Truth #365: I am not something that can be wrapped up neatly

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I carried the enormity of this moment with me all day. I woke up to the fact of this being day 365.

When I started this process a year ago, I had no idea what it would become. I literally didn’t know what I was doing even as I started doing it.

A year later, I am sitting here wanting to conjure the feelings of gratitude, joy and love that swam through my heart and my smile all day as I sat with what I have done, as I realized again and again the incredibleness of what I have given myself here, and how it has moved me. Yet what I am most aware of right now in this very moment of composing Truth #365, is sadness. I am aware of an ending.

There very well might be a Truth #366. I might write it tomorrow night, and I might not write it for a while. Regardless, the commitment I made to do this for a year is coming to a close. What I do tomorrow is yet to be decided. There is excitement around that. There is fear too.

This process has meant everything to me. I can hold onto it if I need to. I can also choose to let it go, and in so doing, open myself to discovering whatever the next thing is. I think it’s possible that life, well-lived, is only ever beginning. I think that might be where the magic is. And, there is a part of me who hates the chance that might be true. I like comfort, familiarity, security, and safety. I also push myself always to risk, and I crave freedom. I want a life full of magic. I don’t know yet how much of both I can have. Finding out is just one small part of the work I have left to do.

I am not something that can be wrapped up neatly. I am a living, breathing mess of wonders. I am a human being who is always moving, always growing, always being reborn. Something ends and something begins. Something is always beginning.

I didn’t know what would happen when I started this a year ago. I don’t know what happens now. I will wake up tomorrow and I will live my day. Whether I end up writing at the end of it will be decided when it’s decided. What comes next will come as and when it does.

This is life as I choose to live it. Where grief and joy co-mingle. Where love and fear fill the same breath. Where risk and safety can be balanced. Where doubt is a part of faith, and heartbreak a part of healing. Where I get to be all of me, and keep all of me. This is the life I choose. It is the only one I want to live.

Truth #364: I am grateful to be who I am

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Almost 8 years ago, I stood in my parents’ driveway, staring up into the night sky and I thought, “Depression is something I will never be grateful for.” It felt too destructive and too corrosive–too much like a thief–to be something I would ever appreciate. Depression is awful. It is awful for what it did to me, and more, for what I did to myself in the midst of it. It was killing me. I don’t know a more painful experience than wishing day after day, for years on end, that I did not exist.

Tonight, standing out on my back patio, staring up at the stars, I realized just how grateful I am. I am grateful for every step of my journey that has lead me here. I would do it all again just for this very moment of knowing myself to be complete. I wouldn’t trade who I am today for anything, and I wouldn’t be who I am had my life been any different.

I am deeply and profoundly grateful. I am grateful to the part of me who never believed the lies, and who kept me seeking the truth even when I had no idea that part of me existed. I am grateful to the parts of me that kept me alive. I am grateful for the beauty of grace that has touched my life and my heart on more than one occasion. I am grateful for all I have reclaimed, and all that was never lost. I am grateful to the dear people who stayed and loved me when I had no means of loving myself. I am grateful to the part of me that trusted myself, even as I claimed to not trust myself. I am grateful for a spirit that believed passionately that life is and can be more than what I knew of it.

I am grateful to be who I am. I am grateful for who I was born as, who I lived every day of my life as, and who I now know myself to be.

What you see here is a small and recent part of a journey I have been on for years. I have suffered a lot in it. I am awed by where it has lead me. The enormity of what I have done is too huge for me to fully contemplate. It is breathtaking. I know myself as whole in a way I was never convinced was possible for me. I don’t know what kept me hoping all this time. I don’t know why I stayed. I am enormously grateful that I did.

I would not change a day of my life. It was worth living. I can see now how beautiful it is, and always was. I can see me in it, and love what I see. In my darkest times. In my most shameful moments. In the self-loathing and stagnation. I can see me in all of it, and love what I see. This is worth everything to me.

I would do it all again. I would live every day the same. Just to have this moment.

