November was, by far, one of most favorite month’s of the 12 in 2012 project.
The posts just seemed to write themselves. Often the challenge was limiting the number of things I was grateful for in order to keep the post readable.
In big ways and in small ways, I am one blessed woman.
But, as the month went on, I realized how gratitude is always at odds with human nature, how we can have it all and still want more.
This lesson hit home during our small group time at church this month when we were discussing what it means to be content.
How do we respond to the “I’ll finally be happy when ____” mentality?
How do we find contentment, and how does contentment differ from satisfaction?
I find that it is easy to be grateful when things are good. It is easy to be happy when our needs (and mainly our wants) are met. But would I be content with less? What would contentment look like if I didn’t have some of the things I spent November saying I was grateful for?
Sorry. I don’t have the answers to those questions yet. What I can say is that the discussion had such an impact on me that I think I found my word for 2013: contentment.
Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
Almost a year ago now, I started the 12 in 2012 project as a way to hold myself more accountable for living my self-identified core values. I was responding to this feeling that the hectic nature of my life was pulling me loose from the very anchors of my being.
As the year progressed, I found this project, like life itself, experienced highs and lows, periods of intense focus and times of apathetic neglect. Some months I was full of energy; others I was sputtering just to make it the finish line.
This reality makes it even more appropriate that I am ending the 12 in 2012 project by focusing on the value of passion—the value that provides the fuel for the others.
As I hang the stockings, trim the tree, and tie up the presents with ribbons and bows, I am also putting some questions out there that these I will leave simmering for the rest of the month.
Reconnect with the original reason I do the job that I do. Politics, pay, and bureaucracy, all aside— what still excites me about my job? How can I get more of that and less of the rest?
Remember the real reason for the season. What excites me about Christmas, and how can I minimize what stresses me and maximize what brings me joy?
Speak up in a way that gives my passions a (more reasonable) voice. I have a tendency to hold back and not say what’s really on my mind, but just because I don’t say it doesn’t make it go away. Quite the opposite. All of that emotion just gets pent up until—like a pot under too much pressure—it explodes—leaving me feel like I said too much, too late. How can I say what I need to say without waiting until there’s an explosion?
Maintain an adequate level fuel for my passions. How can I improve my gas mileage so I have more energy for the things I love? How can I overcome my tendency to run too fast in the beginning, only to lose the energy too soon? Where’s the equilibrium point for my passions?