Today I read an article, published in an Australian newspaper, reporting on your mass to priests, nuns and members of Catholic lay organisations in Panama City's newly renovated cathedral of Santa Maria Antigua.
According to the report, you spoke during your homily of the global crisis of sexual abuse that has engulfed the church in multiple countries around the world. The article focused primarily on scandals in Chile and the United States of America, but I know Australia (where I live) was also rocked by the horror and magnitude of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by the church against children and vulnerable adults, much of it spanning across decades. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia last year shone a light onto these terrible secrets, so often buried by the church, and gave the survivors of these terrible crimes - committed by those who they often turned to for trust and protection - the chance to have their voices heard.
In your homily in Panama, you described the church as 'weary' and 'wounded by her own sin'. According to the report, you used 'weary' or a grammatical version of more than twenty times during your homily. The church may be weary, it may be wounded, and the sin is certainly its own, but if it is weary of the light being shone into its darkest depths, of having its motives and practices examined, of being required to answer for its wrongs, then may it continue to grow weary. The days have passed when the church sat comfortably above the law, and if it is weary of answering to the law then it has no place in modern society. The faithful, myself among them, look at our church and see a system and see it has rotted from within, faltered under weak leadership and turned inwards with greed and self-interest. The Catholic Church, your church, Pope Francis, has become a corporate entity, focused entirely on its reputation and wealth, neglecting the pastoral needs of those who come with faith to seek God. It languishes sadly, propped up rather than standing tall, dragged down by its own inability to recognise its crimes or take responsibility for its own actions. Avoidance is no longer an option; the church as a whole - and you as its leader - must step forward and not only acknowledge the crimes of your institution, but seek to redress the victims and survivors of those crimes in the ways that benefit them. The church's interests and ambitions must be put aside and priority given to the survivors of these crimes, to the redress they would like to see and the healing they need. Our Lord Jesus Christ said whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me (Matt:35:40), so your institution has not only committed heinous crimes against the vulnerable in our society, but against Our Lord, and until you make right the wrongs you committed against those survivors, you continue to do wrong against Our Lord.
I believe you yourself know these things. You have acknowledged openly that the church has made serious errors in the past and have urged those priests who have abused children to come forward, but words are not enough. You said in your homily that the church 'so often failed to hear all those cries', but this is a misleading sentiment. The church heard the cries, it heard the accusations, it heard, but then chose to do nothing. These scandals, the decades of sexual abuse that have been brought to light by the tireless work of survivors, investigators and others, were not crimes of ignorance, they were crimes of arrogance. The church did not fail to hear, but rather chose to dismiss and, when the cries grew too loud for it to dismiss any longer, it sent predators to new hunting grounds, far away from those cries, until the cycle need be repeated again... and again... and again. As illustrated in the Royal Commission in Australia, the reputation of the church as an institution was paramount, rather than the safety of those who sought sanctuary there. The conduct of the church over the years, the decades of actively covering up the actions of paedophiles within your ranks, of feeding them new victims, of attempting to gag survivors who brought these actions to light is beyond a disgrace: it is nothing short of an abomination.
The church has committed the very sins you and those within her preach against: paedophile priests stand guilty of carnal lust - in this case the very worst kind: rape and paedophilia - greed and pride; those who did not participate in abuse themselves but knowingly allowed it to go on have committed the sins of sloth and pride as well, too caught up in the potential damage to their own reputations were the behaviour brought to light to step in while others committed unspeakable harm. As an institution, the church must be held accountable for its greed, for its wrath directed at those who sought to expose these terrible things, its sloth for intervening only when secular authorities finally descended upon it, and, of course, for Original Sin of pride. From pride came arrogance, which let the church believe it was above the law, which led to the catastrophic failure of the system to address the sickness within its ranks, to examine its own actions, to bring about meaningful change and assist those suffering at the hands of paedophiles. Five of the seven deadly sins, committed by individuals and the church as a whole, does not stand well for an institution that states its belief in moral and virtue.
Of course, Your Holiness cannot be held solely accountable for these atrocities, as many of them took place long before you stepped up as the leader of the Catholic Church. However, like any leader of any institution, you have the responsibility of that institution and you will be held accountable for the culture and actions of your institution.
You described 2018 as an 'annus horribilis' for yourself and the church. I would hope that you are aware that the survivors of clerical abuse, their families, friends and loved ones have lived through many decades of this, with each year being an 'annus horribilis'. To your credit, you have called a summit of the heads of national Catholic churches to take place in February this year, in which you will discuss 'what is now a global sexual abuse crisis'.