Truth #363: I am running out of the ground that I know

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I feel anxious and a little out of sorts, like I’ve been tumbling and haven’t quite yet landed.

I spent a good part of my day looking into my future, and loving what I saw as possible there. I am excited for the life I am in the process of creating. There are so many things I want for myself now that I believe I can have them. I am excited for the future, and eager for my present to catch up to it.

Partly, this is because I am not entirely happy where I am. As I was driving home tonight I thought, “Six months. In six months I want to be doing something else.” Partly, it is because I am uncovering so much joy and hope, it is changing what I believe to be possible for me and for my life. I honestly think the possibilities might be limitless. I honestly think it might be possible for me to have absolutely everything that I want. And, it scares me just how much I want.

There is a part of me that wants to pull me back and rein me in. There is a part of me saying, “Stay grounded in the here and now. Come back down to earth.” It might be the same part of me wanting to apply control measures to the experiences I am now having. It might be the part of me that most needs to feel in control, regardless of whether or not I actually am in control.

I am running out of the ground that I know. I am running out of familiar territory. I am standing at the edge of new land, and while I want very much to run forward and explore, there is a part of me that is scared of stepping out into a vast unknown.

I am more scared of not stepping out.

The truth is, there is a lot I cannot know. And, there are things I know very well. I know how to track where I am, how to find out what I need, and how to provide for myself. I know how to sit with and how to take care of me. I know how to ask for help and how to communicate well. I know plenty about how to keep myself safe even in the midst of the wild unknown. I can trust myself to be okay, and to navigate anything I come across. I can. I have proven myself to be trustworthy. I know this, and still I’m scared.

I want the life I am dreaming of. I want it more than I want to stay with the old, the comfortable, and the familiar. Which truthfully, wasn’t all that comfortable anyway. If it had been, I don’t think I would have thought so much about death and dreamed for so long about non-existence. But that is not the story I tell myself on the edge of the wilds. I tell myself to go back to what I knew, and I tell myself I was comfortable there. I lie.

Thankfully, the fear is a small part of what I am experiencing. The excitement is so much bigger. The hope is so much more radiant.

There are things I will need to let go of as I step over this new edge. There is much I get to hold onto. Like, me and all the things I value. Courage being very near the top of that list.

Truth #362: I can be Real

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I returned to my house today. I have been fighting sadness since before I walked through the door. I am fighting with it still. As I sat down to write, I was aware of my heart beating faster. There are feelings inside me that I don’t want to have here, and yet, they are with me.

I had the most beautiful trip imaginable. Coming back is hard. I wanted today to hold onto the immense joy and wonder I experienced the past 11 days. I was afraid of the sadness I could feel rolling its way around my body. I was afraid of the meaning behind it.

I am coming back into a life in which I am not entirely happy. I am very happy in parts of it. In others, it has become even more clear to me how unhappy I am. I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish my stomach wasn’t filled with dread to wake up and face my day tomorrow. I want more than anything to have a life that I enjoy stepping away from and feel good stepping back into. That is not entirely the case right now. I am aware that my circumstances are temporary. I know that while I have to wake up and face my day tomorrow, change will come. It will take some work and effort on my part, but I am not afraid of that. I am not even afraid that it won’t happen. I believe with every fiber of my being that my life will continue to get better and that I will continue to expand my experience of joy in it. I just don’t know when or how it will happen. And for now, I am here.

I think my sadness scares me because of what it used to mean and how pervasive it used to become. I am experiencing it differently today, but it scares me anyway. I am sad, yes, but I am not depressed. I am unhappy about some aspects of my life, but I am not miserable. I am not even unhappy. I am aware of all of this as I sit here writing. I am aware of the choice I have in how I walk into my day tomorrow.

I started to feel myself shut down in the early part of the afternoon. It was as though my body was bracing for impact. I was hardening. I was holding my breath. I was preparing to survive.

