Every year I look forward to the new year as being a year to transform into something better, something stronger, something wiser. If that is happening, I’m not seeing it.
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Zora Neale Hurston.
And are there years when nothing happens? Sometimes I feel like this is what 2019 was like for me. But I now realize that I spent the entire year of asking questions.. what, why? Will 2020 finally answer those questions and find solutions.
“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in the life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self discovery.”
I’m not sure I would see my health issues as delightful, although they might be a vehicle of self discovery. But maybe if I change my attitude a bit, I can see moving to a new home as both a delightful self discovery.
“Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change. What are you hopes for the future as you reflect on the years that have passed?”
Right now, my hopes are for more comfort. Comfort in less pain physically, a more accessible and comfortable home, comfort in finding some accomplishment and success.
“Gradually as you become curator of your own contentment, you will learn to embrace the gentle yearnings of your heart. But this year, instead of resolutions, write down your most private aspirations. Those longings you have kept tucked away until the time seems right. Trust that now is the time.”
Trust. Time. Can I?
“Ask the questions. The Simple Abundance path brings confidence that the answers will come and we will discover, day by day, how to live them.
Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself.”
I love lists. I love the book “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach; I’ve had this book for at least 30 years. And I especially love the lists she adds at the end of each month’s chapters.
These are some of my favorite ideas from January.
Go through your personal papers at home and organize your desk to get a fresh start on the new year. Discard as much as you can. Hang your new calendar. Try to make your personal space at home where you do paperwork (or computer work) as inviting as possible.
Visit a good stationery store or a very large bookstore and search for a beautiful blank book to use as your gratitude journal. At the stationery store, you also might want to look at different colored inks and pens.
Visit an art supply shop and look around. Take in all of the different ways that you can begin to express yourself: in vivid color, on paper, canvas, in clay. Sound like fun? While you’re there, pick up a couple black-bound artist’s sketchbooks to use for the illustrated discovery journal you’re going to create (information about doing this is on the book). My favorite size is eight-and-a-half inches by eleven inches lengthwise.
Put up some acrylic magnetic picture frames to create a gratitude college on your refrigerator. Place in it photographs of those you love and are grateful for, such as family, friends and pets. Also place in it reminders of little things you’re thankful for, like, the car repair bill that was less than you had feared. If there is something particularly want to come into your life, place a pictures of it here and give thanks for it ahead of time.
Prepare for a winter’s idyll. Stock the pantry with real cocoa, tiny marshmallows and a bar of good chocolate (for a shaved chocolate topping). Get some whipped cream and keep it in the refrigerator. When snow comes and school is canceled, stay at home with the kids. Lounge about in your pajamas. If you have a fireplace, have a fire all day. Build a snowman together, go sledding and then have tomato soup in mugs and toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch. Take a nap. Luxuriate in an unexpected day off. (Watch movies too)
Bake a pan of dark moist gingerbread for after school tea with the children. (Top with homemade lemon sauce or lemon curd and whipped cream).
This morning when I got up it was so cold. I just couldn’t get warmed up and my toes were turning blue. I finally went in and took a hot shower. As the scalding water warmed me up, I wondered how homeless people cope with this bone-chilling cold, never feeling any warmth, to the point that it’s so numbing that they can’t have a cognitive thought about anything other than survival. Getting or keeping warm. Finding a place to sleep. Looking for something to eat. No wonder the last thing on their mind is relating to others with what we expect to be normal manners. For them, this is normal. How do they ever keep going?
With all of the cuts in the things that can help society, I expect that we will see more and more homeless people living in the streets and since Trump wants to ban abortions and eliminate birth control, we will have more and more street urchins as well, begging, pan-handling, stealing, vandalizing. Why does the GOP think this is better? And since they want to eliminate welfare as well, what are these people suppose to do?
Everyone seems to think that homeless and jobless people are there because the choose to be. Really? Why would anyone choose this as a way to live?
Many are people with mental disabilities who were thrown out of hospitals when some do-gooder decided it was infringing on their patients civil liberties to held against their will in state institutions. Now I know some of these hospitals were nightmares in and of themselves. My grandmother worked at Western and told me some of the horror stories of working with the patients there. But instead of helping them, they kicked them out of the hospital with no training on how to support themselves or deal with their illnesses.
Others are runaway kids who have decided that living on the streets was better and safer than being abused at home. When they are arrested, rather then help them deal with the trauma they endured at home, they just send them right back to it. The kids either runaway again or too often die at the hands of their families. Of course, not all kids who run away are abused. Sometimes it’s neglect, fear, or misunderstandings.
Then there are whole families that suddenly find themselves homeless due to a medical emergency that wipes out their savings and they can’t afford to make ends meet again. The first to go is their home, then their job and no where to turn to. Some become homeless after a disaster… a house fire, an earthquake, a tornado… and it’s nearly impossible to get back their feet.
Many are military veterans who came home to a less than stellar welcome, trying to cope with PTSD, unable to relate to civilian life or their families after the horrors of war.
Society and the government have done a terrible job in repaying these brave men and women who gave up everything to fight for their country.
How we treat these people makes a huge difference, but their numbers are growing and it’s going to get harder and harder to do anything for them. How many of us will join their ranks?
There are two songs that make think of this situation…
Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins and On The Turning Away by Pink Floyd.