In Retrospect

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom.

At the end of the calendar year, people tend to look back on the events of the Earth’s previous revolution. It’s a time not just of looking back but of re-assessment, of what’s happened, and of figuring how to incorporate the lessons of the past year into the next and make life better—hence, New Year’s resolutions.

So this retrospect isn’t the first I’ve done in the past year. There have been many “markers,” as I call them, where I’ve stopped to reassess, particularly around anniversaries of separations, divorce dates, half-year marks. But then, that’s what this whole year has been about: reassessing where I am, assessing the value of new and current relationships, growing, healing, a journey to reclaiming me.

Am I there yet? No. I’m still on the journey. The road isn’t necessarily any easier but the terrain is different and the mix of traveling companions has changed. No one’s carrying me and I’m less inclined to carry anyone else.

Just reading back through my journal over the past year helps me to see my growth, helps me see where I’ve been and better prepares me for where I’m going.

I’m riding the waves of my emotions now. Sometimes high. Sometimes low. But just surfing and taking it as it comes. Allowing myself to feel it, feel it all, and trying to let it flow through me. Not hiding anything, not denying anything—at least not intentionally—and trying to just be.

I’ve had a lot of bright spots in my life this year. Some vanished as suddenly as they came into my life. Others, still here, hopefully for the long term. There’s been hurt and devastation, too, in stepping out there and offering my heart again, both in love and in friendship, in taking that grand chance of trusting and being hurt again.

And being at a place in my life now, where, yes, I’m willing to do it again, willing to trust again, willing to make mistakes, willing to learn, willing to love.Flying By Night novel

I’ve reclaimed myself now, though certainly not as fully as I may in another year and a day. But from where I was a year ago, I would not have recognized myself now, and certainly not where I was two years ago or three or four. And from where I was twenty years ago, I never would have thought I would have lost myself.

In a lot of ways, I’ve gotten back to where I was then, back to the way I thought about life and did things when I was in college, almost as if that was the starting point, the fork in the road, where I lost the path I loved. I gave up my art and my focus on writing and music for a career in business and financial considerations.

Not that learning about business and finance hasn’t been valuable—it’s been extremely valuable—and will be again in the future. I guess maybe I had to be on this path in order to have this kind of education and these types of skills that I’ll need in the future as I pull them together with doing the things I want to do, the things I love to do, to blend spirituality and business into something successful and prosperous.

So much has happened in this past year! The birthday culling of old friends, or people I had always thought of as friends but hadn’t been there for me in years, if ever. It was a culling that needed to be done, regardless of how much it hurt. And then there was the Autumn culling as well. The culling of new people I’d come to trust, and maybe shouldn’t have.

I learned this year that I won’t starve. My self-esteem had been so low in the last years of my marriage that I had absolutely no idea if I could make it on my own. I know now that not only can I make it on my own, but I excel at it. I can stand up for myself in business and refuse to be taken advantage of and when someone tries, I can and will fight rather than rolling over and bemoaning my outcast state. And it’s okay for me to be angry. And it’s not okay for someone to lecture me on how my feelings aren’t valid and I need to just swallow those emotions because I’ve dealt for too many years with the ramifications of not letting out the darker feelings.

I got back my love for writing, my passion for it that goes beyond eating and sleeping, where I can lose myself in the god-moment. For much of the year, I’d felt thwarted, as though as I was finally “free” to write and it wouldn’t flow, like some sort of frustrated, inorgasmic limbo. Then something released in the Fall and the fire started flowing again. I got back my love of writing, something I’d thought for a long time was gone forever. A lot of my dreams changed, too, in the past year or so. The dream of being a full-time writer seemed gone forever this Autumn when the publishing industry made an overnight change none of us really saw coming, but amazingly, it’s opening a door for me I didn’t know was there before. A new opportunity is coming, and I think that’s a big part of where I’ll be going in the next year, including a big career change for me. Meanwhile, I have several new books that will be published in the next year, and it feels wonderful, and I’m slowly letting go of the resentment that I “couldn’t” do this during my marriage. When the Biblical Job was tested and emerged with his spirituality still intact, he never had his firstborn returned to him, you know, but he did have the joy of new children in his life.

The Gatherings I’ve had in my home this year have been a huge blessing for me, connecting spiritually with others, learning, growing, exploring my hidden talents and the hidden knowledge and the hidden world all around us, working with energy and energies and learning how everything is connected.

Disturbing to me in both good and bad ways was the return of feelings and dealing with feelings again when it hurt to feel, even when the feelings were good. It was like having my arm submerged in an ice-cold creek until I had lost all feeling in my flesh. Coming out of my marriage and pulling my arm out of that ice-cold water, for a while, I was still numb. As I met new people I liked who liked me, suddenly those emotions came rushing in, like the feeling returning to a frozen limb. Agonizing, intense, aching, overwhelming. Even the good feelings were painfully raw, and I had no idea what to do with them, other than admit that they were there. The sudden rush of returning feelings was especially frightening when I expected years to pass before I’d feel anything like that again. I’d expected them to return very, very slowly and not in a rush of intensity. Sometimes, remembering now, my limbs still ache….

I came to terms with my hurt over my ex and our failed marriage. I finally let myself feel the anger both at him for being so controlling and at me for letting myself be controlled, and I came to terms with that, too.

I’ve stopped trying to fix everybody else and give them a happy life, though I still struggle with it. I guess that’s my idea of saving the world.

I still want people to be happy and at their best. It’s just that now I’m trying to let being happy be their problem and not mine, and instead concentrate of doing the things that make me happy.

I’ve reclaimed my space, painted my walls purple, and put crazy things on the walls and ceilings. And if other people don’t like it? Screw ‘em. I don’t care. It’s mine. And it makes me happy.

I’ve been very grateful for the love of my kids and the steadfastness of friends—Vicki in particular—and for renewing friendships, like with Jean, after taking a break for each of us to work on ourselves. I still dearly miss others—The Treat, Jeaneen, Jillian, Susan, others….but I’m thankful for all the new things they introduced me to.

I think this next year will be full of tremendous change. I’m not sure what kind. Very possibly a new career, new house, new friends, new love commitment, new family. Any or all of the above. I’ve seen snippets, but I’m not sure how they’ll manifest. My job right now is to stay flexible and roll with what comes and don’t let it unnerve me too much.

For the moment, I’m just trying to get through the last week of the calendar year, and I haven’t even thought until now about whether I’ll have a date for New Year’s Eve with a man or with a manuscript. I’ve been too busy with creative projects and home fun to consider it very much.

I’ve had my Third Degree Elevation for over a year now, and as opposed to my Third being the culmination of my spiritual learning, it’s been the launching point. This year is almost gone, and I’ve made as much of it as I could while thirsting for knowledge and hungering for understanding. There are things I had thought would happen differently or would have happened by now…by long before now…but didn’t, much to my disappointment. But in the waiting, I’ve learned so much more than I would have if I’d been handed my desires when they were first desired. At some point in the future when the dreaded “patience” has come to fruition, I’ll say it’s okay but I’m not there yet.

I can dream, but I can never go back the way I came. But I can move forward. That’s the most important thing. I can move forward. I can move. I can.