I realize now that I can carry my softness with me into my day. I can carry my joy. I can wear a smile and walk openly. I can be who I am in the life I am living right now, and I can feel good about it.

When I was a child I remember thinking that 25 would be a good age to die. This may sound strange, but I was so overwhelmed by the idea of living much beyond that because it seemed too big and too scary to contemplate when I felt so incapable. I was reminded of this tonight as I sat beneath the stars. I am not incapable now. I can do this. I can do anything, and I can do it well. Which to me, just means that I can do it as me. I can walk with grace and good humor. I can be sad, scared, or anxious. I can even feel overwhelmed and shut down. Most importantly, I can be Real. I can be true. I can be me.

These truths and the process I have been in the past year has transformed me, and it is transforming the life I lead. How I live is different today. How I am is different too. Not so much in terms of how I feel or think, but in the choices I make in holding space for all of it. I have given myself a truly remarkable gift. I have given myself back to me, with love.

Truth #361: I have become a happy person

I had the best possible trip. Each part of it was perfect. I drove home today aware of feeling fuller, more complete, and more at peace than I have in a very long time. This was partly due to what happened while I was away. It was partly due to what I had waiting for me at home.

I don’t want to escape my life anymore. This is a very different experience from the one I had a year ago. I didn’t drive home sobbing. I didn’t drive home feeling like I was suffocating more and more with every mile I got closer to home. I felt sad that my vacation was ending. I felt excited about the days, weeks, and months I have ahead of me back home.

I don’t know what my life is becoming. I have a sense that whatever it is, will be great. It already is. Not every aspect of it, but enough of it. More than enough of it.

The truth is, I have become a happy person. This is a bit hard to get used to, but I’m willing. It’s happening regardless.

Truth #360: I am so much more than I think I am in any given moment

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[For the sake of full disclosure, this post was handwritten on a night when I lacked access to cell or internet service. I am transcribing it exactly as it was originally written. Somewhat painfully, I did no editing.]

I am so much more than I think I am in any given moment. I am rarely aware of how perfectly complete I am, and yet I am always perfectly complete. Head laid back, feet up on a wall, passing gas, laughing and heart full, I got to touch into this tonight with one of my dearest friends who said to me at one point that I am really good at being. It moved me to tears. That he said it, that he sees it, and that I am.

I have wanted and wished for so long to be okay just being me. Now I am recognizably good at it. On the tail end of his words I saw all the many ways in which they are true, and it filled me with warmth. I fell a little more in love with myself in that moment, as I saw myself more clearly.

I feel sweet, tender, and full. I am aware of how much I have to offer, with all the different parts of me, of how much and how differently I can give. It fills my heart with joy. To see me. To love me. To share me.

Truth #359: I don’t actually need this process anymore

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[For the sake of full disclosure, this post was handwritten on a night when I lacked access to cell or internet service. I am transcribing it exactly as it was originally written. Somewhat painfully, I did no editing.]

I am sick and sleepy, a combination that is making me very physically uncomfortable right now and creating some resentment for the blank page I’ve been staring at the past 20 minutes.

I am coming near the end of these truths. I think this gives me even more pause than sometimes happens. I want now more than ever to be profound and eloquent. I want to write truths like poetry. Wise poetry, like Rumi. I have this desire to go out strong. As if, these last several truths will determine the worth of my year.

The truth is, I don’t actually need this process anymore. That is how well it has worked. That is the measure of its profundity. The act of writing these truths has changed me. These truths have changed almost everything about my relationship to me and to life. Quite simply, I want to live. That, to me, is everything. So I don’t really think it matters what I write in these last truths. The work of them has been done. They have brought me to the place where I don’t need them anymore. They have brought me to a place where when given the choice, I would rather enjoy my life than have think or write about my life. There is much to enjoy now. Like the coming moment. When I put down this pen, blow out the kerosene lamp, and lay my fuzzy head down to sleep. It’s a small thing that I will relish because I can.

