Old Ways

‘Old ways will not open new doors.’

I am ready to admit it… 2015 has sucked. I can remember the dull ache I had in my gut as the first few weeks of the year revealed themselves…. I was like a driver who was cranking my steering wheel hard to the right, only to have it spin uselessly around in my hands, while the vehicle of my life continued to veer left. This was a dismal way to start the year…especially since I am such a believer that the way that we begin an experience sets the energy for the whole of the experience.

Well, all year long the wrestling with that steering wheel continued, and no matter how much I cranked it one way or the other, life continued to take me wherever it damn well pleased. It has not been a fun ride- in fact some of the details are down right ugly and border on the unbelievable- but despite this- IT HAS ALL BEEN FIGUROUTABLE… (Barely, but figuroutable none the less.)

Clinging to the edge of ‘Barely Figuroutable’ (BF) is not a new gig for me, and it was not too long ago that it dawned on me- that perhaps my strong aptitude for enduring life’s BF moments, was no longer serving me. Maybe it was time to change things up?

In truth, I’ve been wearing a jersey for team BF for a long time now- it is not something that just began in 2015- (although this year has been BF epic.) I slipped that jersey on way back when I first noticed the strong correlation between those who have a permanent residency card on ‘Easy Street’ and lack of growth and insight. To this end, ‘Easy’ has never really appealed to me – while things that are ‘Deep and Meaningful’ get me every time. I have always considered life here on planet earth as nothing more than a school ground and even though there have been plenty of times when I have questioned the curriculum, in general – when life hands me a hard lesson plan, rather than argue for re-assignment, I tend instead to put my head down and do the work. Well, my head has been down a lot this year….

While sitting through my older children’s graduation on December 5th, it dawned on me that maybe it was time for me to ask the Universe for my own cap and gown of sorts. What if all of the recent life lessons I have been working on are just extra credit, and in reality I have more than enough credits to graduate with my MBF? (Master’s in Barely Figuroutable) What if I just need to make the walk – like my own children were doing?

With this thought in mind I had a heart to heart with the Universe.

Me: (rather sheepishly at first…) “ Ahem, excuse me. Hi…It’s me Annette. I, uh, I think maybe, er, I…. I think maybe I’m ready to graduate from the MBF program. I’ve spent quite a bit of time this year in the ‘Learning the Hard Way’ classroom, and I think maybe that I’ve got it down … possibly I could move on to something a little lighter, or at least something hard in an easier way? ‘

The Universe: (After what seemed like forever…) ‘Well, looking through your paperwork, it looks like you do have more than enough ‘Learning the Hard Way ‘ credits for your degree…. And you have even successfully defended your thesis.’

(My thesis???? WTH!!! Did I know I had signed up for a thesis?)

Me: (Meekly) ‘Um, what exactly did I do my thesis work on?’ 

The Universe: ‘You proved your own deepest belief: That we can only find the light by traveling through the dark….’

Well crap, I couldn’t argue with that. If I had a Master’s thesis topic that I have been working on in this lifetime, the Universe had just summed it up for me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do believe there is beauty to be found in the broken places that life delivers to all of us…. And I have been pretty consistent in my 48 years of life at finding beauty in the places that life has made dark. It’s been a good thesis- and not one I regret, but I think I am ready to finish this old study up, and begin a new way of being- one that will enhance my ability to walk down Easy Street on a frequent basis, but still allow me to always return home to a warm, dimly lit place that requires me to cultivate my own inner light.

I hear Easy Street has lots of bright street lamps…and that it’s an easy place to lose yourself. I guess all of that artificial light can make you very, very, sleepy to truth. Spending time on Easy Street may be a risk, but its one I feel confident in taking. I don’t need to live there… but it shouldn’t be a place I am afraid to visit. I don’t think I walked down it a single time in 2015- and that is just not going to work anymore.

So my symbolic letter of intent went out, and based on the last week, I am pretty sure I have been accepted into a new degree program. How do I know? Well, a few things that have been stubbornly unmoving all year long suddenly burst forth into positive activity (And none were small things that I could credit to my own shift toward ‘positive thinking’: one involved an elusive real estate transaction that arrived out of the blue, another was a long awaited insurance settlement, and the third was a warranty that was finally upheld on a large scale residential item after months of negotiation.

I have to say, it has been pretty cool to see some of the stuck places begin to move within days of my letter of intent – but to be sure- there are other tangles that have not loosened at all. But that being said, who am I to judge which of these twisted masses might be an unruly knot, and which may instead be a bow – sitting atop the best graduation gift ever?

In these last few weeks of 2015, I am wearing my symbolic cap and gown proudly – and on December 31st, just before midnight, I plan to shake the Universe’s hand, grab my diploma, and move my tassel to the left- symbolizing that I have just moved from one stage of my life to another.

Any other fellow grads out there wanting to cross the stage with me? Get that letter of intent written- and when the Universe calls your name on December 31st, step up and get your scroll! … I’ll throw my cap in the air, if you will? 😉