For the past couple of years, I have been orienting my year around a theme. A couple of years ago it was my Donkey Yote (not to be confused with Don Quixote) HeHaW (Health & Harmonic Wealth) tour with me and my ass in search of the answer to life, the universe and everything (in honour of turning 42).
And this year, my theme has been Truth or Dare: 2009 Edition - Game On! It's been a ton of fun thinking about my week ahead and choosing - Truth or Dare? More often than not this year, I have chosen Dare, if only because that is what I used to do in my tween days of playing Truth or Dare.
Admittedly, my dares have not been large. I didn't end up taking up pole dancing or the circus arts or really risking boldly. Sometimes just daring myself to stay in the game or mingle with others, or go yet one more intrepid mile each week felt audacious enough.
But I did take a couple of risks. Holy Hub and I renewed our wedding vows in Hawaii, in celebration of 25 years together. And I travelled back home to Alberta road-trip style, something I was not wont to do. While there, I went to see a renowned forensic psychic - in order to get at the hidden truth behind my niece's suicide this spring. And on the way home, I dared go zipline'ing with the kids and do a 10 am scary roller coaster after a big breakfast. Terrifying and stomach-lurching experiences, both - but fun, nonetheless. And I dared myself to step up and write a business plan for a wilderness education company - an industry sector I previously knew next to nothing about. I did this in exchange for sending my 13-year old son on their Coming of Age rite of passage expedition for boys next summer.
Choosing truth, on the other hand, has meant telling myself the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about things I'd quite frankly rather not. It's meant being honest in my beingness instead of living the myriad little lies that can tend to add up to big ones if I'm not careful.
Sometimes those truths have meant saying no, giving up on things and bringing myself back to a place of integrity. At other times, it's meant being willing to really stand alone with myself in front of a bathroom mirror behind a locked door, and allow myself to ask my silent question and nod my head in affirmation or shake my head in disagreement. I have tried, above all this year to channel to the good bard in living the mantra - This above all, to thine own self be true.
And it hasn't always been easy. I had occasion to stumble, once again, upon a poem a month or so ago. I read it with new eyes and this time, it really resonated with me. Perhaps because I am not always so especially good at living at that most authentically honest level where things are raw and real.
"We live a lie when we misrepresent the reality of our experience or the truth of our being. I am living a lie when I pretend a love I do not feel; when I pretend an indifference I do not feel; when I present myself as more than I am; when I say I am angry, and the truth is I am afraid; when I pretend to be helpless, and the truth is I am manipulative; when I deny or conceal my excitement about life; when I affect a blindness that denies my awareness; when I affect a knowledge I do not possess; when I laugh when I need to cry; when I spend unnecessary time with people I dislike; when I present myself as the embodiment of values I do not feel or hold; when I am kind to everyone except thos I profess to love; when I fake beliefs to win acceptance; when I fake modesty; when I fake arrogance; when I allow my silence to imply agreement with convinctions I do not share." Nathaniel Branden
Packed into this mumbo-jumbo of words is some powerful truth of what it means to be human and at times, arguably, inhuman. I suspect it didn't resonate with me the first two times I took those words in, perhaps because I chose NOT to take the words in and hear many of them as my truth.
So it's been an interesting year, to say the least. I approached 2009 thinking Dares would be where it was at, when in fact, Truth is what has really seemed to define it.
And I'm OK with that. On my painted and decorated garden stake, which served as my anchor and office talisman for my theme this year, I had decoupaged a number of quotes about the notions of both Truth and Dare. One, in particular, stands out to me now.
"The Truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off."
It makes me chuckle but also smile at a deep and cheerful level, because the truth of my being HAS really pissed me off. And to borrow from one of the year's most redundant quotes, it is what it is...
Which leads me to next year's theme. I have decided I need to back up and really sit with my beingness and embrace the present, all the while, planning for the future. So I've come up with Plan Be! as my 2010 theme. It is a reminder for me to stay grounded in the present whilst remaining methodical in strategic planning mode.
The Be also allows the word nerd in me to bring all those other juicy Be words into the realm. You know....like begin and become and bequeath and bestow and believe and behoove and beacon and beauty and beckon and bedazzle and befriend and behold and bejewel and belay and better and bestseller and bevvy and bewitch.
And as would befit the Plan part of the Be, I've decided to attach some further BEatitudinal theming to the months, in order to assign some kind of virtuous purpose and character building to my year. As such, my months translate to Begin, Believe, Beyond, Belong, Befriend, Beauty, Beacon, Benevolent, Beatnik, Bestseller, Beget and Bestow.
It is, in essence, a year of being and doing bundled into one rhetorical package. To be or not to be - that will remain the question. Perhaps at the end I will discover, as the ancient philosophers did, that "to be is to do". I may well discover instead that, in fact, it's reversed and that "to do is to be."
And my 2010 theme song? You guessed it: Let it Be. :) It speaks words of wisdom.
Blessed be. Shalom. Amen.