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“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Victor Frankl



 

I grew up in a Catholic household where following every waistline testing, engorged bellied Thanksgiving came the ritual setting up of Christmas trees, decorating, and beginning the countdown of the Advent season.  As a young girl all that really meant was getting out the calendar covered in glitter and surprises waiting behind every door.  You open a door every day of the Advent season (the month leading up to Christmas) and either candies or pictures would lay in wait behind every door opened, or cardboard cutout removed.  It was magical, scintillating joy that comes only from the simplest of places and requires so little tangibles, only a wealth of imagination and anticipation–of which I had in overabundance as a child. 

 

Today I find so many rich metaphors and symbolism in this past time of Advent.  Advent meaning in any terms, “The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.”  As we creep towards the new year and holidays for a variety of faiths and creeds that symbolize new beginnings, rebirths, births, renewal, and change we are all free to celebrate this season of advent, the advent of change in one way or another. 

 

I find myself at a precipice of so many things and at this precipice I find myself assessing so much that is and that which has been in my life the last year or so.  In the advent of change in my own life I find myself pondering the present and looking expectantly towards the future–something like the adult version of my childhood self, wondering what magic awaits me behind the next door I open. 

 

There is a freedom and beauty in this time of year to shed old skins, start fresh with new journeys and to return back, with childhood wonderment, to a place of memory and nostalgia of what holiday seasons and preparations can be. 

 

I hope everyone has filled their bellies and laughed with the ones they loved this Thanksgiving season and that everyone has something they are shedding and something new they are on the precipice of beginning.  Take time to sit in your own advent of change right now.  What is the arrival of something important you are waiting for, the new project, new adventure, new journey you might be about to begin?

 

I began this blog to catalog my journey through yoga school, a tangible and solid goal.  What I have realized is as I have written, as life has meandered on a course part created by me and part formed by that which has happened in my life, things have shifted.  I have realized that, like Advent, this story has taken a more symbolic and metaphoric route.  “Yoga School”, as it were, has become everything–it is my life, my journey, and the yogic path and insights that have imbued my every step. 

 

I owe many a personal revelation to this blog and the ideas that have sprung in the writing of it.  As I creep closer to the time that I will begin my literal yoga school I realize that, that journey is only a small pieces of this larger adventure and misadventure I am on–my yogic education is this whole process, this year of change, this advent season on the precipice of beginning new and wonderful adventures, everything that has come and everything that will come, in and out of a classroom.

 

Happy holidays to everyone and I hope we all can explore together as the year comes to a close the advent of the new that we may all be on the brink of. 

 

 

“Life is a constant Advent season:  we are continually waiting to become, to discover, to complete, to fulfill.  Hope, struggle, fear, expectation and fulfillment are all part of our Advent experience.”

Life Is An Advent Season, Connections, 11-28-1993

 

Ive got a brand new pair of roller skates by Indy Charlie on flickr

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. 
 

Helen Keller

 

 

Having just returned from my viewing of “Whip It” with the amazingly endearing and engrossing Ellen Page as well as “riot grrl” inspiring portrayals of chicks that rock by powerhouse women in Hollywood like Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Eve and Kristin Wiig  I am feeling appropriately riotous.  I left wanting to do something bold and don some skates.  While the latter is unwise given bad ankles, bad balance, and all around equalibrium issues with as of yet undetermined origin the former feels like a healthy ambition.

 

I think we all should be inspired, on occassion, to do something bold, to be someone bold, and really shout to the world some truth of ourselves.  “Whip It” was an elbows out, skates on, face-your-fears-till-you’re-fearless depiction of someone forging their own path, finding their own truth, and doing it all to a rockin’ soundtrack.  How often I have thought how much easier it would be to be bold or empowered with a really amazing soundtrack blaring in the background.

 

It was the greatest infusion of filmic empowerment I had felt in a while.  I love that feeling of leaving a theatre feeling imbued with a sense of something palpable and translatable from the screen into my rapidly thumping heart and contemplating mind.  Perhaps it was a tinge of nostalgia for my alterna-punkish youth but I think it was also a sprinkling of something much more present tense.  The film was an all out, bruising to the bone reminder that you can be pushed down, punched out, and dropped on our face by life but our strengths are in bouncing back up, maybe throwing in an elbow of our own, and pushing forward to be the best of ourselves–courage despite fear.   And there is nothing like watching a woman literally throwing an elbow on screen, at least for me, to pump up the empowerment adrenaline. 

