Don’t Be Concerned About Being Disloyal to Your Pain

Because of the season of year, you know, Advent and all of that, I am thinking forward to the new year and what it might hold. As always, I have some goals that may or may not be accomplished, but I am going to set them nonetheless. Here they are in no particular order of importance:

  1. Return to veganism. I decided in October that I would stop being vegan for a couple of months and just eat whatever I fancied until December 31, and while I have enjoyed eating some things I’d missed, I also feel an intense amount of guilt because I am behaving out of accordance with my beliefs. While I haven’t had any weird dreams about cows chasing me or having full-on verbal discussions with pigs in a stockyard semi trailer, I have been feeling a bit sad about killing other sentient beings, harming the environment, participating in a violent food chain, and just basically not living in line with my beliefs that all beings are sacred.
  2. Remain sober from alcohol and any other vices. I have enjoyed being alcohol free in 2022, so 2023 will remain the same. I make it sound like this is an easy choice, but if you know me, you know I have struggled some this year, and I will probably struggle some next year too. But, what I know is that I like my life without, more than I liked my life with, so I will make a mission to remain free for another 365 days. I may even work on caffeine and sugar, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
  3. Observe Sabbath. I’ve planned to do this before, but I want to make it a reality in 2023. My computer will remain in my backpack, my school email will be removed from my phone, and I will spend Sunday going to church, sewing, hanging out with friends and family, and reading books I choose. As another form of Sabbath, or maybe it’s a form of religious devotion but not really Sabbath, I plan to finish reading through the Bible. By reading three chapters a day, I’ve made it to Deuteronomy. I know it’s strange, since I’ve been a Christian from the age of 5 and been to seminary, but I have never read straight through the Bible. I am pretty sure I have read nearly all of the words in the Bible, but never read through it, like the storybook that it is.
  4. Move my body and love her. In the past, I have set some sort of parameters on this, but this next year, I just want to move her in any way I can. I want to dance, run, bike ride, swim, walk, hike, jump rope, lift weights, and basically just enjoy the skin I am in. Again, if you know me, you know my body and I have a tenuous relationship, and I have recently been a bit annoyed with her, because as I start into peri menopause, my body just wants to hold onto so many pounds. In fact, I think she may be manufacturing some each day. I guess, what I am trying to say is that we’ve recently been in a fight, but that I am ready to reconcile with her, if she’ll take me back.
  5. A book a month. If I am more diligent in grading and less diligent at TV watching, this goal should be an easy one, and I think I may even try to make it a fiction book a month, since I spend most of my free time reading books that most people only read by force. But I really like to know things, so I read a lot of nonfiction. Maybe this year, I will just set myself up for fun sometimes.

“Don’t be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous.” — Hazrat Inayat Khan

My last goal is to simply be joyful, not necessarily to be happy all the time, because that is disingenuous, but to have an underlying current of joy. In the past year, I have moved from a place of almost constant sorrow and despair, into a place where I can name my emotions, acknowledge them, and then act appropriately on them. I am not a prisoner to my own sadness. So, my biggest goal for this year is to simply live joyfully, to move through life with a love for myself and for others.

Here’s to all of it. Cheers.

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