On this the last day of 2020 I felt the need, as I am sure a lot of you have done to reflect on the year past.
There is a phrase I keep reading about 2020 being a shit year, and if I am honest it doesn’t sit well with me.
Don’t misunderstand, I am not minimising the huge shitshow that has been a worldwide pandemic, but within that pandemic there have been some real gems, and I feel it will be a shame to rush out of this year in a desperate bid to run away from 2020 and lose sight of all the beauty, because it is the shadows that make the light even brighter.
It is important to face the shadows to see the light, running away from it never really works.
2020 has been full of fear for me. Mainly fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, just getting it wrong. And I have on occasion done this. I have fucked up with my kids, with my friends, with my family. And what has come out of that is forgiveness and love. Because in this year of unknowns I have found that I can be imperfect, I can make mistakes, and those that love me, or value me as a friend forgive me. My kids have been able to see me feeling vulnerable and coming out the other side. The real positive that has come from this though is that I am more able to stay in my own lane, to settle down into my knowing, my truth and not need validation of others. I have learnt to trust myself, be strong enough to ask for help, feel safe enough to really connect with those that matter. I feel so much stronger for facing those fears. Without 2020 I could have easily have kept on ignoring my fears and vulnerabilities and be no further on.
2020 has also been filled with laughter. Because when things seem really bleak a funny meme in a group chat is often all I needed! When there are no words to describe how shit todays reality is a meme about toilet rolls and wanking is the level I needed. I found my tribe in 2020, and my tribe has a low grade, potty mouthed attitude that bonds us together in filth, puns and inuendo. This most definitely would not have happened in any other year because we are also a tribe of antisocial overworked parents who up until now respected each other’s lack of ability to actually hook up, so I thank 2020 and its devious ploy to make us realise what really matters on an individual and personal level.
2020 has given me the chance to really get to know my children, to watch them grow. I actually quite like them! Do not misunderstand, they do also drive me insane, and I have no deep desire to ever home school them again, as what I have also found out is that I have a 7 year old who has zero respect for me as a teacher and a vast array of ways to show me this, and a son who quite literally never stops talking. By the end of the day I would quietly creep off to the barn with a gin and tonic and play my flute for an hour whilst rocking gently. Yet they have also been awesome! They have adapted to new ways of learning, they have been brave, creative and kind. My son has shown a deeply caring side to him that before was often hidden by bravado and anxiety, and my daughter has blossomed into her true self as she had nobody to compare herself to, so simply developed into her own character, which is far more confident and brave than the little girl at the beginning of 2020. I always knew deep down my kids were cool but what 2020 has given me is the opportunity to really vibe with that, and it has actually been a lot of fun (when they haven’t been telling me to f**k off that is!)
2020 gave me a great tan! I am a total sun worshiper, and not being able to travel has caused me deep unhappiness, so mother earth gifting us with the most beautiful sunny year really was welcomed. Not being able to work for 5 months had its downsides, both financially and spiritually. I really missed my clients, I really missed helping people feel better and struggled in how to find my place if I wasn’t identified through my work. Yet, having 5 months where I could be outside in the fresh air, planting veg, growing flowers, reading, writing, painting all with the sunshine on my skin was amazing. It has made me realise that I can exist outside of my work, oh and that if I ever have to go through a pandemic again, I need it to be in the Mediterranean with a pool! It made me realise that life is about more than working, about making money, about being ‘successful’. I already knew all of this but I had to put my money where my mouth is and find the reality within this statement and find my own true place. Without 2020 and the enforced break I would have continued to give lip service to lifestyle and continued to seek validation of my own worth through others.
So, for me personally I can’t say 2020 has been a shit year. It has not been easy but it has enabled me to grow in ways I did not know I could. The shit-ness comes from frustration at other people’s actions (or inactions) it comes from watching society fall apart at the seams to only go back to all its old destructive ways as soon as possible to avoid facing the shadowy side. It comes from seeing a virus being blamed for all the woes where as in fact the pain comes from a radically underfunded health, social and education system. The virus isn’t really the issue, with all respect given to those directly affected by the virus itself, for the majority of people it has always been a numbers game, the virus is simply showing us the cracks, the question is whether we will learn from all of this. If we run away from 2020 claiming it to be a shit year we are taking no personal responsibility for the role we play in the shit.
So, I invite you to be brave and recognise the positives of 2020 for you personally, don’t just write off 2020 as a shit year.
What lessons did I learn the most in 2020?
What have I discovered about myself in 2020?
What were some of your best moments of 2020? Make up a picture collage and celebrate these moments.
What are you most grateful for in 2020?
And then look at the shadowy side. Ask yourself:
What has caused me pain in 2020?
What can I learn from this?
What can I do personally to change this?
And then finish off your practice with a gentle intent going into 2021:
Ask yourself: From everything I have experienced, learnt and felt in 2020 how do I want to feel in 2021, and what steps can I take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to feel this way?
So, in conclusion 2020 has not been a shit year, watching helpless as people suffer due to mis handling and underfunding has been shit, watching a cycle of blame and shame creating negativity and pain whilst avoiding dealing with the real issues is shit, grief, confusion, fear and anxiety is shit. But none of that is actually a year, or a virus. It is politics, it is society, it is racism, it is human nature. So, ask yourself what can you do to change these things?
And in the spirit of all that I do and all that I am:
2020, I love you, I love that you have tipped our world upside down so that we can see what really matters and make changes one step at a time.
I am sorry that society, politics and human nature has made what you brought to us this year so very hard to handle. I am sorry that so many people have died, that greed and fear has made people behave in intolerable ways. I am sorry that those who step up to protect and serve the sick and vulnerable have been so badly treated and are not recognised for all that they do in ways that make a real and lasting difference. I am sorry that the suffering of so many is due to massive flaws in the way our society blindly turns its eyes away from poverty and others needs when not impacted by it directly.
I forgive you for being the year that we had to learn tough lessons, that is on us, not you.
Thank you, for all that you have gifted me this year, the gift of connection, vulnerability, love, honesty and a real reflection of all that I am, all that I wish to be and all that I am not.
Wishing you all that you desire in 2021, let 2020 reflect onto you all that is important by not running from the shadows.