 

I was not quite sure what to do with this visceral motivation–somewhat torn between wanting to become a roller derby maven and create my own nonprofit I think I will settle somewhere in the middle for the moment, transcribing my internal invigoration via post as my own personal translation of empowerment.  As my method of “throwing elbows” (given aforementioned issues of balance and lack of phsyical skill) has always been literary in nature. 

 

And since I missed out on my Weekly List due to some technical difficulties by way of a busted computer adapter I think I will list about it with a bit of “Whip It” enthusiasm and some of my viewpoints on empowerment:

 

1) Be Bold.  Be Honest.  Be You.  These may seem like simple premises but I think, day-to-day, they can be the hardest to follow through on.  Being true to ourselves and honest about who we are both externally and internally is a life long journey but in that journey we should be able to find ways to be bold about who we are in any given moment.  Whether it be seeing “Whip It” by yourself on a Sunday just because you want to, writing into cyber oblivion because it feels necessary, or just saying how we really feel when our urge is to keep silent.  Being you in any given moment can be the boldest and most courageous thing anyone can do.

 

2)  Face Your Fears.  Whatever gives you chills or makes your stomach drop– stare it down.  Don’t let what frightens you rule you.  Now while I have not managed to do that in the arena of, say, cocroaches (yet) I actively try to push the limits of what I feel comfortable with and stretch for what might be possible right beyond my reach.  Stretch your reach.  Stop stagnation by grasping at something a little further than you think you can achieve–you might be surprised at just how far you are capable of going.  I have been, maybe more recently than ever before.  I hope I don’t stop living on the edge of the next seemingly unattainable dream–grasping at the air just a little bit further than I can see.

 

3)  Pull Yourself Up When You Fall.  So much of life is dealing with the unexpected and often unexpected blows.  Like Hellen Keller said above “Security is superstition.”  We can count on change and low points and failures but those things can be the foundation for something unexpectedly good.  The falls may change who we are and where we are headed but to be able to find the good, get back up, and throw elbows to make something out of what we have been given is real courage.  Being able to not just survive life but thrive and create something new and good. 

 

4)  (Once You’ve done #4) Help Someone Else Pull Themselves Up.  A crutial part of healing from our falls, recovering our souls and healing our aches from pain and trauma in our lives, is being able to hand some of that courage, skill, and the honesty of our own powerful story, to someone else who is struggling in their own ache.  I was discussing this very thing with the lovely and passionate Michele Rosenthal over at “Heal My PTSD” this weekend when (after finding out we live in close proximity to one another) we were able to meet up at a local Domestic Violence event.  Being able to give somebody hope and strength to pull themselves back up is just as important as being able to attain it for yourself–in my opinion–not just for the other person but for yourself. 

 

5)  Speak Out.  Speak Loud.  Be The Voice For SomeOne Who Can’t Speak For Themselves.  In an expanded follow through of #4 I think this step can be powerful for each of us and be a metamorphasis of all the prior steps into a holistic conclusion.  To be able not just to be our own journey to our own end, but to be able to move beyond ourselves to work for a greater good and a larger whole is something that is both personally fullfilling and an important contribution.  Not everyone can be their own voice, they may just not have the strength.  This could be advocating for a cause or population that brings passion to your heart or speaking against injustices in your midst or taking your own painful traumatic experiences and giving it up as representation for others that even pain can have a voice and falling is not the end of the story–teaching people that they can stand again, by example. 

 

 

In this last step I am only, thus far, a partial representative.  I am a huge advocate for PTSD treatment and am constantly trying to be a voice for those who are struggling in their own pain, but I have never yet used my story as the tool.

 

I believe in the importance (another issue I was discussing with Michele this weekend) of those who have survived and thrived in pain and trauma to come forth and stand strong for those who cannot yet do so, but at the same time I have never publically shared my story. 

 

Perhaps this is the next step of my journey and maybe in some strange confluence of events my wonderful discussion with a fellow survivor followed by a raucious “riot grrl” type movie helped to remind me that while the trauma therapist professional in me has important things to say about healing–the trauma survivor in me also has a voice that must be heard.

 

Female Boxing Champion 1926 on flickr

I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.


Margaret Mead (a famous anthropologists and one of my first heroines as a child)

June 2020
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