Today, on Twitter, someone asked for a word that describes 2009. I chose ‘transforming’. Although I could say the same about 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and beyond — and hopefully will say the same about 2010 — it’s nevertheless true for 2009.
We should constantly seek to change and grow; To become better than we were and be renewed as our minds are stretched. Whether experiences are good or bad, there is always wisdom to be gained. And, if it is allowed, these experiences should always be used to aid in our transformations.
A Few Personal Transformations in 2009
Personally, 2009 was a time to become more aware of myself, my beliefs, my motivations and, most of all, my ego. Learning to recognize these things have actually brought me closer to my Creator (a relationship, which, btw, brings about constant renewal in and of itself).
I struggled a lot with some of the things that I discovered about myself — things that I didn’t ever think were a part of my makeup. But in going through a miserable period at the beginning of 2009, I discovered that my own insecurities were the cause as they had actually taken root in my psyche and were becoming a driving force in my thought life and in my attitudes.
It Started With Acceptance
So, I turned inward and asked my Father to show me what I needed to deal with in order to be who I was created to be versus who I thought I was or even who I, personally, wanted to be. One of the first lessons that I learned was to accept these uncomfortable truths about myself and just hang out with them for a while. I did and it wasn’t fun. But in doing so, I learned to accept myself as I am (not just my strengths, but also my weaknesses WITHOUT denying their existence or trying to change them). I also learned to have compassion for my own shortcomings.
An Authentic Approach
In 2009, I also began to communicate a little more authentically. I’m still not 100% there, as I’m often still quite hesitant about lowering my walls and discussing my true feelings, but being in the process has been quite eye-opening. I’m learning to be more honest about my feelings and to accept the honesty of others. I’m learning to speak my mind with peace, even when other’s disagree.
And I’m even learning to hold my peace, as being authentic doesn’t mean that my ego deserves to get on the mic. Of course, when things are important to me or when I can speak for the benefit of others, I don’t intend to hold back. But I noticed about myself that I had a tendency to be a ‘know it all’, which was quite unbecoming and even offputting. For some, particularly in some of the books I’ve read on the subject, being authentic means saying what you mean and meaning what you say while leaving whatever’s left for the listener to cope with…as long as it’s true. However, I much prefer the Buddha’s approach:
“Before you speak, ask yourself: ‘Is what I’m about to say kind? True? Necessary?'”
While I don’t ordinarily struggle with the kind and true parts, some things just don’t need to be said…they just aren’t necessary. And, in filtering myself in this way, I’ve found that my ego is far less audible. In actually taking the Buddha’s advice, I’ve discovered that I can speak even more authentically when my ego is closely monitored. It frees me to speak only out of kindness, truth and necessity, and NOT out of a need to be right, have my opinions heard (or validated), or to convince anyone of anything they don’t want to be convinced of.
In 2009, I also released the notion that I had to attach a label to my beliefs. After nearly 20 years as a Christian, I’m no longer married to that label. I’m more concerned with truth and loving others than anything else. While I don’t mind being called a Christian, it’s not something you’re likely to hear me apply to myself. For one, my actions should speak louder than anything else and if my integrity doesn’t give light to my beliefs, a word that creates a notion in someone else’s mind of who I am really isn’t worth much. And you’ll also notice that I quote Buddha as easily as I quote Yahushua (oh, and BTW, I call Him Yahushua, though most Christians call Him Jesus).
What I’m trying to say is that my faith is influenced by a lot of very wise teachings and is not easy to define in a word. On top of this, some Christians will say that I’m not a ‘real Christian’ if I read the Tao Te Ching or if I freely and lovingly fratenize with people of other faiths. So, as to not feel like I’m duping anyone, my transformation also includes the shedding of a religious label in favor of just being who I am and believing what I do. Period.
In a Nutshell
These tiny transformations have made me a lot more aware of my relationships while, at the same time, making me even more compassionate towards others and myself. They have also naturally transformed me without a whole lot of conscious effort. Of course, there has been some effort on my part, but the openness that this has created within me is not something that I was capable of doing on my own.
As I said at the beginning of this post, transforming is nothing new for me…it’s been a long process, so far, and one that I expect to continue. But for a single-worded description, I think that about sums it up.
So, what about you? In a word, how would you describe 2009?