This past year has been a year of tremendous growth for me. I've pruned off pieces of myself and I've watched pieces fall away of their own accord. I have grown more patient and I have grown less complacent. I have felt peaceful in this growth and content to know that pain is just a part of it but so too is joy. That there are some days when the sun is shining but it seems as though the warmth of it never reaches past the clouds. And there are some days when it becomes pleasantly warm unexpectedly. But I do not think that at any other point in my life have I ever felt so content with all the changes and all of the circumstances that bring that change about.
I've tried to live in a," patient not complacent" way for a few years now. But I don't think I've ever understood what that feels like more clearly than I have lately. I'm not sure if it is because I'm just a bit more tired lately or if I've just decided to dive in rather than wade about in the shallow end trying to stay dry. Maybe I've developed more trust in my ability to stay afloat while at the same time calmly accepting the possibility that the hidden current might drag at me until I'm too tired to fight it. Whatever the case, I feel relieved.
I don't feel this way all the time. I still have many moments when I feel alone, awkward, sad, unsure, under-understood (If that makes sense), misinterpreted, disregarded etc. But overall I have felt more able to calm these emotions and let things go once I've realized that they have taken hold of me. I've also felt more comfortable asking for help and advice from those close to me when I can't seem to let things go on my own.
I think I've been better at the "not complacent" part most of my life. Always looking for ways to improve and better myself and seeking out ways to be helpful and kind and discover how to be kindest to individuals and not just the collective mass. But the "be patient" part of it has always been a struggle for me. It still is and I still think I am far harder on myself than I should be. But I think I am getting better at breathing through it. And I have found intense happiness in realizing that it is my responsibility and my freedom to let go or hold on.
Maybe finding peace has become easier as I've slowly come around to the idea of being more confident of my intentions. I have tried to become more comfortable being more freely kind and giving and less afraid of how my actions will be perceived. I've come to the conclusion that as long as my intentions are pure, that acts of kindness are okay and observing and serving people in my life with less anxiety can lead to deeper connections with them and create a feeling of peace during our interactions. I still try very hard to be sensitive to other's boundaries and try my best not to impose on them. But I still hope that even if I just stand next to them we will feel comfortable and content in the quiet. Because sometimes that is all that is needed.
There are still times when I feel like my interactions with others is like Skyping with a slow Internet connection. A bunch of freeze frames, delayed audio reception and a fuzzy view of the person on the other end. It isn't bad necessarily. I'm still connecting with the person on the other line. But I wish we didn't have to travel through an intricate and expansive collection of wires and signals to reach each other. That there weren't so many social conventions and prerequisites clogging up the way to simple, friendly and fulfilling conversations.
But I have felt more comfortable with who I am and where I am and who I am with and who I am without. I wish there were more one on one conversations in my life. More giving conversations where it is safe to discuss anything with understanding and purity of intent on both sides. More opportunities to develop relationships based on more than common interests and physical proximity. More laughter and less fear of sharing our pain and grief with those who would love nothing more than to sit by us through it and help us where they can. But I also know that those type of connections can be hard to come by. Not for lack of desire but because life is demanding and time is short. That this world and all of us in it are flawed and inconsistent. But I also remembered, as I was standing in my kitchen making tea this morning, that there are probably plenty of people in this world who feel like I do. Just standing in their kitchens, offices, family rooms, dance halls, classrooms and everywhere in between, wishing to connect more easily with this world but also understanding that it is okay if it takes more effort and discomfort to get there than one wishes it did.
That it is okay. And that is okay.