A Reflection of 2020; the Year of Change, and Coming Home to the Self
“Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut you more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few humans and even divine ingredients can. Something in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my voice so tender, my need for God absolutely clear.”Hafiz
I don’t necessarily believe in God. I guess my perspective on the subject is a bit complicated. The universe and the universe within us, as simple as being a human may sound, is what I believe in. I’ve not birthed life into everything- it has shown itself to me one way or another, and so, I see God in each of those things. We are the rulers of our own worlds, lives, and experiences in my book. I see myself and you and the next human all as Creator- Creators.
Regardless of what I think, this quote is still relevant. This year has shown me a vast loneliness within myself and spread across the planet. I saw the space between my physical body and soul, the pain and hurt, the memories, all floating around in stillness.
This year threw me into everything I’d been hiding from. It made me revisit all that I thought I’d run away from or solved. It made me feel it so vividly that they broke my heart all over again.
My emotions were so potent that I couldn’t turn away. And I felt so alone in that- like the only person in the world whose life was closing in on them, crumbling. I stood intimately with my own emotions and deeply scarred memories and began to feel the world’s as well. It’s funny- though we were all kept away from one another, it seemed as though we could feel each other’s emotions as if we were standing together. This pain slashed whatever I was feeling and delivered the bigger picture. And when I was faced with that, I wept like the sky on her darkest day.
I sat with more problems than I knew what to do with. Problems that are deeply rooted in our society, ones that affect not just humans, but all living beings on the planet too. It’s not that any of these weren’t there before. It’s that I’d been too preoccupied to pay any mind to them. But all at once, they fell onto me, clear as day, overwhelming me to points that I could not handle. I felt like I was trapped in this endless cycle of darkness, finally coming to the conclusion that the world was messed up, and there was no saving left to do. There was just doom.
I needed that- that moment of being naked in the center of the ring with the truth staring fiercely at me. No more veil. No more hiding behind the curtain. No more lies. I was afraid, but I needed to feel that so I could move past it. From the world’s loneliness, darkness emerged and told us what we needed to hear. It was enough to call out to a greater power to save us. That would make it easy though- to just hand over your problem to the next person and the next and the next. To make it so far out of reach and to disassociate yourself from it, so you don’t feel like fate is in your hands. But honestly, who we need right now is us. We must call to ourselves and to each other. We must build community.
We need to be vulnerable. We need to be open for change to ensue- to heal. We can no longer run away if we want the world to get better and if we want to get better. The reason I was faced with loneliness was because I needed to see what I was made of. There needed to be nothing. Everything needed to be torn down to its core so that I could finally rebuild. I needed to break open so that I could receive and so I could come home to myself. And I suppose the real test there was to see if I could do it.
As we exit this year, we are not beginning with a blank slate. Our slate is overflowing and a mess, and wiping it clean is backbreaking work. I know that I’ve been given the knowledge I needed to excite change, a revolution of the self. And boy is it ugly. Still, I feel that it’s beautiful just like life is. I stand at the brink of a new day, and I get to choose how that will unfold.
This year has been a lot of unlearning and relearning, mostly how to be human. I used to dread life. I used to hate waking up. I rejected the idea that life could be something magical, and I didn’t see the purpose in me. But second chances were thrown at me like they were candy. I thought that I had been hardened by my sadness. And though my outside shell may have been closed off, there’s something about all of it that softened me. I found something in nothingness and empty space. And I decided that it didn’t matter if my life amounted to nothing because it isn’t nothing in my eyes. What matters to me is living. It doesn’t even have to be exciting. The joy in the space between sweet moments. The sun lighting my room golden each morning and the moon staining the Earth blue every evening. My cup of coffee. The gently falling snow. How kindly my bed holds me after a long day. Following my dreams. All of these things I’ve fallen in love with. All of these things valuable pieces of life.
In the midst of the fear, I saw and cried more tears of happiness and fearlessness than I ever have. There was something about this year that tied me back to me. It made me care, even about the little things. I see the importance in the smallest beings and the soul in inanimate objects.
The great return home– I found joy in myself, in my entire being, in the fact that my body can move, that my lungs work harmoniously with the trees so I can breathe. I stop for a second, close my eyes, and try to capture moments with my mind. To feel emotions as if I were touching them, falling from my palm to fingertips. It’s ten times better than a photo. I’m kind of worried that I might miss something so I just have to pause. If you thought you may never see someone again or experience something, you’d hold on. You might treat every moment just like that.
Isn’t there something more we could all hold onto? Someone or something we have a profound enough love for? To pull up from the mud as a collective? Can life be enough?