As I write what will be the last and final BSC perspectives piece of 2012, all that keeps swirling around in my mind is..."what a difference a year makes". This time last year I recall feeling absolutely lost and terrified. I was unsure about various aspects of my life. I remember being somber. I remember having to make a conscious choice to not be swallowed whole by the confusion, sadness, and questions about everything in my life at the time. Reflecting on the last year of my life, I can say that it has been an extremely full one. I've experienced amazing triumphs and accomplishments, and I have also had some of THE MOST DIFFICULT, DARKEST encounters of my life. As I think about all of it in totality, I'm less concerned with each individual experience and more focused on the fact that all of it had to happen the way that it did in order for me to be where I am now. Currently...I can't honestly say I'm in a fabulous place nor am I in an awful one. What I am at this present moment is grateful.
For the last 3 or 4 months I've been keeping a "Gratitude Journal" and writing an entry (almost) every day about all that I am grateful for in life. This practice has been eye opening and rewarding beyond measure. I usually write in my journal each morning immediately after my morning prayer and meditation. It's almost as if the three things when done in conjuction, one right after the other, all work together to keep me anchored. I'm a lot more present, aware and conscious of everything when I take time each day to get still, become silent, and realign myself with Spirit. Even when I finish this practice/process and go right back into my human-ness by worrying & allowing the "tape" to run in my mind, (which happens quite often...) there is still a temperament and resolve that I feel deep inside that I hold on to fervently. Regardless of how much and how often I terrorize myself with my own thoughts, I'm always able to come back to the center and to see the madness as a necessary part of my journey. By the time it's all said & done, the most important thing I find myself thinking is: "...at least I've kept going". I mention this mainly because there have been so many times in my life and particularly within this last year that I wanted to give up, either out of exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anger, or hurt. As I attempt sum it all up here, I can say that I am so very grateful I've stayed the path and kept going.
When I looked up the word activism in the dictionary, these are the definitions I found:
1. the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.
2. a. a theory that the essence of reality is pure activity, especially spiritual activity, or process. / b. a theory that the relationship between the mind and the objects of perception depends upon the action of the mind
3. a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, esp a political or social one
The reason I reference these definitions is because ever since the end of October when I was thinking about what I wanted to write about next, the word activism kept coming to mind. I know it had something to do with the fact that the election was in full swing by that point & I was fired up about the outcome & just how much was at stake. I'm also sure it had something to do with the fact that I had just recently started to become more active myself, after having had a run in with situational depression, and as a result, having to come out of a mental and emotional slump which I wrote about in October. In nearly one month's time I had gone from not being able to sleep, eat, or function normally to being so busy with work, personal, professional and artistic activity that I was falling asleep any time I sat still for more than 5 minutes. "Zero to a hundred" is what it felt like. Though the "zero"/dark/depressing/hard difficult period felt like hell, it was a blessing because not only did it afford me the opportunity to be on the receiving end of a valuable life experience, but it also forced me to exercise the will and determination to pull myself up and out of that place, emotionally, mentally, literally, and figuratively.
During that time, although on the surface it appeared that one specific situation in my life was the root, what became clear rather quickly was that I somehow had called the situation to myself for some very specific reasons. I found myself doing a lot of reading, writing, watching television, and listening to music at that time. No matter where I was or what I was doing, the answers were all very clear. I still had some much needed healing to do. My first thought in response to this realization was, "Well damn...HOW MUCH HURT, and PAIN do I have to experience before I get the message, do the work, heal and move the fuck on?" Apparently more than I thought. So as fragile and frustrated as I oftentimes found myself, I had to also say THANK YOU for the "light bulb" coming on to shine light in dark corners of my life and my mind that I had obviously abandoned and stopped paying attention to.
It's funny how in hindsight things make much more sense than they do when they're happening. Just as I was beginning to confront a lot of old beliefs, patterns, and behaviors that had come to the surface in the form of a major personal life adjustment, the seeds were also being planted for the destined growth of my mental, emotional, spiritual, and creative garden(s). As all of that was happening I was grateful because it gave me the chance to get up and to not become consumed by the darkness I was dealing with. Each day with a pen, a piece of paper and an open heart...I wrote about all that I was grateful for. I also started to lay out my vision for what I sought to experience more of. I can't say I really wrote too much about how I was feeling at that time mainly because the living of it was so heavy and weighted that even attempting to write about that kind of hurt, grief and pain felt unnecessary and counterproductive. So began my gratitude journal, and clearer became my "vision".
By the time October rolled around, I was in full swing with the production and rehearsal of the most recent BSC production. Slowly, I felt myself coming back to myself. The words I remember using at the time was that it felt like I was regaining consciousness after being in a coma. Then came the difficult task of writing the piece about situational depression. I was very afraid because I was still very fragile myself and didn't want to fuck up any progress I had made. Thankfully I was able to get out my thoughts and feelings in an honest and heartfelt way that provided me with some more insight and healing. As I said earlier, in regard to the BSC website & the next "topic" I immediately found myself thinking a lot about activism. The month of November 2012 - with my 38th birthday, Barack Obama's re-election, rehearsals & promotion of our World AIDS Day show, "FACING IT", and Thanksgiving all in tow, prevented me from sitting still long enough to write anything.
Now, with the holidays and 2013 right around the corner...I'm looking back - not only on the last few months and my recovery, but also on the last year. In December of 2011, Brave Soul Collective had just been approved for Fiscal Sponsorship, which meant that MORE was on the horizon. It also meant more responsibilities and duties that had to be handled, all of which I knew I would have to manage. Things in my personal life were also slowly changing, even though I was resisting said change and making some flawed decisions as a result of my fear about what that change really truly meant. What I am about to say is what I think this last year has been about: HAVING MORE SCARED ME SHITLESS. I knew that I wanted more. Still, I didn't believe I deserved more, or was worthy of more. To take it a step further, I didn't know just how much I would need to GO BACK, LET GO OF, and release in order to make space for all of what was about to come. I don't think I really truly grasped or understood this fully UNTIL NOW.
As I continue the process of letting go, setting healthy boundaries, trusting my instincts, and taking more loving and nurturing care of myself first...I'm reminded of the importance of staying active. Even when I'm laying flat - either as result of grief or by my own volition, I'm being active because I'm allowing life to do what it inevitably does. It changes. Now I'm working WITH it instead of against it. Every day when I pray, meditate and write, I write about being in alignment. Sometimes I don't think I really understand how significant a prayer, statement, & affirmation that is. Everything that has taken place in the last year has reminded me just how powerful, massive, and important alignment with my divine purpose and the vision for my life, really truly is.
Activism doesn't always show up as some politically charged effort. Sometimes it's much more subtle in its nuances. Even when I didn't know what the fuck I was doing, where it would lead me, (or any of the "WHATS, HOWS, WHENS, OR WHYS") if I hadn't kept trying and showing up, I wouldn't be here to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. After the year I've had, I now have a deeper, new found understanding and respect for the act of being present. My message to myself, (& my offering to you) is this - Show up as much, and as often as you can. What's on the other side is always worth it. ~MJW~