The Year of Muck-Raking

I’m beginning to wonder if this year is the year of raking out the muck.

So far this year, I’ve found myself repeatedly having to deal with fear, anxiety, sometimes sheer panic, trying to trace them back to their origins.  All will be well for a while, and then, all of a sudden, I get slammed by this wave of…Well, muck, as I said.

I’ve frequently felt directionless, even though I always do find my way back to my North Stars.  I forget where and what they are, and then I remember, again and again.

I’ve had so many changes of timelines and plans that, at this point, I’m pretty much giving them up and will try again next year.

Calamity has made its entrance and exit a few times.   We lost one of my uncles to a sudden, massive stroke in June.  His son had a severe heart attack in July that required several surgeries, from which he had complications.  I ended up with two rounds of very expensive car repairs.  Then there has been a whole host of lower level chaos, in my day job and personal life.

On the surface, it looks like I’ve been standing entirely still this whole year, but underneath it’s different.   I not sure I can really put it into words, at least not with anything resembling accuracy, the shifting that has been going on internally.  It is this shifting, I think, that inevitably seems to dredge up the muck along with the rays of light.

Basically, life, circumstances, and my soul are not letting me to go back to sleep.  This year, they’re not letting me ignore the things I’ve needed to deal with for a long time, like old beliefs and past experiences and stories that go with them, for example, things I had locked away in a mental closet, just stuffing more in there until the door could no longer shut on it and the whole mess just came spilling out.  They’re not letting me run away from the discomfort, or any of the other emotions on the full spectrum.

I’ve been forced, for sanity’s sake (and sometimes I have been tip-toeing the edge, there), to become and try to stay mindful of it all, of when I’m acting from the past or present or some (usually fear-inducing) view of the possible future, of when some emotion or drama or problem is mine and when it’s someone else’s (I am an emotional sponge), of when an attitude is mine or one handed down by one of my fearful elders, of all the ways I have given my power over my own life away in misguided efforts to court favor or keep the peace, and of what I truly want and what I really love.   (Sometimes I’m better at this than others.)

I’ve been forced to confront the myriad of unhealthy habits I’ve had, many I’ve carried since childhood.  Chief among them is emotional eating, which I often wonder if I had a conscious choice in developing, since both my parents are compulsive eaters (though they are hesitant to admit it).  After spending the months in the middle of this year eating all my negative emotions, I found–surprise–my clothes didn’t fit.  Then my mother was diagnosed a week and a half ago with Type II Diabetes, which means both my parents have it.  Running scared from that family legacy, I finally pulled Geneen Roth’s Women, Food, and God off the shelf, where it had been since I ordered it back in the summer, patiently waiting.  I’m halfway through, and it’s been mind-blowing, and I anticipate that will continue.  I find myself highlighting lots, and nodding my head in recognition even more.   This, of course, also dredges things up and necessitates muck-raking…

BUT…At this point, eleven months into this muck-raking year, I finally feel like I have tools to deal with the muck, and like the muck-raking isn’t just a frightful chore, but a means of healing.   Every time I look straight at the muck and rake a bit more of it out, I feel better, lighter.   Now the question becomes, “Will I be able to remember that?”  I hope so.

Another good thing:  I know I’m not alone in this.   A lot of people have described this year as a rough ride, and have been confronted with similar circumstances.  As this year winds down–there’s only the rest of this month and December between us and 2011!–I hope to focus on the healing aspect of all this, and that is my hope for others as well.

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