It began with a new job and I have been regularly surprised by what I encounter therein, both in wonderful and horrible ways. I try to hold on to the wonderful and let the horrible slip away, though I have considered writing a book about the experience of running two libraries alone in an urban setting. Don't hold your breath but you never know, I could surprise you...and myself.
It progressed with weight loss I initially thought was proof that diet and exercise were finally paying off. Surprise, it's not good health...it was bad health! Surprise again, it's cancer! Triple surprise, it's such a rare cluster of issues I'm giving my doctors fame and fortune! I'm just exceptionally grateful the surgery and treatment contained no terrible surprises beyond the gastrointestinal effects of ingesting radioactive materials. I'm also deeply grateful for the surprise of where some of my most faithful support came from during the scariest and weakest days.
Throughout the year I had frequent surprises in my new yoga practice. I started looking for physical benefits. I never expected mental and emotional benefits and lessons that would apply to the trials I was enduring. I was surprised to find I progressed further and more quickly than I expected, that I was stronger than I thought I was. I was surprised by how I could walk into class tense and anxious and walk out peaceful. I was stunned utterly to find it could help me learn how to forgive others and myself. And then I was surprised by how quickly it all goes away when I don't keep at it.
The end of the year brought the surprise of all three of the Limelets living at home once again. Mr. Lime and I thought this year it would just be us and Isaac. Surprise! the nest is getting fuller rather than emptying out. However, this brought with it some other surprises in seeing up close how much some have matured...as well as witnessing their surprise at how old rivalries can rear their ugly heads in spite of growth.
It also brought an opportunity for Mr. Lime to meet a long-time blogger buddy and his wife. His willingness to do so was a huge surprise to me. He was fine with me having my freak-in-the-box friends but was also quite happy to keep his own distance. This face-to-face was not only an introduction but an overnight visit to a stranger's house for Mr. Lime. Was he surprised by the normalcy of this couple? Perhaps. I was delighted and a good time was had by all. I believe his openness to the experience was paved by the kindness so many of you showed to us the year Calypso was so seriously ill and further enhanced by knowing how so many of you supported me emotionally through the scary surprises of this year. Again, the good is linked to the bad and would not have been revealed in any other way.
Finally, it brought a resurgence of serious back pain and allergies such as I have not suffered in 30 or more years. I have to admit, I've had a piss-poor reaction to all of this. It was more or less, "Dammit! I had cancer and dealt with that. Don't I get a pass on this shit fer crying out loud???!!" This is the surprise I probably handled the most poorly.
|Ready to paint, the library...not the spouse.|
I have to admit I was ready to big farewell to 2013. Part of me wanted to hasten it on its way for all the trouble it brought me. But I was surprised when I considered how much growth and blessing came along with those trials. I would not have experienced the good without enduring the bad. They were inextricably linked.
Still I was anxious to get 2014 started well. Weather surprises and back pain had conspired to keep me from yoga class for weeks. I was able to get to an intro class on Monday and planned to start New Year's morning with another class. New Year's Eve night I fell asleep before midnight, set my alarm for early, and slept without pain for the first time in weeks. That was a delightful surprise.
The alarm sounded painfully early and I was tempted to bag off class for the joy of pain free rest. No no, go with health. Get thee to yoga. I rose before anyone else in the house, ate, dressed, and went out to find I was parked in. Surprise! Ok, I can move Mr. Lime's truck. I did so then got in my own car, turned the key and was greeted with the surprise of an unsatisfying click rather than the purr of an engine.
I was utterly deflated. I was disgusted because it was due to my own fault in forgetting to shut off the headlights. I was livid at my plans being thwarted. I proceeded to start my New Year with a temper tantrum, albeit a quiet one so as to not wake others. I may be a toddler but I can be a considerate toddler. I cleaned the kitchen in a quiet furry then sat down to have a great pout. If you want to set your tone for the year in a fabulous way a tantrum followed by a pout is the preferred method. By that time I was fed up with my own stupidity.
Mr. Lime woke up and inquired as to the perplexing state of my dress, the kitchen, and the garage as it all surprised him. I explained and he graciously jumped my car and I was able to get to the second yoga class of the morning. It was a class I wanted to avoid because typically it is at a harder pace than I can usually manage and given that I am still healing from the back issues I thought it would be a bad idea. I did note the theme was going to be "Taming the Ego." I groaned inwardly thinking it meant it would be more physically demanding than usual but determined that I would start taming my own ego by not worrying whether I could keep up or not and just doing what felt right for my own body.
I arrived late and was invited to the very front of the class. I declined that offer and set up way in the back. We were exhorted to welcome all the 2014 had in store for us, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being as slow to learn and as stubborn as I am I thought, "Hell no! I've had enough bad and ugly. Only the good is welcome in 2014!" Class progressed and surprise, surprise it was not at the normal heart thumping pace. It was designed to be slower and more meditative though still challenging physically, to be sure.
In long-held strength poses we were encouraged to welcome the pain with the thought that we are still standing, it's not killing us. I thought back to 2013's pain and ugly and how it had not killed me though it literally could have. Perhaps I could consider welcoming whatever the coming year had in store for me without knowing what that was.
Near the end of class the playlist included Don't Fear the Reaper. I laughed. I was ready. I claimed this song and made it mine when I was going through cancer treatment. It came on the radio during one of the long drives to the hospital. At first I thought it was a ghastly harbinger. I decided it wasn't. It meant I had a choice as to whether I embraced fear or fullness of life. And, surprise, in this class, the one I wanted to avoid, I was finding the peace and health I needed in the time I needed it.
Yep, I can be the slowest to learn, the most stubborn student. As much as I want to tell 2014 it's only welcome to bless me I think I am beginning to learn it will brings whatever it brings. It's up to me to make or find the blessings. Bring it on.