… and nothing else
There are so many tools to shed a light on what I have done this past year. Sometimes I would rather the light not be shone. Sometimes I wish the clarity of what is revealed to be of higher contrast. As I see what is revealed I wonder, how could I?, why did I? and what was the point of that?
I don’t want to dwell on the past. But these questions and others, are important when reviewing. If we don’t ask, we don’t learn. And as the saying goes, if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it (my paraphrase). George Santayana’s original saying was related to negative events. It can be relevant to positive things, although we probably wouldn’t use the term doomed. But if we know what worked and what was positive we can repeat that too.
And that’s where I find myself today. I have looked back. I have seen what happened. And now I ask myself, so what? I think I might be in my journal for quite some time.
I have made a special journal for my 2017-2018 review and preview. It’s a junk journal of old pieces of paper and card. Scraps that had been left in a pile somewhere, gathering dust and awaiting a fate worse than glue sticks. And like those forgotten scrapbook elements, I have resurrected the memories of the past year.
Having set the astro ground rules in the previous posts it is time to get going with the review. It is time to take a look at what I got up to in the last 12 months. One good thing about social media is that it gives us a treasure trove of memories to trawl through. All my photos are stored in the Mac photo app. All I have to do is open it up and look back.
It is a surprise how much I have done and what I have achieved. FaceBook and Instagram help me out too. And although some of the memories they resurrect are not easy to go over again I must try and learn from them. There is no point dwelling on past events. No amount of wishing can change the past. Well, not until the time machine is fully functional.
I find myself in a similar position to exactly 12 months ago. I am doing the same work. I am not having the same relationships. I am living in the same place. I am worried about the future. I am dwelling on the past. I am becoming the living example of a song by Morrissey (bless him).
I find it far too easy to see the negatives. Yet in this review process, I can see the positives. I am still working creatively. I have a place to live. I am healthy and have a future. I can remember the past, with its sad and happy memories. And what’s wrong with the music of Morrissey anyway?
Ok, I am not in that sort of relationship with anyone, but I have realised I don’t need that to be happy. One of the main things I have learnt in the past year is that I am complete. Anything else is a bonus, a blessing. (Yes, I would like to be blessed, but don’t need it.) It’s funny that since I realised that, I have come out of my introverted shell a little. I am talking to people more. I am developing friendships. I am also getting off topic a little but thought I’d give you a little TMI to boost the word count.
I have reviewed the past 12 months. My little journal has notes and pics and other scribblings. Now, it’s time to pick out a few themes, to see if there is anything more I can learn. More of that in day six.
A little light here. please!”
The super full moon is apparently 14% brighter than the ordinary moon. A little extra illumination is always good when reviewing the situation. Taking careful stock of where we are is vital to making any move forward. The full moon is another of the astronomical events that are playing a part in my 2017 yearly review.
But we all have blind spots. Even the super full moon with its extra brightness percentage has a dark side. However bright the moon shines, the dark side remains hidden.
It is a good assumption that many of my failures are down to what were, or are my blind spots. Things I didn’t know about myself. Likewise, some of my success will be down to abilities I didn’t know I had.
- We leave footprints
- We have a shadow
- We leave an impression
As the moon shines. I am taking a look at what I am, at who I am. But I am not just looking at what is visible. I am attempting to see some of what is hidden, to find out what I didn’t know about myself.
I won’t be able to see it all. I will always have blind spots. We will always have a little mystery about ourselves. There is always a dark side of the moon, but every once in a while the moon shines a little brighter. Time for me to use this metaphor to illuminate my yearly review.
Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. This is the beginning of the liturgical church year. A new year, a new start, but it begins by looking back. Advent is traditionally a time of penitence in the church year. A time to review actions to note the reason for the season; the coming of the Christ child. This has echoes in contemporary culture, have we been naughty or nice?
Advent – along with Mercury Retrograde and other significant dates this December – is prompting me to see this review in a deeper light.
Penitence, with its obvious link to sin and other religious connotations, can be seen as negative. Its dictionary meaning relates to feeling or showing sorrow and regret for doing wrong. One danger is our focus can be on the doing wrong instead of what our response is.
It can become far too easy to beat ourselves up instead of picking ourselves up. I don’t want to fall into that trap during this time.
Realising what we have done, both good and bad, can be beneficial. I have done wrong (whatever your definition of right and wrong is, I have mine), I have failed at things, I have made mistakes. I need to forgive and no doubt be forgiven. I have also done good, succeeded and begun walking down positive paths. I want to learn from these events. What I learn, I want to take with me.
One advantage of journaling, or keeping a diary, is that I can look back and be reminded of what has happened. I’m currently doing that. I’m sure it will bring up things I have forgotten, both happy and sad memories, but that is what a good review will do. As I kneel in penitence, I rise in stature. I take note of this year, so the next can be better – whatever I decide the definition of better to be for me.
As the sun sets on this day it is with a certain sense of irony that the full moon rises, a super full moon, to illuminate my thoughts during this time. Another deeper light, but more of that tomorrow…