little more than a year ago.
Very good single malt scotch and wine were also invited, along with a birthday cake that was better than most sex. Long hugs from old friends are even better.
We saw another old friend the next day, who prepared a four-course, lunch/feast for us that was unparalleled and lasted for three glorious hours. How lucky can a girl get?
And two days later, the birthday weekend culminated in an amazing five-course meal, with friends and family, laced with incredible single-malt scotches. Really, do I have anything to complain about, ever again? Nope.
In the few moments I had to myself at the end of that day, sitting at the bar, alone, sipping the last of the scotch, I thought about this birthday trip. This was not my first rodeo. I know that many friendships do not last, sadly. They seem to exist only for as long as they are needed and then, POOF!, they are gone.
But sometimes the opposite can happen; old friends can fade out of our lives for a long time and then, later, when you least expect it, they materialize back in. These are the best surprises of all.
Old friends look at you differently than anyone else does. They know you for what you were, but see you with new eyes and energy for who you are now. They go right to your core and fill a space that has been waiting just for them, spaces vacated by others. And it’s a perfect fit, like finding a great parking place at Costco on Saturday afternoon before the Super Bowl.
A special thank you to everyone who took a difficult birthday and made it the best one ever, even though it was a 60th birthday: Gary, Jeff, Kristina, Isaac, Max, Mike, Jim, Bill, Viji, and Babu. Big hugs and kisses and I hope to see you all again soon. In the meantime, I leave you with these words from Albert Schweitzer:
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
All in all, it’s been a great 60th trip around the sun, so far. And with this much Clarity, in January alone, it’s going to be one hell of a year. And maybe even a little dangerous. Life is short.
Now, if only I can figure out how to use my newfound Clarity to keep my reading glasses clean.
Thanks for reading. I know how busy you are.