Life last year continually pushed me to figure out how I should care for those close to me while also caring for myself. I have been pushed to see the difference between myself and other people: their choices and my own. This is perhaps, the most difficult challenge I faced in the first year of the Age of Aquarius… and life has been an unrelenting teacher.
Happy 2013! Or a statement more accurate to my feelings: Happy end of 2012! Last year around this time, I wrote a post entitled: Celebrating the Beginning of the Aquarian Age. The push to evolve was and is very exciting to me. This shifting astrological paradigm challenges us to break away from those habits and patterns that no longer serve us. But excited as I am, I have to admit that the first year of the Age of Aquarius really kicked my butt.
Did last year feel exceptionally difficult for anyone else out there? I really felt like I couldn’t catch a break for the entirety of 2012. This is not to say that my year was simply filled with loss and grief, though I am dealing with loss and a great deal of grief. But some really great things happened last year too, which I celebrated, but also found extremely difficult to manage. Many of my roles and relationships radically changed in ways that were more difficult than I expected or wanted. Riding the Aquarian tides, I felt tossed about and was often confused. I kept telling myself: just hang on. Just hang on, because you are not alone riding these cosmic waves. Hang on, because you will learn how to swim in these new waters.
Therefore, in honor of the New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to evaluate and strategize for my how.
I am not usually one for making new years’ resolutions. The cultural rhetoric surrounding resolutions either presupposes failure or relates success to the amount of money you spend to achieve a goal. Yet today I find myself considering how I approached last years’ challenges, successfully and unsuccessfully. I have concluded that I need to create more life giving patterns and habits in 2013. Many things I am doing now, my coping mechanisms and my defenses, can no longer meet my needs. So, I guess I am making resolutions. I, however, prefer to say that I am actively hope-ing to evolve my praxis of living. ;) Thus, I set the following intentions for 2013:
1. Create a healthier relationship to food in at least one way.
My mother took a dive off a five-foot high wall while carrying my nephew last year. She fell on her head and broke her arm. This accident, which could have killed her, put her back in the hospital less than one year after a previous hospitalization, which itself, was one year after she spent a week in the ICU because of a perforation in her intestine. My response to my mother’s fall was to put on nearly 10 pounds in one month. I have gained 15 pounds this year. I tend to use food to cope with my fear, stress and worry. The problem with this coping mechanism is that is just that: it is for “dealing” or struggling with something hard. My overeating does not help me to thrive even if it did help me to survive this year.
I am not trying to be hard on myself—nor do I look back at my relationship to food this year with shame. I made it through the year, which was a very, very hard year. I am not “bad” because I am 15 pounds heavier. I am also not “bad” because racist and abusive hetero-patriarchy judges my scale’s number, 195, unbeautiful. I am beautiful. I don’t always know it, but I am. What I find myself asking today is if this kind of survival, for me, is really sustainable? Am I ready to be more of myself, in a way that is more than creating physically, more of myself?
I believe I know that I am.
2. Drink Less
Recently, a good friend of mine and myself had a conversation about the fact that we’ve both been drinking too much. We’ve also both watched people in our lives self-destruct this year because of their drug use. It’s easy to pour some wine to unwind in the evening after a long, hard day. It’s easy to escape into inebriation; particularly, when you are struggling. But it is also unsustainable. It can undermine survival—as meth use has for someone very close to me this year. I want to create habits that are compatible with the person I am becoming, so I am changing my relationship to this drug.
My friend and I made a pact to give up all alcohol for three months and then to check in again, knowing that we are facing some serious struggles. We are working together to prevent abuse.
3. Close my doors! (Make and Keep appropriate boundaries!)
2012 was a year filled with broken boundaries for me. My house, my metaphorical self, has been wide open. Other people crossed my boundaries. I crossed my boundaries, and theirs. Life last year continually pushed me to figure out how I should care for those close to me while also caring for myself. I have been pushed to see the difference between myself and other people: their choices and my own. This is perhaps, the most difficult challenge I faced in the first year of the Age of Aquarius… and life has been an unrelenting teacher.
Powerfully, two women whom I trust, from very different parts of my life, told me that I need to close my doors. One woman literally had a dream about my house and saw all my broken locks. The other woman prayed over me at the AAR national conference after speaking with me. She put her hand on my back, shut all my doors for me and said that those people I would want to welcome into my home are the same people who will respect me when I say no.
Both of these were very powerful experiences for me. I did an extensive and extremely vivid meditation where I literally repaired my home, giving broken windows and doors ornate, Celtic locks that glowed green with power from my heart chakra. Now that I have fixed my locks, however, I need to learn how to use them… I am starting to do this.
I check in with my aura to see if it is like a glittering membrane or if it is dull and faded. I have also recognized that I need some help, which brings me to my final intention:
4. Start Seeing a Therapist (Again)
I saw a therapist for about a year after I graduated from college. I found the experience lifesaving. I mourned with my therapist. I felt love grow in that healing space. And importantly, I learned what it looks like for me when I am surviving, not thriving.
I am ready to thrive again in 2013—or at least, to create the patterns for unfolding greater liveliness. The confusion that accompanied my Aquarian journey last year taught me some questions: very practical questions and questions I was not ready before to ask.
I am ready now. I am ready for 2013.
Are you also actively hope-ing to evolve your praxis of living (aka. making resolutions)? If so, how? I would love to hear your story.
Sara Frykenberg, Ph.D. is an adjunct professor of religion at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angles and a graduate of the women studies in religion program at Claremont Graduate University. Her research considers feminist analysis of embodiment and technology, as well as the ways in which process feminist theo/alogies help to challenge and refract abusive paradigms. In addition to her feminist, theo/alogical and pedagogical pursuits, Sara is also an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, and a level one Kundalini yoga teacher.