Truth #358: Any day that involves skinny dipping and nude sunbathing in the middle of a national forest is a good day

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[For the sake of full disclosure, this post was handwritten on a night when I lacked access to cell or internet service. I am transcribing it exactly as it was originally written. Somewhat painfully, I did no editing.]

Any day that involves skinny dipping and nude sunbathing in the middle of a national forest is a good day. Today was a good day. It was full of relaxed and quiet moments. I was naked under the sun and in the cold water of a creek for parts of it. I felt close to God, close to the earth, close to the friend beside me, and close to me.

Yet there was some nugget of something that I carried with me through all my still, relaxed and joyful moments that was akin to worry, nervousness, or anxiety. I felt it as a weight in my belly. I felt it as a tightness banded across my chest. I experienced it as a tether preventing me from fully sinking in. I tried to ignore it. I tried to wash it off of me. I tried stepping into it. Basically, all day long, I tried getting rid of it, without even knowing what it was other than a tiny seed of discomfort in the background of my awareness.

I have ideas in my head of how things are supposed to be, and then I set out organizing myself and those ideas rather than just seeing what greets me in any given moment of any given day. (Which suddenly seems like such an easier and less exhausting way to live.) As much as I say I yearn for freedom, I think I am deathly afraid of it too. I try to control my experience because it seems so much safer that way. I think the cost though is that I don’t get to have much in the way of real, authentic experience when I am so caught up in control everything, down to my own reactions to the experience.

I wanted to feel only good things today. I wanted ultimately to experience bliss. I was skinny dipping and nude sunbathing in a national forest, after all. The truth is, I had lots of moments of good, even exquisite feelings. I had moments of bliss. All of which came and passed, like the water of the creek swirling around me. My experience is transient in a way I am still struggling to accept. It is moments that come and go. It is feelings that rise and fall and rise again. It is not particularly steady. It is certainly not permanent. I know it isn’t. I am glad it isn’t. And, I wish it was.

Truth #357: I know very little

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[For the sake of full disclosure, this post was handwritten on a night when I lacked access to cell or internet service. I am transcribing it exactly as it was originally written. Somewhat painfully, I did no editing.]

The amount that I know is tiny compared to the amount that I don’t know. I don’t generally like admitting that I don’t know. It makes me so uncomfortable that I can tend to avoid accepting I don’t know by avoiding it, trying to control it, trying to convince others or myself that I do know.

Right now, I am writing all of this because I’m scared by what I don’t know and am actively trying to defend my fragile positioning.

*Deep exhale.*

The truth is, I know very little. I have precious few answers and I don’t know how certain I can say even those few are.

I got scared tonight by something I heard. I got scared by something that is other than what I practice (and by the part of my mind saying maybe I should be practicing it, and helpfully listing for me all the reasons I’m likeliest to not be practicing it: laziness, self-centeredness, cowardice…etc.)

I know very little. I ┬áthink this is okay. I can come back to what I do know which is that my process is right now, where my faith lies right now, and what I need right now. I can come back to my body, mind, and heart and trust what I find here. I don’t actually have to know. Maybe I simply need to choose to believe. If in nothing else, than at least in me.

Truth #356: Dreams come true

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Dreams come true.

I experienced a long held dream of mine come true today. I watched it as it was happening, and I smiled in the meeting of it. I had an absolutely perfect day, and I shared it with someone. We co-created it in the places where we came together in all the many, varied moments of the day we spent side-by-side.

I have a dream for my life now. I realized this today too. I have been realizing it for the past few months. It has been coming into sharper focus, and it crystallized this weekend as I sat with strangers perched atop a cliff in Big Sur.

I don’t know what will happen, but I know now very clearly what I want to happen, and that gives me a place to move toward. I know what my next right steps are, and I am profoundly grateful for that. More importantly though, I know now that it is possible for my dream to come true. I can move forward with hope, trusting myself and believing in what I want. The depth of gratitude I have for this is beyond me to put words to. It feels like a precious gift. It feels like the very heart of the best part of life. And I am in it now.

Life has never felt so good.

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