This is a step forward, Your Holiness, but not enough. The time for talking is over, the church has had decades to step forward and deal with this, but has chosen not to. Many of the same men you are calling to the summit will have been presiding over the church in their nations for far longer than you have been Pope, and they will have been in their positions during much of the time of the sexual abuse crisis. These will be the very men who had the opportunity to make change, but chose not to, and therefore guilty of the very sins I have mentioned above. You, as the leader of the Catholic Church, must be seen to be taking action: words will not longer suffice. Leaders are often called upon to make difficult decisions, and with the privilege of leadership comes to responsibility to make these hard calls when necessary.
Your first step has already been taken: you have acknowledged the abuse occurred and that the church has a case to answer. Many priests and former priests have been found guilty in secular courts of multiple charges of paedophilia: those priests and former priests that have been found guilty must be immediately defrocked. It is a strident step, no doubt it would cause controversy, but you have shown yourself to be no stranger to controversy during your tenure as Pope, and a controversial action today will be that which ensures this never happens again tomorrow. You have defrocked some offenders already, particularly in Chile, but if you take that step with the rest of these criminals who hid behind their robes it will send a clear message: you are not merely a man of words, but of actions, and that paedophilia will not be tolerated in your ranks.
The next step you must take is to remove the seal of confessional for criminal behaviour: for priests and others. The confessional booth should not be able to be used as a way for criminal priests and others to be absolved of their crimes and then go out and re-offend, knowing the priest of who heard their confession is bound to silence. This is alarming practice must end: many professionals - social workers, doctors, teachers, lawyers and others - are held to strict standards of confidentiality, but even they must break that agreement if someone has committed a crime, intends to commit a crime, or to put their own or others lives in danger. Priests hearing the confessions of others must be no different. In my state of Victoria, and many other states of Australia, priests are mandated reporters of known or suspected child sex abuse, and the secular law of the land must always come above ecclesiastical law when it comes to a criminal offence. It need not be a secret, put this step in place and anyone attending confession would know that if they disclose criminal behaviour they will be reported to the police: whether they be priest or layman. Once again, such a move would be controversial, but the behaviour exposed around the world flourished, in part, because of the secrecy surrounding practices such as confession. It was well documented in the Royal Commission in Australia that many priests confessed to bishops that they had been abusing children (although they probably used different words) and minor sanctions - prayer, fasting etc. - were imposed upon them and their actions hushed up. Once again, the sins of sloth and pride prevailed over the protection and safety of children, but by implementing this change and seeing it policed through your church, you have the power to ensure criminals within your ranks and not given a place to hide.
There is one final thing I would like to note before I close this letter. When you became Pole in 2013, you elected to honour St. Francis of Assisi by taking his name and becoming the first Pope Francis. Pope Francis is most famously known as the patron saint of animals and nature, but I imagine you will know the lesser known facet of his story: that he received visions from God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, commanding him to clean up the church and restore the original values of Our Lord to what had become a decadent, corrupt, immoral institution. In St. Francis's lifetime, the church was extraordinarily rich, as were all those men within it, and they used this money and prestige to finance lavish lifestyles for themselves, buy their way out of criminal convictions, and hid behind it while abusing vulnerable members of society.
Today, the church is even richer, and it has once again fallen into disrepute, selfishness, greed and corruption. The man whose name you took when you became the leader of the church devoted his life to restoring the morals and values of Our Lord to the institution of the church, he assisted the poor and the vulnerable and spoke up for the voiceless. I ask you to consider what he would do if he saw the state of the church today, if he saw the blatant cover-ups, the obscene wealth, the hypocrisy and criminality that has run rampant within her. You have honoured this man in name, you have honoured him in spirit, now it is time for you to honour him in action. Stand up for your people who have been betrayed, stand up to the powerful who will attempt to preserve and protect the status quo for their own ends, and take this opportunity to reshape the church under your guidance. 2018 may have been your annus horribilis, but if you take the steps towards reform, you may yet turn 2019 into your annus mirabilis: a year of wonders.
I am, yours faithfully,
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander viewers are advised that this article contains the image of a deceased person.
I had the day off from work today.
