Jennifer Elisabeth- “Starting over can be the scariest thing in the entire world, whether it’s leaving a lover, a school, a team, a friend or anything else that feels like a core part of our identity but when your gut is telling you that something here isn’t right or feels unsafe, I really want you to listen and trust in that voice.”
Horacio Jones- “Instead of saying, “I’m damaged, I’m broken, I have trust issues” say “I’m healing, I’m rediscovering myself, I’m starting over.”
These quotes just mean everything. It’s like saying the sky is above us and we walk on the grass. We smell the flowers and eat the fruit off the trees. It is something that makes sense and is right. I can read a book and understand why Belle fell in love with the Beast. I can listen to a song and understand why the bridge is nothing but harmony. I know that whatever works, it works for a reason.
The New Year for me was different. I wanted to start over from 2016 but I didn’t know what I was changing. I knew that this year was going to be fantastic and different but I wasn’t sure where that spark came from. A friend once said ‘You are young girl, take opportunities and go. Go and have a big adventure. Go and be amazing’.
I spent the last 23 years treading quietly hoping not to disrupt the sleeping bear or the prowling lion. It was hard sneaking around everyone else. I felt timid and quiet in all aspects even though I was told I was talkative and friendly. I didn’t feel it. I felt trapped in a body that didn’t want to achieve any goals. Not any goals I thought were worthy of achieving.
This year I decided to choose a goal that I thought was good. It’s a quote from Martin Luther King:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”.
My first leap of faith was to choose a job. An opportunity arose where I could move overseas and start not anew but again in a different place. I decided to take that new found confidence and leave my family behind. It is not something I would have done in 2016 but I must take the first step of faith to achieve my dreams. I am moving to Cambridge in September. Originally my dream has always been to work in Scotland but unfortunately sometimes we need to tweak our dreams for it to be a reality. Cambridge is a university city 1 hour NE of London. It is stunning. I actually fell in love with the storybook/ fairy-tale setting and it could be a dream. So I will leave in September unsure of return.
The second leap of faith was one that I have never wanted to push myself to achieve. It’s health. I set a goal to walk/run every day for the next month. With a few days off in between (like a cheat day). What I surprised myself was that, I actually love running. I’m not very good at duration but I like running, walking, running, walking and doing other forms of exercise around the park near my house. I am sure people look at me strange BUT with Bruce Springsteen, Rick Springfield and Bon Jovi screaming in my ears to “Born in the USA and Living on a Prayer”, I don’t give two hoots about what others think. I probably look ridiculous running too but who cares. I get hot, red in the face and exhausted but really, I took a leap of faith and I am going to keep going until I reach those bloody stairs. I am going to get fit and I am going to love my body even more.
The third leap of faith was just a simple word. Forgive. Forgive the people who you hated in 2016. Forgive the relationships that broke down and left. Forgive the customers at work who were rude and unforgiving. Forgive the parents who lost their temper. Forgive the teachers that made you feel out of place. Forgive the kids who talked back to you.
Henri Nouwen said “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come”.
I love the way this quote makes you reflect on your choices each day. Perhaps that is one step that needed to be taken after one forgives. It changes their persona. Their idea that life is good if you make it good. Your choices affect your actions. If you choose to walk away from those friends, you will lose them. If it’s a good choice for you, then so be it. If you choose to ignore rude people and keep smiling, at least you haven’t gotten angry and lost it. You have restrained the bear and put a muzzle on him.
But what if that bear could walk freely without a muzzle. What if it was nurtured with love and care and treated as though it was a cub. What would happen then?
I think forgiveness is just like nurturing. You can nurture a plant to reach its full height, you can nurture an animal back to health, you can nurture a friend going through a mental illness.
So I can nurture forgiveness.
It will take time but it is possible to forgive.
Nurture the bear. Throw away the muzzle.
Look at the sky. Feel the grass between your toes. Eat the apple and toss the core away. Watch it degrade into the grass where your feet once were.
Feel the sun on your face, melting your skin. See the birds hiding from the cats but mocking them in their native tongue.
It is all your reality. Take time to listen and take a step of faith. It can be small step or a giant leap. Whatever it is, it will make sense.