As I sit at my desk looking out my window at the wind buffeting the trees for another day, I am moved to reflect on the year that was 2016 – probably the toughest year of my life for a number of reasons, and yet is it reasonable to determine it is my Annus Horribilus ?
In numerology, 2016 was a 9 year, the last year within a nine year cycle that reflects numerology. As the final year of the 9 year cycle, it is regarded as a year of completion and endings. It is the year that we are perhaps forced to review the baggage we carry around with us, deciding if we really do want to carry the full load into another nine year cycle. It is the year that is ideal for bringing things to a completion, and tidying up loose ends that keep us stuck to something in the past. It is also a year where we might be given one or more wake up calls about cleaning up our act a bit, in preparation for the start of a new nine year cycle.
I guess I reflect on 2016 through that filter to some degree – it is the year of endings… and I experienced a mammoth ending in my life when my darling suddenly and unexpectedly departed this earthly plane on a very significant date – 9th of the 9th 2016 – which in numerology comes out as 999… the ending of all endings… and it was for him, and the life we shared together.
I have long believed that we have the full range of life experiences as opportunities to learn more about ourselves and how we can best live this thing called life. I guess this belief is supported by another belief I have that we are Spiritual Beings having a physical experience – it is only in a physical form that our beings can grow and expand through the range of experiences we encounter. Dovetailing into that is the concept that each time I have an experience that I grow and expand from, I grow and expand the whole of humanity in that.
As so, here on Saturday 31st December, 2016 I am forming a summary of what 2016 has meant for me, and as I sift through, I am pocketing the gems of experience that are worth taking into 2017 with me. There will be a lot left in a neat pile on the side of the road too… 2016 has been very taxing in so many ways, and I just do not have the available strength to keep carrying stuff that is, in reality, not of value to me. There is a lot of emotional stuff that has well passed its use by date, and other ancient stuff that is for the toss, and also there will be a physical sorting out as I merge two lives into one. Working out my new life is still unfolding and will be a work in progress for some time to come, and as I approach what is a “new year” on the calendar, there is a sense of overwhelment and trepidation.
Part of this is because 2016 culminated an understanding that I had been developing since late 2011 – there have been a series of events in my life since that time that have been preparing me for this new nine year cycle that begins tomorrow – and I have some knowing of what the early part of the cycle will be about for me. Since late 2011 I have experienced a lot of loss – the loss of the vitality of my Dad with his diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease, the loss of my first grandchild, the loss of a number of friendships that I thought would be lifelong, the loss of financial security, the loss of worth that comes with being dependent on welfare, the loss of my faith in humanity, the loss of my faith in my beliefs, the loss of the man I love, the loss of a shared future, with all our hopes and dreams… so much loss…
As I dealt with these losses in the early part, there was a growing sense of feeling alone and isolated in my grief. As those close friends dropped by the wayside, the sadness of feeling alone was overwhelming and fed into my ever decreasing sense of self worth. I was taking all of these losses personally. I was hooking into believing that life was so unfair, and I didn’t deserve to be having these experiences. I equated such losses with being in some way a bad person, either in this life, or lives past.
By the beginning of 2016 I was feeling completely isolated and alone in the majority of aspects of my life. There were very few people I felt I could speak to about the things that were of interest to me, particularly the global goings on – both political and economic. More and more it seemed like I was speaking a different language, and I was losing my capacity to be able to communicate in the language other people around me were speaking. I don’t watch reality TV shows, or watch TV much at all – which tends to take a whole range of conversational subjects off the agenda. All through this there was the constant presence in my life of my darling, always there to listen – not always agreeing however always giving me the sense that I was being heard.
As 2016 progressed, I started to think more and more about this concept of “alone” and whether it was feasible to believe that we could be anything else but alone. If one is being authentic, and in that honouring all within one that is unique and individual, was it actually realistic to expect that one could be anything else but alone? As I posed and explored this question, both within my own thinking and in discussions with my darling, I started to draw some conclusions.
