last year

Instead of the 40 questions meme I did last year, I am doing another: post the first sentence for the first post of each month for 2008 (skipping tumblelog posts):

  • 2007, neatly bisected into “without him” and “with him”, allowed me the clearest of Before and After photos. [”this is the new year”]
  • Words written and rewritten in order to transmit the intangibility of learning an intangible subject fade as they are saved. [”intersection”]
  • Pennies. [”pennies”]
  • The last thing I want to write about is the first thing on my mind these days. [”symptomatic”]
  • What I will/won’t miss about my flat: [”missing”]
  • As I was about to post to my various “status dumps” today, I noticed that I have become mired in my own narrow-minded view of what this website should contain. [”on length and depth”]
  • My social software habits have become dreadful. [”one month of gratitude”]
  • It is gray inside the building today, which reminds me of December, which in turn reminds me of last December and my last job. [”nostalgic”]
  • Since I haven’t been around much lately, I’ll point you in the direction of two places you can find me more often: [”elsewhere”]
  • There is no better phrase for it: I am burned out. [”burnout”]
  • If I disappear for a few weeks, don’t worry: I am participating in National Novel-Writing Month, a/k/a NaNoWriMo. [”brute force”]
  • Holidailies is a community writing project which begins this Friday. [”guesswork”]
Well, that didn’t come anywhere close to summing up my 2008.  It was a brutal year, full of tumult and chaos and clarity. So many of us went through so much. In 2008, I got a new job, took control of my myriad health problems with a gluten-free diet, moved in with my beloved, helped my mom recuperate from major surgery, went to Scotland for the first time, got engaged, and voted for a president I truly respect and admire – who won! These significant external changes spurred significant internal ones. I let go of things I expected always to hang onto, and in the process, lost a lot of fear about the future and my place in it.

Most importantly, I let go of a way I was perceiving myself that no longer fit. In fact, I don’t think it ever fit.  With that false perception gone, I started to see myself as I really am, and started to believe the good things that people say to and about me. I still cringe a little as I write this, but I believe that I am a good person who loves other people and treats them well. With that belief in place, good things are sure to follow.

I wish for good things for all of us in 2009. To this end, I would like to share this Buddhist prayer from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel:

May the heavy become light, May what’s ill become well, May what’s violent become peace, May rage be settled, May the idea of enemy be banished, May actions be filled with sincere purpose, May wellness be illuminated, May gifts be recognized, May all that we know to be love, pour out and overflow wherever it is needed.
[ETA: I forgot to mention my gluten-free diet as one of my major external changes. I added it above.]

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.