In Chinese astrology 2015 was the Year of the Sheep, the eighth animal in the twelve-year lunar calendar.
I was born the Year of the Sheep.
Life goes in cycles, and accordingly, this year has felt like a return to familiarity – to what truly makes me me. This year was all about home. And the thing about home? It’s also where the heart is.
Last year, some left home to follow their heart on an adventure. My cousin, for example, followed her dreams and moved to Australia. Others came home with a new love or baby, or experienced a big loss or change. I know of many couples that decided to get a divorce after twenty-five plus years of marriage.
Finally, there are those who – most quietly – made peace with themselves at home.
This year, I gently shifted from student to professional. The shift was both heartfelt and hurtful because I was calling a lot of bull. I saw things with a mature coating of responsibility and discipline. That was heavy for me.
Its pinching, wake up and smell the coffee memo was a hello and goodbye to my childhood. From cursing and complaining to showing up late and all my unhealthy food and exercise choices (or lack thereof), it was time to talk to myself straight up.
I asked myself: What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of career and lifestyle do you want to work towards? What do you want to create for your Orthodox community? What excites and challenges you?
Okay, now write that down.
Next, I asked myself: How do I have to be to get there? What do I have to change? What sacrifices do I have to make?
Be that person as best as you can today. Right here, right now, start acting how you want to be in life.
To be her, you have to become her. Thought to action, word to deed.
This brought me back to the past.
My quest for discipline has brought me back to the beginning. The community pools I swam laps for badges are now where I take aqua fit classes twice a week. I’ve started speaking French again (my native language, the language I used to dream about my adult life in), which has awakened a deep-rooted nostalgia. And my childhood hairdresser is reviving my long, healthy ringlets with some loving TLC.
I’ve returned to my soul community: my parents’ house, and our parish church which is filled with the family and friends that have loved me all my life.
Sometimes seeds of the past are keys to understanding the present. We stay to go, we leave to arrive, we keep distance to grow closer and we repeat until we change.
What strengthens us softens us.
An oxymoron? Yes, this makes sense: I am a woman.