Saturday, December 17, 2022


I am in an even more than usual state of introspection.

That most certainly includes a heavy dose of retrospection.

The holidays and the pending end of a calendar year often invoke those states within me. While the holidays increase the level of activity for people in my vocation, they also always compel me to desire increased time in non-doing. This can for sure cause some tension. I do not resist the tension. I just go into it, knowing some needed fodder is emerging.

And so, my state of introspection has been deepening, as has my retrospective exploration.

Memories have been arising that are accompanied by many varied waves of responsive energies. Memories from early childhood. Memories of holidays and people past. Memories that take me by surprise, and many that take my breath away. Memories of when Christmas had an intense magic to it. Memories of lights and sounds and gifts and tastes. Images of trees and manger scenes, frosty windows and visible breath. Letters to Santa and Sunday school pageants. I have laughed and I have cried. I have regretted and I have celebrated.

Retrospective introspection. Even more than usual.

As I contemplate my interior and surf the waves of grief and of joy, I reflect on what my lifetime has been about. The patterns. The blockages and the places that have always seemed to flow. The people who have uplifted me, and the people who have put me down. The events, circumstances, relationships that were and are significant.

I reflect on so many losses, starting at an early age. The decades have indeed been punctuated by losses. Significant, life changing losses. While human beings naturally lean away from and avoid loss, I have been gifted to learn to lean into them and seek to glean the gifts I somehow knew they contained. As a result, my many losses have been meaningful. They have been expanding. They have helped to cultivate resilience, fortitude, tenacity, and steadfastness. I have deep clarity around how much I have learned from these repeated losses. How strong I have become from my myriad goodbyes.

And now, at another holiday and end of year season, I am amid yet another intensified period of introspection and retrospection. I am in the middle of what could be a slow and long goodbye. Anticipatory grief is my subtle yet persistent companion. And I am strong, resilient, stable enough to lean into it without becoming it. I nod it good morning and I kiss it goodnight. I see it as both personal and pattern. It is familiar and it is new. It seems ancient, and also now.

There are many things that I have become as a result of a goodbye punctuated lifetime. I am beyond grateful for most of those things. I perhaps have more bruises than some. I can be more withdrawn than most. I have scars. Oh my, I have scars. Yet with all the wounds there is one thing I have not become. This is perhaps my greatest source of appreciation in terms of what I could have become.

With all of the hurts and losses, I have not become bitter.

I am not bitter.

I do not write these words from a surface type of awareness. I have gone deeply into an intentional introspection around this. I have led with my heart into a retrospective deep dive into how my losses have shaped me. In what ways they have made me more closed, and in what ways I have chosen to be more open. I have intimately touched those bruises and scars. I have attended to them without regret or evaluation. I have gained clarity and insight as to what meaning a lifetime of loss has gifted me with.

I am better as a result. I am not bitter.

I could easily have become bitter.

I am not.

I am bruised it is true.

And I am better.

I have been made better by goodbyes, not bitter. That gives each loss great meaning. It allows me to know my tears have cleansed my heart while also watering the garden of my consciousness. I do not fear loss. Mine or yours. I may wince, but I do not run away. Doors can be slammed in my face, yet my heart remains wide open.

Every loss has become a gain.

And so, this holiday season there will be little outward celebration as I attend to added responsibilities as a fulltime caregiver that also works fulltime. I remain open as I attend to my attending. I do so while being intensely intimate to my interior, my past, my present. I embrace it all from a spacious betterment that has expanded beyond bitterness.

I am grateful for my proclivity toward introspection. For contemplation. For deep dives into consciousness and emotional fluency. For the memories sweet and tragic. For Christmases with much and Christmases with little. It has been a beautiful, magical, painful, sometimes regretful, always wondrous journey. Adventure. Loses and gains, I have searched, and I have found meaning in it all.

And, best of all, I am not bitter as a result. For better and for worse I have become better.

And for that I am better than glad. I am blessed.