Given that I do not usually have a lot of time on the weekends to do things I want, I decided that having a Thursday off was an excellent reason to do something just for me. Hence, I did something I have been wanting to do since I came back from Europe and visited the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
As most of you will be aware, I spent the last week or so of last year's holiday doing a tour of the places that made up the Western Front of the First World War. This tour took us into Belgium and France and we visited the infamous sites of Passchendaele, The Somme and the Ypres-Sailent, and less well-known (but equally important) sites of Villers-Bretonneux, Fromelles and Hooge Crater, among many others. We visited many cemeteries and memorials to the missing as well, including the Memorial to the Wounded and Missing of the Somme, on which the name of my great-great-grandfather, J. A. Byers, M.C, is listed.
Since coming back to Australia, I have found myself interested in the way we remember the fallen, and - in particular - our obsession with ANZAC Day and the myths we ascribe to it. I have been wanting to go to the Shrine for a while now, as it was built between the two world wars (construction began in 1928 and the building was unveiled in 1934) and was actually built with input from many veterans of WW1, including the famous Sir John Monash. Due to the time of its building (it has been extended over the years, of course, to account for conflicts from the second world war onwards), I hoped it would be less a gaudy display of ANZAC mythology (as many are) and have a more realistic and balanced view of the Australia during WW1 and beyond. The memorials I visited in France are like this, able to strike a balance between honouring the dead, wounded and missing without glorifying the conflicts they were causalities of.
I am pleased to say that the Shrine strikes this balance perfectly. Gallipoli is just one of the many stories told within these walls, and the actual Shrine itself is a place of simplicity. Everything is done with purpose, there are no accidents in design, and each brick, plant, pillar and column has its own story to tell, but is part of the whole. I chose to go on a guided tour of the Shrine ($35, and worth every cent) and so got an in depth look into the building's history and the exhibits within it.
"Let all men know that this is holy ground. This shrine established in the hearts of men as on the solid earth commemorates a people's fortitude and sacrifice. Ye therefore that come after give rememberence."
- Inscription on the east wall of the Shrine of Remembrance.
While the Shrine has many wonderful stories on offer and plenty of historical knowledge to go around, there were particular things that stuck out for me.
The first was the staining on the building itself. The Shrine was constructed primarily of a material known as granodiorite, which contains iron ore which, when exposed to moisture, oxidises and produces reddish stains on the stone. You can see some patches of the staining in the photo above.
According to my tour guide, there was a time when effort was made to scrub the stains off the Shrine, however, over time the curators realised they were fighting a losing battle with nature and decided to let it be. My guide felt it added character to the building and was pleased they had been left there, and I agreed with him on the surface, however they stuck out for me for a different reason: they ensured the Shrine wasn't 'perfect'. This was something I liked a lot about the memorials in Europe: they were marked, scared, rough, gritty and real, that isn't to say they weren't maintained - they most certainly were - but they weren't white-washed, crystal-perfect structures that made a mockery of the bloody reality of war. Of course, many of the WW1 memorials in Europe were severely damaged twenty years later during the conflicts of WW2 (some, in fact, had to be rebuilt entirely) but, even those that were restored, had scars left bare. To me, the stains of oxidised iron-ore on the outside of the building have the same effect: they are not just an acknowledgement that nature will always win, but a testament to the fact that war is not perfect, pretty, or pleasant to look at, and that those memorials that honour it should be wary of being over-maintained.
The next thing that stuck out for me was the four statues in each corner of the Shrine. They represent Patriotism, Sacrifice, Justice and Peace and Goodwill, the values that Shrine strives to reflect in honouring Victorian war dead. Each statues depicts a Greek-goddess-like figure (not a specific goddess), being carried on a boat pulled by lions, with a child at the front. The boat represents to troop-transports the soldiers boarded as they left (for many, those strides across the jetties to the boats would be their last steps in Australia), the lions represent the courage of the soldiers, and the child represents future generations who will grow up knowing and remembering. I'm going to discuss each figure separately, as each of them struck me in a different way and trying to talk about them all at once would be confusing.
That is not patriotism, and it's a shame that neo-Nazis (a reincarnation of one of the very forces and principles Allied forces [including Australian and New Zealand] fought against less than 100 years ago) have stolen this word from those who are true patriots. These thoughts struck me as I looked at the figure of Patriotism, because the patriotism she represents is so far removed from the interpretation that has saturated main-stream media since the rise of the far-right.
