Sunday, January 1, 2017
Resolutions? Sure. Okay.
There’s a giant bowl up front with rocks in it and candles round it. Everybody gets a tiny sheet of white paper that’s super thin and burns really fast. You write on that paper everything you need to release, people you need to forgive, stuff you need to let go, thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve. You write it all down on that little square. Then everybody walks up the aisle and all dramatic like touches their paper to the flame of the candle and tosses their paper into the bowl. It’s a very quiet, solemn thing, reflective and intense.
We sang all kinds of songs, then, about how I’m letting go, and I’m free, and I’m letting God. We smiled a lot. We held hands, prayed, and hugged. We felt the joy of release and communal love.
Then this is where things got real.
Now that there was space from releasing all the crap we’ve been holding onto, we were to write a letter to ourselves that will be mailed to us later in the year. We were to write a letter to ourselves, a letter of love and hope and renewal. Right there in church. You know, because we’re free, and we’re letting go, and we’re letting God, in his expansiveness, lead our way instead of relying on our tiny human brains to rule our lives.
“Think big,” we were told. “Dream big. There are no limits.” I needed this. I am at a transition in my life. You know this. I have written on it. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t think of a single concrete thing I want to materialize. Generalities, sure. But not one concrete wish or goal.
The letting go part was easy. I am ready for that. I named a few names, dropped a few deeds, and took a super close look at the god-ugly way I talk to myself. Forgiveness of others, of situations, of myself. Got it. I have been holing up in my new little home now for the past year. I have been in hiding. Kind of. As much as an attention-loving, stage-owning, pixie dust-flinging extrovert can hide. I have been in hiding in order to focus on self and to heal. I have done a good job of it. I’m feeling pretty patched up and ready to emerge from my nine hundred-square-foot, three-bedroom cocoon. I took that little square of super thin paper and said, “Thank you, God, for bringing these lessons into my life. I am ready now to let go.”
Think big. Dream big. There are no limits. Bigness? Well, sure. Who doesn’t want that? And since I threw my paper into the burning bowl, I am no longer Queen of Playing Small. I made that declaration. But what is this bigness? What does it look like in my life?
I had flashbacks right there in the pew to all the negative words I have flung at myself, all the feelings of pathetic self worth, all the days spent chastising my actions or lack thereof, all the years spent thinking that bigness was for someone else. I sat in this thought, in this space, and could conjure only one thing.
In my letter, I reminded myself how far I have come. I expressed pride and love for the person I have remained through challenge after challenge in my life. I gave myself a verbal high five and a super huge paper hug. Then, and here is my one and only resolution for this year, I reminded myself that I am of God, that I am a beautiful, healing light, and that I was not brought here to hide that light, to extinguish it, or to make it small. I made myself promise right there in my letter to keep shining the light that I came here to share, to keep sharing my smile and my love with those who surround me. I feel the bigness will come. It will come from that tiny act, from remembering who I am and whose I am, and from knowing I have the power to bring warmth to cold places, light to the dark, and love to the lost. Just as do we all.
Rock on, 2017! And watch out. I’m ‘bout to shine this goddamned light!!