Friday, January 24, 2014


Many of you have recently read my grumbling about January. There's another thing about January that I don't love.  It's the resolutions, the determination and the focus on self improvement that irritates my sensitive mood.  It's a month of packing away the Christmas tree, which always feels like a painful stab in my heart.  I must have stored childhood memories in the old ornaments.  I remember being small and having my parents and my brothers all in the same room together and it hurts to put those memories back in the box.

But January is also the month when we get to write the number one.  In the simple writing of one, I began to notice the symbolism of this number.

One is the individual, but one is also more than what it seems.  In the month of January, after focusing so intently on others in December, we begin to focus on ourselves, and what we can do to improve. It is tough to look at ourselves as one person needing improvement.

Self improvement to me often feels like the punishment of Sissyphus, that mythical King forced to roll a boulder up a hill that Zeus repeatedly sends back down.

 But self discovery.....that, I can do.  So instead of a resoultion to improve my one self in the context of many, I decided to investigate who I am instead of what I can or should do about the one me.

This personal knowledge about the one me cannot be found online, no matter how many hours I devote to reading and socializing and listening in the land of free advice.

So the middle of cold freezing January, I've thought about the one me. I discovered that I'm an introvert who is learning to be more outgoing. I'm also reward sensitive and like to give myself things for doing the most ordinary tasks, like stuffing my face with handfuls of Lucky Charms after two hours of trying to figure out how to help my son can join a Minecraft server and play remotely with his best buddy (technology stresses me OUT!).  I'm so reward sensitive that when I'm in the middle of cleaning out rooms and closets, I like to reward myself by buying little things to redecorate with.  When I go out, I like to bring something back home.  When I eat dinner, I like to reward myself with second helpings.  When I was a smoker, the slightest little task would be rewarded with a cigarette.  Wash the dishes?  Go have a smoke.  This reward sensitivity is something that thankfully hasn't led me to be a compulsive gambler, but it has affected my life.  I recenlty had NO cavities at the dentist and felt like I deserved a reward.  Then I realized that having no cavities IS the reward.

I learned that stress is an enemy when you are trying to lose weight.  But trying not to be stressed is stressful too.

I also learned that when I am totally resistant to writing my book, which happens almost every day, that making a craft can free the writer's mind and help me to approach the blank page.

 I rediscovered that one full hour on the eliptical strider makes me feel like flying, and that I need that one hour in my daily life.

But the most important thing I learned, the ONE message that I needed, is that simply looking at my husband's face brings all kinds of loving feelings to the surface.  If I have been annoyed by something and I'm struggling with anger, I need to remember to look at his face.  I can't exactly describe what happens to me when I am mindful of the shapes and contours, the curling hair around his earlobes, his eyes and the texture of his skin.   When I look at his face, I feel love, and there's no room for anything else.  The same thing happens when I look at Elliot and Emily's faces.  Even a picture will have the same effect.  So next time I'm gearing up to be really mad, I need to remember to focus on the face of my loved one.  I followed this discovery with with action; now our stairwell has an abundance of family photographs.

I also learned the positive effect of one thing leading to another.  Writing one chapter of a book leads to another.  One stanza of a poem leads to another.  One action, in whatever direction, leads to the next action. One uplifting idea can produce the feelings possibility and potential, two birds which I am personally inviting into my heart to make a nest.

January feels different to me now. It's the first month, and it will lead into the next.  By the middle of the year, I'll probably be longing for the simplicity and the symbolism of One that came with it.  I very nearly missed the importance of it.  By some random chance or intentional purpose from above, I heard one song on the radio which filled my spirit.  Maybe it wasn't a coincidence at all.

  We are one, but we're not the same, we get to carry each other, carry each other.....

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