It would also be wrong to suggest that it was only British or British-descent soldiers who volunteered for Australia during the first world war. Given the gold rushes of the mid-1800s, there were people of many varying nationalities all across Australia, and particularly in Victoria, who would have enlisted, as did many Indigenous people, despite laws banning them from doing so. Indigenous Australian soldiers were commemorated on a coin within a set released by the Royal Australian Mint in 2016 (the coin set marked 100 years since the major battles of 1916, including The Somme), however there is still a national reluctance to acknowledge these men (it's a shame and a disgrace that we don't) and many of their descendants are still fighting for compensation and pay denied them when they returned from service.
So, with all these things in mind, remembering the mixed nationalities of the Australian soldiers who fought, thinking about where they came from and the many, varied reasons that drove them to enlist, the figure of Patriotism may seem out of place. Plenty of men, of course, enlisted out of duty and devotion to 'King and Country' (which fits with the narrow ideas of what patriotism is today), while others did so in response to propaganda that promised them the ability to see the world, and yet others saw a stable job, with good pay (Australian soldiers were among the highest paid during the first world war), and others yet saw a chance to catch up with friends and relatives still in Europe. Yet, even those men who enlisted for reasons that might not be considered patriotic, each man (and, of course, the many women who served) who entered into the conflict of WW1 did so willingly - the Australian force was made up entirely of volunteers - and, regardless of their original motivations for enlisting, did what was required of them on the terrible battlefields of Europe and Africa, and many of them paid the ultimate price. The figure of Patriotism on the Shrine of Remembrance represents the act of patriotism, rather than the declaration of - these men stood shoulder to shoulder on the many fronts of the war, representing their fledgling nation in a baptism by fire. They gave rise to the modern notion of what it means to be Australian - before it was stolen by racists, bigots and greedy politicians - and did it out of simple necessity and a desire to belong.
It wasn't just families either: merchants and businessmen would have felt the pinch as a whole generation of young men - men who would have worked in their stores and factories, learned their trades and, one day, taken over their businesses - was wiped out and they were forced to look elsewhere. Sacrifice was evident in those soldiers who did make it home, only to find that home had changed and they were expected to accept it and fit right back in, whether or not they were able to.
There was a sense of social sacrifice after the first world war as well, where what had been considered moral, acceptable, ethical and desirable turned sharply. Those who had previously enjoyed positions of comfort and privilege found themselves dealing with the same things as those they considered their social inferiors, while - on a wider scale - the public had to deal with the reality of what 'coming home' actually meant, and provision had to made for men who had lost limbs, been blown deaf, suffered gas blindness, or lost parts of their faces to shells, bombs, guns and bayonets. This social sacrifice was not, in essence, a bad thing, as it forced society to move forward and reevaluate what was important, but it didn't come quietly and many struggled to adjust as old collided with new and values changed.
Peace and Goodwill
The future aside, the end of the first world war was seen as a herald to a more peaceful time, and the figure of Peace and Goodwill stands there as a testament to the hopes and dreams of many that we were finally done with war. While the future put paid to this, my guide told me an interesting fact about Australian peace-keeping missions: since the end of WW2, there has been at least one Australian, every day, somewhere in the world, on peace-keeping duties. Of course, peace-keeping is a contentious issue (but I won't delve into that here) but, as our army has evolved for the changing times, so too have the missions we involve ourselves in, and peace-keeping now is just as much a part of our armed services as front line combat, if not more so.
So, there you have it, my thoughts on what struck me at the Shrine of Remembrance today. If you want to go and have a look at the Shrine yourself I would highly recommend it; entry is free and there is a short, three minute ceremony every half-hour, which simulates the 'Ray of Light' that falls on Remembrance Day each year and is well worth seeing. If you want a more detailed history of the building and its contents, book a guided tour (either online or at the desk in the visitors centre) for $35 - all proceeds go back into the Shrine's education programs and it is well worth the money.
Arm day on Thrusday at EP was a struggle for me (more coming soon), and afterwards I decided it was time to have a good old look at my body and give it some self-love. Things have changed since New Year, most specifically that I have gone back to work and been getting up earlier than I have been over the break. I enjoyed Christmas and was ready to get back to work come Wednesday, but returning was more stressful than I anticipated and, as pole doesn't start back until Monday (I swear, I'm counting the days) all I've been looking forward to lately is EP. This felt like a recipe for disaster and Thursday night proved it: I was feeling so stressed and burnt out that I under-performed, despite really looking forward to my session.
