Here comes the New Year.  Ready to clear out?

Think of your internal clear-out as if you had been holding something in your hand all year long.  Open your hand and let it drop.

All that stuff that you've accomplished or failed to is really no more than ideas about you should be, and notions about what would make you happy.

You may notice that you are actually changing and dropping these ideas all the time.  Throughout the year you may have picked up a few items you no longer need ...

_As anyone knows who has moved house, it's truly amazing how quickly we fill the space around us!  Isn't it incredible how, after a major clear-out, within a few years we seem to have filled the bucket back up to the brim?  Isn't it mind-boggling how much you discover you own when you start getting rid of stuff?    

It's almost as if we are not quite fully aware of what we are doing.   

I'm not saying you don't need every single item that you have.  But I do remember what Jacob Glass used to say -- there's no vortex quite like an empty apartment!

Our internal world is a bit like this too, isn't it?  We go along picking up all kinds of ideas from the world around us, like lint. Then suddenly we find we are saying things we don't even believe or mean to say!   

The we sit up in surprise and think, "That's not me!  I'm not like that." And it's a bit of a shock, really.   

Many of the things we pick up are painful to us -- fears about what other people might do to us, harsh judgements, tendencies to worry about the state of the world.   Even the temptation to gossip or bland conversations about the weather; these are just habits we all share as accepted ways of relating to one another.  They are not the real you.

Of course, not all these ideas we pick up are harmful or burdensome.  Only the unquestioned ones!

How about our ideas of what success looks like for an example?  Many children are being pushed into performance testing and evaluation as early as 4 and 5, in order to be accepted into kindergarten. Kindergarten! This is a notion of success that we could do without. It is full of fear about the future, and it's already beginning to velcro itself to tiny minds -- leaving them little room to stretch and grow naturally.  What chance will kids have to be their creative selves if the playing field is already shrinking around them?  

Who have we all become as a result of carrying around some of these burdensome ideas?  Who do we long to be?  Can you feel that longing?

We have added some junk to our beautiful selves that doesn't need to be there: self-condemnation, self-harm, self-chastisement, you name it.  You know what it is. You should hear the things people say to themselves. Tuned in lately? What if you knew that all your internal thoughts were being broadcast on a loudspeaker for everyone to hear? 

These accepted concepts about how we should look, how much we should weigh, whether we make enough money, whether we are on a path to success, are weighing us down. 

Is it really any wonder that we find it hard to connect with others, to love fully and to feel free?

Will we get to the point where we no longer recognize ourselves?  

And if we recognize ourselves, what are we identifying with anyway -- it's all just a bunch of notions about how things should be.

How about, let's not. 

It's almost the end of the year, let's leave them behind in 2011.    

Here' to YOU.

"Even better than the real thing" - U2

Looking out over the glistening ocean on a full moon night  when everything is clear and all you can see is miles of sky and little dots of light everywhere, set to the music of the ocean rolling against the shore...  a moment of perfection.  When I am aware of nothing except that breathing is happening and there is a sense of something larger than myself. Nothing is wrong or right.  Nothing needs changing or fixing.

So I had a strong reaction when I heard, "Yeah, did you see the moon last night, it was like a Disney movie."

It was like a Disney movie?

So apparently, I did not realize this, but Disney has this incredible capacity to take a natural phenomenon and make it 'even better'.  Enhancing the moonlight to even greater moonlit-ness.  The ability to make shimmering more shimmery. 

I am saddened by this.  Saddened that Disney is a standard bearer for what is beautiful in life, but more, I'm saddened at what it drains from us as human beings that that the natural beauty of the world somehow doesn't quite hold up to its celluloid enhanced counterpart.  It's just simply better if there are lots and lots and lots of shimmers. The way we look outside and see it, with maybe not so many shimmers, that is just a poor substitute.

Isn't this what we currently suffer from? Rampant not-good-enough-ness.  Oh, it's  good, but it can be made better.  Our bodies are good, but they could be better: a nip here, some weight loss, a bit of molding and shaping.  I remember overhearing a mother talking to her daughter about a nose job "But honey," she said, "If you know you can make it prettier, why wouldn't you?"  So, let's see... I'm fine as I am and I have everything I need but, oh I almost forgot... I could be better.   Even in self-development, the never-enough-ness is rampant too.  I know, I do it.  And I suffer because of it.

In our striving to improve, we become not only less content, but less able to see the real beauty of what is before us.  The beauty in ourselves and in others.  In fact we come to think that we can't just be us at all.   We need to be better than us. We need a bit of air-brushing.

Well maybe Disney could make us all look "Better than the real thing" but I hope not.  The real thing is just fine by me.  Warts and all.