Photo: Kurth Kiln, Gembrook, NYE 2016.
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2016 was heavy. On top of all the crazy, sad stuff that happened on a global scale, it was a tumultuous year personally. Loved ones got sick, things didn’t go to plan, I felt a deep and destabilising sense of disappointment. Just as I mustered some positivity, convinced myself that things were on the up, BOOM, like a bowling ball hitting a perfectly-organised set of pins, everything was thrown into disarray again.
Like so many, I was relieved to welcome in 2017 – determined to say ‘Smell you later, 2016!’, wave a big wad of proverbial burning sage over my life, and welcome in some new, positive juju.
And yet, if I’m honest, not much has changed. Things still feel a bit heavy. Things still aren’t going to plan. Big things, which I will perhaps discuss another time and little, annoying things. In just the past week alone, my beloved laptop died, our near-new dishwasher started making a weird noise, my car failed its roadworthy (meaning selling it is going to be a pain in the you-know-what), I got sick and the list goes on. All little, insignificant things that combine to make life stressful, annoying and arduous.
Up until this difficult period, I admit I’ve been blessed with a pretty easy run in life. I’ve learned that if I do my homework, work hard, be a good person, there’s nothing I can’t have or achieve. Thankfully, things have always just happened for me. To discover now at 31 years old – despite doing everything right, despite being as positive and persistent as possible, trying and trying again, trusting in the universe, <insert annoying, empty platitude of choice here!> – that things aren’t going my way, that sometimes you don’t get what you want, well… that just seems completely UNFAIR. Of course, we know theoretically life is unfair, but don’t really understand the gravity of this until life is unfair for, you guessed it… ourselves.
As a generally optimistic, enthusiastic Sagittarius, this woe-is-me stuff does not sit well with me. And thankfully, it hasn’t beaten me yet. The very fact that I am facing these challenges means one crucial thing – my heart is beating, my lungs are breathing, I AM ALIVE. And where there’s life, in the very least, there’s hope.
It begs the question though – is simply being alive enough? Can we have unconditional love for our life, no matter the circumstances or conditions? Claire Baker, who inspires me so much in the fields of creativity, feminism, self-love, sovereignty (in fact, all the things!), posed this question recently. It’s a concept also widely explored by Abraham Hicks, and I’m finding listening to this audio most mornings a lovely, revitalising way to start the day.
No doubt though, this is a difficult concept. To suggest we can have unconditional love for our life – no matter the hardship, illness, loss, trauma, even just the everyday annoying crap that regularly befalls us – perhaps seems a little naïve. And yet, I think we’ve all had those moments when things feel about as bad as they can be, and yet, and yet… we find ourselves somehow softening, opening, perhaps even smiling, through our tears. In these moments, it is possible to feel a curious case of rising gratitude, a spark of joy, a sense that actually all is well, despite the circumstances that are so beyond our control.
Danielle LaPorte captures this beautifully in, ‘The difference between happiness & joy. And why it helps to know.’
For now, I am feeling into this concept. I am accepting that life right now is unfair, but discovering – in an unexpected turn of events – that perhaps it doesn’t matter as much as I once thought. Perhaps it is less about the external conditions, and more about what is happening within me. Perhaps there is another path. A bigger picture. Perhaps all will be well regardless. In fact, perhaps all is well right now, even in the thick of it. After all, what choice do we have? Life IS unfair. We don’t always get what we want. And if we can’t approach it with unconditional love, with acceptance, with gratitude, we’re left with what? Conditional fear and misery. I know which I’d rather. Love always wins.