I'm no stranger to journaling, which is very similar to blogging except for one 'minor' detail...a blog can be read by other people. I won't pretend to be a writer or to have much of anything worthy of sharing, but I am here nonetheless. Over the past few years I have become a little bit more confident, a little more daring, and a lot more open. My father's death this past October has helped me realize that it really is true, life is short and you can't always plan for death. I've said for years that I don't want to be that little old lady, on her death bed, wishing she had taken more chances and not been afraid to live. But I was/am on that path to regret. I think most of us are...(especially women).
Most of my life has been spent trying to make other people happy with me. Whether it was obsessively trying to get good grades in school, letting classmates copy my homework (I thought this would make us friends), giving up college for my then husband's Air Force career ( I had a year and half left to get my bachelors degree and had just made the Dean's List with a 4.0 GPA), or giving up my friends and dreams to be available for the various men who entered my life, and later left me broken-hearted and unaware of who I was anymore.
It was hard to be an adult, in my late-30's, with no idea of who I was or what I even liked to do. I had read tons self-help books and would get out a piece of paper to try to list all of the good things about me, my accomplishments, my likes and dislikes, my short-term and long-term goals, and all of those things I was sure everyone else my age had already figured out long ago. I would freeze...what do I like to do??? I know, ride and train horses. But wait, was that me NOW or me at 16 years old. Did I really want to commit that kind of time into training again because I also like boxing (it's a great workout and makes you feel tough). Well, boxing is another huge commitment in time and energy. Maybe I want to go back to school?? For what though? I don't have the same interests now and don't necessarily want a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. I like to read but had focused so much on 'fixing' myself that I only read self-help and other non-fiction books. It wasn't really for pleasure. I would find myself so confused every weekend, wondering what to do with my free time that I started to volunteer for over-time at work and eventually took up a second job. Staying busy is a great way to keep you from getting to know yourself.
I took up yoga and meditation (thanks to some more self-help books and the wonderful book "Eat, Pray, Love")...nothing too serious and one of those things I still tell myself to do more of. I visited an ashram in Oakland several times (http://www.oaklandsyda.org/).
Learning to sit, to breath, to just be. I read some of the basic teachings of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. I know, it sounds strange and "out-there"...but I was at my wits end really. I'm not a very religious person, I have no strong attachment to any particular religion, I'm not a fan of church and had a bad experience at the Methodist church I was baptised at as an adult (maybe I'll talk about that another time), but I was missing something. Not necessarily God or Buddha or Allah...it was more along the lines of that *thing* that connects our physical body with our mind...the thoughts, fears, feelings, dreams and creations. There was a disconnect with what I was thinking and what I was doing. The ashram helped by opening my mind and teaching me that some thoughts just need to be released.
Attending to this disconnect helped open my mind to a new adventure which has led me to this place...it's a good place, more then just a happy place, it's contentment and peace as well. Don't get me wrong though, I still have a long way to go, but I feel like the GPS has finally recalculated my course after making too many wrong turns.
So, this will become my new way of journaling. Maybe someone will find something of value here. Maybe I will just talk to myself. Either way, it is liberating and a fear that I can say I have overcome...kind of like public speaking.