The title of my blog is a quote by Zora Neale Hurston, which speaks to me deeply each year at this time. How do you measure a year? By what you’re brave enough to seek out, or sitting in the pause, taking in the answers that ground us in truth? Some years it’s both.
At the beginning of this year, I started out fiercely curious, on a quest seeking anew. Then, around March, that quest ceased, and I heeded the call of the pause. For the remainder of the year, I stopped forcing, and I uncomfortably let life flow. I spent most of my time, pondering, listening, attending to what was unfolding for me. Now, if you know me, this was fucking challenging, but in hindsight, necessary. I learned that when you’re truly present to what is showing up, that’s where growth lies. You see things for all that they are. You hear things you would otherwise ignore. You cherish what is, as opposed to what will be. Whereas at the beginning of the year, I found this position to be very difficult, as time went on, I began to settle into the stillness and cherish the magical truth-bombs that revealed themselves to me.
Once I realized 2019 was the year of answers, I started writing these certainties down – the insanely good, the incredibly messy and the downright dismal honesties that were brought forth. As they all became a grand collection of what measured a year – my year.
I set out in early 2019 hunting down my next career move. My type A, goal-getter-self went forth and was determined to have a brand-new gig by early in the new year. After a dozen or so informational exchanges, one real job interview, and a bevy of sent emails to people who sparked my interest on LinkedIn, the universe interrupted my flow and halted the search. Not surprisingly, I didn’t obey. I kept pushing ahead, and much like the universe does, it pushed back…placing obstacle, after obstacle in my path. It’s wasn’t until I finally surrendered, when the answer appeared: It’s not a new job you need right now. Look for the good in the one you have, and focus on the things that need more of your attention. Your rise isn’t in your career right now, it’s at home.
More on that in Truth-bomb #3.
I have finally succumbed to the fact that this truth-bomb will be part of my life work. I continually trip up on flow. I mean, I understand that what is meant for me, will come easily and stay peacefully, and what is not – will trigger my inner demons and turn me into this unruly, wounded creature. Yet, I still stumble at times. When I catch myself forcing things to happen, it’s a form of protection, a mode of control. A way for me to stand in my power, yet in retrospect, I am really feeling power-less and riddled with insecurity. Everything I forced this past year (job search, friendships, travel-plans, etc.) backfired. This is my way of saying, I need to put flow on my 2020 to-do-more of-list.
As I mentioned above, the universe rerouted my career path this past year, to get me to pay closer attention to something way more important – my son, Kellan.
As many of you know, Kellan has Autism. He most definitely has his challenges, and because of that, his gifts often are disregarded or overlooked.
Once Kellan was old enough to attend school, I have noticed a collective truth: not many special ed teachers/therapists/specialists lead with the good (at least the ones we have dealt with). Many tend to focus heavily on the challenges, often discounting the gifts. The problem with this approach is E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G! I get that his progress is measured by meeting his IEP goals, and that’s what teachers/therapists get evaluated on…but shit, step away from time to time and shine some light on the abilities! Believe me, a parent of a special needs’ child knows ALL about the challenges – tell us something good. Most days, we need something good.
I ran into a situation this year, where it was Kellan and I (and a few skilled individuals in the special ed field) against the critics. Without getting too much into the details, Kellan was not being challenged academically. I started noticing this when I became more present during Kellan’s homework routine. I consulted with friends in the field of special ed and his therapists outside of school, and they too agreed that he was being given work below his developmental level. I broached the topic several times with his team at school, and I either got a lame excuse or was ignored.
I immediately called a meeting with his team of teachers/therapists/school officials to discuss my frustration and concerns. And wouldn’t you know it, they all had excuses as to why they’re not challenging Kellan: “his attention span is weak”, “he’s not focused”, “he doesn’t keep on task”, “his anxiety…”, blah, blah, bullshit. Once again, they led with all of Kellan’s challenges, and never highlighted a key ability – that he is teachable. I know it, his therapists know it, everyone at that table knew it, but yet they chose to focus on all that he cant do – which discredits all that he can.
This mama wasn’t having it. Listen, I am well aware of Kellan’s challenges, but I also know if we don’t start fostering his gifts, we’re failing him. Here’s what I know for sure, that one day Kellan will learn and thrive in a mainstream setting. I just wish he had more believers in academia championing that effort.
All that being said, I am happy to announce that Kellan is now, in fact, being challenged. He was placed in a mainstream reading class at school. Not because they encouraged or believed in it, but because I did. And guess what, he’s loving it. That’s not to say he still doesn’t have difficulty with certain things, but it’s time we start promoting the gifts while continuing to work through the challenges.
I have been deep in the healing process for the past 2 years now – not only mending fresh wounds but ones from the past which were never truly restored back to health. While spending some time in the pause, listening to some of this year’s answers, what’s been conveyed is this: I am healed, and it’s time to try on this repaired heart of mine. It’s time I give love a chance to flow again (notice I said ‘flow’ 😉). I am doing it a bit differently this time. I am not putting a date to it, a goal to it, a type to it… I am just going to rise to it, show up wholeheartedly, and trust what comes of it. More on that in 2020.
Every year, as my birthday approaches, I dedicate a word (an intention of sorts) to the year ahead of me. As I turned 48, it was clear to me what I wanted and needed to aim for this year: full acceptance of all my parts (ie. self-acceptance).
When you set an intention as deep as this, it gets messy. You go to such depths, trying to unwrap layers that were once sealed tight, or never revealed at all. Once those layers start unfolding, you’re deep in the soul work.
I am only 5 months in, and what’s surfaced thus far is this: I am really fucking hard on myself. Somedays, it’s a full out battle to find something to love…hell, even like. So I continue to dig deep and have put some things in place that have helped.
On August 31, 2019 (and each day since), I have looked myself in the mirror and found something about that chick staring back at me to accept and appreciate. I have made a commitment to compliment myself about something new each day. Is it the cure-all to self-acceptance? Nope. But shit, it’s a step in the right direction. Onward.
Oh, Daily Feelers – don’t let anyone tell you that magic isn’t real. It is! Kellan and I experienced it firsthand a few short months ago.
Our most enchanted memory for our little family this year was our very first trip to Disney. I waited for the day that Kellan would be mentally and behaviorally ready to travel on an airplane. I knew when that time came, we’d go immerse ourselves in the magic of the mouse. In September, we set off on our Disney adventure – and the most magical moments were captured.
The world is not a perfect place, but Disney helps people believe that it could be. Disney inspires hope, courage, bravery, friendship, truthfulness, and the importance of family — all of the things that are good in the world. Hence, Kellan and I have been under the mouse’s spell ever since.
So, what about you? Did your year provide the questions or the answers? I encourage you to think about that. That’s where the truth lies, and the growth appears.
Happy New Year, everyone! May it be filled with an abundance of love, peace, and magic-filed moments.
Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.