I probably should have guessed. We are nearing the end of February and I still haven't posted about the New Year. And now that I finally get to it, I have forgotten most of what I was so excited to write about. Figures. Ah well. Let us turn to the present; I think it's relevant and will actually probably serve as a summary/review of my thoughts and feelings about it being the "start" of a new year.
Okay, I guess I do need to back up a little. But allow me to simplify by making a list of some major realizations I've had/am in the midst of having.
#1 - My program is occupying a fairly large chunk of my life (my time and energy and focus and so on and so forth).
#2 - My program is not everything I want out of life, it's not even what I want most out of life.
#3 - My program is not very fun a lot of the time.
#4 - Oh dang, my motivation for my program is gone. It's not what I want + it's not fun = diminished (obliterated?) desire
#5 - Hey, my program is just ONE part of my life!
#6 - Wait a minute, the rest of my life is quite good and could get better if I devoted some of my time/energy/focus to it!
#7 - Sigh of relief --> Perspective --> Some fear and uncertainty --> Remembering --> Oh yes, my realizations! Life is still good.
Seven ought to do it; it's the number that symbolizes wholeness or being complete, isn't it? Coincidence? I think n....well yeah, it probably is.
So back to the present. Today was a really good Sabbath for me. I returned to an old habit that I have strayed from (probably out of laziness). I posed some questions in my mind this morning and then at church was scribbling in my notebook some interesting thoughts and insights that I think could really help me if I do the next step of integration/application. Alright so it wasn't so much scribbling as writing; I guess I was just remembering my "scribbles" from last week with Katie:
The gist of my "new year" thoughts and recent feelings is this: I want to do/be better. ["Saygobedo!" (Pronounced "say-Go-be-do" with the emphasis on go; it's a term coined by a woman I met on my mission who said that there was no good word to refer to the act of responding to a spiritual prompting)]. Paradoxically though, I am also quite content with where I am at. I feel good about what I have and am working to accomplish and feel even better about my testimony and spiritual progress. This is said not to boast or speak of myself. In fact, those who know me well will know (because I have shared with you) that I have some significant growing to do in gospel study habits, temple attendance, service, VTing...I could go on. But I'm learning that my *new*found sense of confidence and security and hope (feelings that are my almost-constant companions in and since serving a mission--directly tied to my experiences developing a testimony of the Atonement of Christ) are quite pleasant and wonderful and not entirely conditional upon my present performance. That is to say, they are powerful enough to transcend time in a significant way, allowing me to remember.
I hope this is making some sense. I think it's clearer in my mind than I'm conveying on this virtual paper. I waver between these two positions of feeling good right where I am and wanting desperately to improve/change/progress. Both come at a price. Both places have potential to be safe/secure ways of thinking or dangerous cognitive distortions. Where is the line between confidence and complacency? Between adequate allowance for mistakes and problem areas and condoning of sin? It's probably not so much a line as a balance. So this is the balancing act I'm working on. And I started the year with (as I often do) all the things I wanted to change/do better; then I began to appreciate and realize that where I am at is okay too...now I'm back to attending to and re-framing some of those original goals, with hopefully added perspective.
Lots of words. Just like in my little, sky blue BYU notebook. I haven't been writing as much lately as I used to do in the past. But I'm going to try to change that, because I think it's helpful. But so is this next step. The step of doing.
The main question I posed this morning had to do with figuring out some starting points. I've got some great big goals and plans and ambitions (for a lot of things, gospel study being one), but I wasn't interested in those today. I just wanted some simple starting points. And I got 'em! Now I turn my attention to the task of implementation (which can be kind of challenging, sure, but let's face it, it is often the most fun--e.g., which was more fun, Paula? Finding those recipes on Pinterest and learning about how to make them or actually making and eating them last week? Why the latter of course! Mmm...if you want to be tantalized go here and here for our most recent Pinterest successes). Long parenthetical, I apologize.
In a nutshell, I'm grateful for the new year. For new opportunities for growth and development and for failures and falls along the way. Hey that's not a bad toast! To 2012! Cheers, everybody!