I initially looked at the word “alone” – I like looking at the origins of words, and their original meanings. Very often I can get some good insights by starting at this point. It was no surprise that the original of the word was all + one – that is all one. I started to realise that this was yet another universal dichotomy. We are, in fact, all one. We are all energy, and in that, how do I determine where my energy field stops and your energy field starts – we are all of Source and connected to Source. I do believe in the “Oneness of all things” and in that context it is impossible for us to be alone.
And yet, the contradiction in this comes from believing in the individuality and uniqueness of each and every one of us. No two people, even identical twins, are born the same, or operate with the exact same frame work of genetics, natural gifts, personality, experience, perspective etc. So in the fact that we are “all one”, we are also very much “alone”.
There is not one other person on this earth who sees things as I do, hears things as I do, feels things as I do, tastes things as I do, smells things as I do, or operates with their sixth sense as I do. I am completely individual and unique – so therefore, completely alone in my engagements with the world and those in it, whilst all the time being part of the whole of humanity.
I started to see that to expect to not to feel alone was setting myself up to fail. If I continued to expect that there were people around me who were going to totally “get” me, I was going to be continuously disappointed. It is one thing to see a concept and have some understanding of it, and another thing to fully integrate into one’s daily life – overriding years of cultural conditioning that the worst thing in life was to be alone, and if one was alone, it was because one’s nature was flawed in some way.
For some months mid year I grappled with this new concept I had uncovered for myself – still feeling keenly the isolation from people and lack of genuine connection with others. I endeavoured to use mindfulness to reduce my expectations that other people were “there” for me, and gradually accepted this phase of my journey was about releasing unfounded and unreasonable expectations I held of others in relation to myself, thus reducing the opportunities for disappointment. Again, my darling was there with ready ears and open heart and mind to listen to my ramblings and frustrations while I processed how this new concept could become fully accepted and integrated into my daily life.
Bizarrely, in the midst of this, he suddenly left and I was seriously alone for real. As part of the grief, and in looking for some respite from the agony, I foolishly reverted to old patterns and began to assume that people would be “there” for me. Some genuinely tried, however, as my earlier explorations had already revealed, this was setting everyone up to fail. No one can understand my loss and how it affects me in the day to day, no one knows what it is like to walk in my shoes, no one “gets” what it like for me to have one’s life companion taken away in the space of 20 minutes. In all of this I have also made commitments to others, which I wish to honour, because that is how I roll… way back at the end of 2011, I made a commitment to myself and my Dad that I would support him and Mum as best I could as he tackled his journey to death with Motor Neurone Disease – his MND didn’t miraculously become cured because my husband suddenly died. My darling understood and supported this commitment, and I always imagined he would be my rock when my Dad finally passed and I was confronted with the grief of his death. My commitment to my Dad hasn’t wavered, however to continue to uphold it in the midst of my own loss has been difficult to say the least. Again, there has not been anyone forthcoming who truly “gets” this… another reminder of how I am truly alone in my living of my life.
And so, as 2016 winds down, and I look at the learnings, of both this year, and the previous nine year cycle, I am counting my blessings and giving thanks for the year that was. As I approach 2017 and the beginning of a new nine year cycle, I have the clear idea that this cycle is about me becoming fully ok with the concept of there being no other reality other than that of being alone if I wish to continue to live my life authentically in my own uniqueness and individuality.
Part of this is reinforcing my commitment to The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz – particularly the two about not making assumptions and not taking things personally. I had a boss who used to always say “Why can’t people be the people we want them to be?” – that is one question I will no longer be asking myself.
People are who they are – it is what it is, and to expect to be able to depend on others for my own well being is a thing of the past. My next nine year cycle, assuming I have a nine year cycle available to me, will definitely be about learning to be completely self sufficient, taking full responsibility for all that I am – my thoughts, my feelings and my experiences – and leaving others to do the same… or not…
I am learning to understand and accept the although we are all one, it is ridiculous for me to assume to be anything else other than alone – whether I am partnered or not. Maybe in this understanding and acceptance as I move forward without expectations of others, there will be less fear within myself and others that there will be disappointment and resultant hurt.
May 2017 bring you the opportunities and experiences necessary to facilitate and support you in becoming fully responsible in demonstrating the grandest version of the highest vision you hold for yourself, and less about you living your life depending on, and having expectations of others.