I can honestly say that among a number of lessons I’ve learned during my first year of the fabulous forties, two in particular stand out. I’ve learned to stop fighting…in all areas of my life. Equally important, I’ve learned that forgiveness gives you the freedom to let peace dwell in your heart. Forgiveness of yourself and of others…
Giving up the fight....
When my family first moved to Atlanta it was a challenge to say the least. I had never lived anywhere other than New Jersey. My roots, my family, my friends all originated in New Jersey. I married in Jersey and started my family there too. I created a safe cocoon where all of my happiness dwelled. When we decided to embark on the adventure south, I was filled with the excitement that something new brings, but at the same time I was allowing my family to break out of the safety and security that our cocoon has always provided. As we all turned into butterflies and began to fly…we began flying in different directions. At times, I found myself terrified, lonely, and fighting to get back to where I felt safe and secure. But once you break free, there is no turning back to what was, instead you have to begin to define what is to be. During this process I’ve often felt that I was searching for something and fighting anything that got in the way of “my happy little home”. For those of you who have followed my writing over the last year, or who have been intimately a part of the journey, you have witnessed the metamorphosis that has happened not only within me spiritually, but also in my marriage, my friendships, and my family. Over the last year, I stopped searching and more importantly I stopped fighting. I began to trust in the foundation of trust and friendship that has always been there. I stopped fighting to keep things the way they were, but to embrace things and people as they are…including me. At times, I wondered why I felt like some of the people in our “Atlanta Friendship Circle” just didn’t get me. In my fight to “keep it all intact”, I sometimes resisted new friendships, and to some came across as stuck up, judgmental, and appearing to be “above” it all. What I realized recently is that (not consciously) I may have contributed to that perception of me. I have learned that no “one” is above it all and “life happens” to all of us. Instead of internally or externally passing judgment or casting my opinion on anyone or situation, I now try to figure out how I can be of service to make a situation better. Even if that means just keeping my mouth shut. Giving a hug, sending a text message or email, or simply smiling at someone going through a rough patch can make the difference in someone getting through a tough day. It has helped me, so I know the power of a kind gesture. What has transformed over this last year of “working through some stuff” is a much lighter, happier, and peaceful Alicia. In fact, I think the “lighter” side of Alicia is surprising to some who have experienced a more intense, serious side of me all the time. Don’t get me wrong…some things never change, and I will always be intense, but I’ve also learned to lighten up “A Lot”…and I am enjoying my spirituality, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, and my life in general so much more.
A major challenge this year was going through a really tough patch with two very good friends. One of those friendships is really more like a family member, and our friendship had gotten lost in the voyage of “life” and all of the issues that can compound a situation. In the end, again the foundation that was there from the beginning was able to withstand all of our own insecurities, inadequacies, and pridefullness. Though both of us could have handled a number of situations better, we did the best we could in the place that we were. We started this New Year with a conscious decision to move past the pain, disappointment, and hurt and move on to a new existence where the familiarity of what was is present, but also a new commitment to be better than we were is at the forefront. The second friendship that was tested was more of a new friendship, but yet the sting was equally tough to endure. What I learned in both situations is that authentic communication is important to maintaining a “real and healthy” relationship. When feelings are suppressed, resentment can easily creep in and cloud your judgment, which only leads to an ugly interaction between people that ultimately really care about each other. What was key in both of these situations is the power of forgiveness. It does wonders for your soul. Forgiveness first to yourself for whatever your part was, and forgiveness to others because we all are human and we all make mistakes.
So, to sum it all up, I am truly feeling forty and fabulous these days. I’ve accomplished so much this year including winning a writing contest and running two 5k races.
To all those whose spirit is not at peace, and you know there is a better place for you, I leave you with these words…”the work is hard, heartbreaking at times, and completely terrifying, but I am here to testify (though I have far to go) that working through your “stuff” is so worth it.
I would love to hear about others who have “a story” to share…What have you had to work through over the last year(s) that has made you who you are today???? Please follow and share!
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