So, Friday after work, I sat down at my computer and booked an appointment for some serious relax and recovery time at my favourite spot to chill: Alchemy Cryotherapy Centre. But rather than just booking a cryo session, I decided to do something recommended to me by one of the staff and booked in for a session of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (mHBOT) before my cryo session.
So, before you ask, let me answer the question I know is coming:
What is mHBOT?
According to the Alchemy Cryo website, mHBOT involves 'breathing oxygen enriched air at a pressure higher than sea level while resting inside a chamber' and that's literally the best description of it. You lie down inside a comfortable, roomy pod and, after about five minutes of pressurisation (kind of like being on a plane, you will need to swallow, yawn, rub and lightly pull your ears) you simply lie back and relax inside the chamber for one whole hour, while breathing enriched oxygen through a mask.
In today's world of smart phones, emails and constant accessibility, very rarely do we actually get a chance to completely switch off. Inside the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, you can do just that! Indeed, you have very little say in the matter, because phones and electronic devices are not allowed inside the chamber; I'm sure there are safety reasons for this, but I also think that having your phone or other device inside the chamber would take away from the point of it. mHBOT is a relaxing, rejuvenating experience, letting you switch off entirely, and it would be very hard to switch off while watching our friends on Facebook, seeing our emails ping every ten seconds, or getting that reminder that we need to go to the supermarket to get food for dinner tonight.
For me, the chance to let go - completely - for one hour was not to be passed up, although I confess I was a little nervous. As a child I suffered from terrible asthma and I have vivid (unpleasant) recollections of oxygen masks and ventilators, so I never imagined I would willingly volunteer to don an oxygen mask, let alone for an hour.
I was pleasantly surprised, however, that the mask was soft, comfortable and pliable. After the first five to ten minutes I even forgot I was wearing it, a fry cry from the hard, unyielding, uncomfortable things I remember from the hospitals in my childhood. I actually got to keep it afterwards, so I can reuse it when I return for my next mHBOT session (now that I've got a taste, I know I'll be back).
As for being inside the chamber, well, much like with the mask, you forget you're in there after the first few minutes. It looks a little claustrophobic from the outside, but is actually surprisingly roomy (I could have rolled right over without touching the sides or the top of the chamber) and is super comfy. You lie down on a padded, mattress-like surface, rest your head on a pillow and drift off into zen land without any trouble. I also brought my eye bag to my mHBOT session, so once I was comfortable and my ears had popped and equalised, I just closed my eyes, slipped the bag on top of them and took the time to breathe.
While you can sleep in the chamber, I don't think I did, although I was deeply relaxed and there were moments I found myself on the verge of sleep. I think the reason I always remained just on the edge of drifting off is that I am a side sleeper, and I chose to lie on my back for the entirely of my mHBOT session. I was perfectly comfortable, but not in the right position for sleep. I actually don't see this as a bad thing, as it means I was consciously relaxed, rather than simply zonked out, and could send the breath where I felt it needed to go.
When my session was over, I was actually quite sorry to leave that cozy little pod, although the feeling of rejuvenation once you emerge is difficult to describe. Perhaps also because I knew was heading into the cryo chamber next, there was also a little bubble of excitement in the pit of my stomach.
This was my third time in the cryo chamber, although my first directly following from a session of mHBOT.
The cryo chamber at Alchemy Cryotherapy is a full body chamber, with a pre-chamber and a main chamber. You get to play any song of your choice (today, for me, it was Before I Go by Guy Sebastian) while your body is exposed to electrically cooled air for a total of three minutes. An attendant is outside the chamber the whole time and you can exit at any time.
Oh, and it's cold.
The cryo chamber is electrically cooled to -110 degrees celsius and you will spend three minutes moving slowly through and breathing in this air. It's great not only for recovery, but for a whole variety of things, including brain health, immune function, chronic pain and inflammation among others (for a list of benefits and the science behind cryo therapy, click here to visit Alchemy Cryo's website).
A cryo session is pretty much the opposite of mHBOT: mHBOT is about relaxing and recharging your body by feeding it enriched oxygen, cryo is about kick-starting all your systems with (seriously) cold air. As a result, a cryo session is usually pretty intense, with only the last ten or so seconds being really uncomfortable. The more skin you expose the better (Alchemy cryo give you a 'Cyro Kit' to protect your extremities), so I generally wear pole gear into the chamber: i.e. a crop top and pole shorts. Usually, I usually start to notice mild discomfort at about the half-way point, but this is when the cryo is really doing its magic for my body: my systems are responding to the cold air, kicking themselves into gear and working double-time. I had this feeling today, but the discomfort level climbed quickly after the half-way point, to the point that, within about the last twenty seconds, I actually thought I was going to have to leave the chamber!
