Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Clean Slate ~

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; Some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered by your old nonsense.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A clean slate sounds good in theory. I would rather just clean off the bad stuff and keep the good, although I don't know if that is possible. I think the point Mr. Emerson is trying to make is that we should not be so hard on ourselves that our mistakes or misfortunes keep us weighed down in "if only I had..." Whether we knew better or not doesn't even matter ~ the consequences came out the same. Though we wish things were different, the truth is, they aren't!
I started this year with very good intentions. I thought, "A new year means a clean slate!" I was going to get in shape, get healthy, be more spiritual, and the list goes on. Life continued and I tried hard to do those things I had promised myself. Then something else happened and I kept thinking "If only I had..." then everything would be different! Now, not only was I dealing with the grief and sorrow of losing someone close to me. Not only did I feel the guilt and shame of failing to live up to my culture's expectations. It wasn't even just the fear and anxiety regarding employment and finances.
Finally I realized that the pattern of "if only I had..." was sapping me of the strength and energy to follow through on any of those beginning-of-the-year good intentions. It was also keeping me stuck in the depression stage of grief over what had recently happened.
So it's time to stop analyzing how things would have been different "if only I had" and start thinking of how to move forward. I'm not saying that we should not grieve, as grief is a healthy emotional response. I'm saying that it doesn't do any good to look at the past with regret. We have to work with what we have at this very moment. I have many things to be thankful for:
~ Physically health.
~ My parents and brother. I have an awesome family!
~ Personal relationship with God.
~ My job. I have one and many people do not.
~ My country and the freedoms I have.
~ My education and the endurance to finish all those papers!
~ Tug - my little buddy :)
~ Car, housing, clothing.
~ My LPC supervisor and the chance to learn new things.
~ Friends to call when I get lonesome/sad.
~ Future prospects, blessings in the works.
So I'm not sure if I really want a clean slate after all. Maybe it is best to keep it all on there.

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