I took a deep breath, kept moving my arms and legs and told myself to keep going. There was nothing seriously wrong and I knew that the level of discomfort could mean only one thing: the cryo was working its magic! Having just spent an hour breathing oxygen enriched air, my blood was heavily oxygenated, so all my cells were being flooded with it as my heart pumped it all through me. In the cryo chamber, as my temperature cools, my heart has to work harder (not dangerously hard, mind you) to push all that oxygenated blood around my body, my cells have to work harder to absorb the oxygen, and, as that continues, the discomfort level rises. The last ten seconds were actually on the very edge of discomfort and into mildly painful, but I was pleased that I was able to see it out.
When I left the chamber after three minutes I felt like a new woman. My body was literally zinging with energy, I could not stand still, and my mind felt clear and sharp. While cryo has always been great for me physically and I've noticed it after a session, I really noticed how good I felt mentally this time as well. I was actually sure I could feel little electric jolts and bolts of energy zipping around just under my skin: it was the most amazing feeling.
And it lasted all afternoon!
My session ended at roughly 3.30pm, give or take a few minutes and it's close to 9.30pm now and I'm only just beginning to feel that nice 'let down' feeling that comes after a good day. I zipped around my house this afternoon, taking advantage of my energy to get things done that I've been putting off for a while, stopping more than once to just breathe deeply and enjoy the incredible after-glow.
I swear, I'll be doing that again the day before Pole Addiction 2019, and the day before any and all auditions for other pole comps!
So, all in all, a very successful and well spent afternoon. I've got another session on my three-session pass, so I'll be heading back to Alchemy Cryo very soon. For those interested in trying cryo and/or mHBOT for themselves, I've put a link to Alchemy Cryo's website below, and links can also be found throughout this post.
I hope you all get a chance to see how it feels to frost yourself!
Alchemy Cryotherapy Centre
Location: South Yarra, Melbourne
Barbell Dancer, out!
Barbell Dancer's Tips for Cryo/mHBOT
Crack open the champange (if that's your thing), write down your New Year's Resolutions (that you probably won't keep), and shout 'NEW YEAR, NEW ME!' (even though you're going to do all the same things as last year).
As you may have guessed, I dislike all the hype around New Year. Much of it is fake, manufactured and over-the-top, buying into the culture of instant results. The strange idea that New Year is a magical time in which we are guaranteed to be able to translate thought into action and motivation into discipline was exposed as a myth a long time ago, yet people still buy into it.
But that's enough New Year bashing.
I have a Yoga Journal 2019 calendar sitting on my desk, and I was interested in the questions posed in the Take It Off The Mat section today.
The page talking about New Year's Resolutions, and how people start thinking about an area in their life they'd like to improve at this time of year. As you may have guessed above, I don't set a New Year's Resolution and I don't believe they are effective or valuable in making real change. Someone wanting to make honest change in their life doesn't wait for the New Year to roll around to set their goals and start work.
However, my calendar posed some interesting reflective questions to consider when wanting change, so we can focus our energies into change that will be meaningful for us. I've been thinking about these questions, and decided to share them here, so you can ask them yourself moving forward.
I have been reflecting on these questions today and will be sticking this page of my calendar up on my motivation wall tonight, so I can keep seeing them and reflecting on them. Some of them I already know the answers to, some I'm still considering, but I can see change coming for me and I want it to be meaningful. If I'm honest with myself, change has been coming for me for a long time, but a combination of comfort and fear (strange, but these two opposite emotions often go hand-in-hand when confronting change) have held me back.
I'm not going to leap into anything drastic, but I know I'm not happy where I am. Several events today proved that to me on a deep level, so now I need to push back and put myself out there. Change is scary, but I am thinking that fear of the unknown is better than unhappiness in the known, and it will certainly be of more benefit to me in the long term.
In closing, I want to make changes to my life in 2019, but I don't want that change because it's 2019. 1 January 2019 was just another day to be grateful for the incredible gift of life, another day to reflect on where I am and what I want to do moving forward.
If you really want change, the New Year will be just another time and date; if you're hyping New Year up to be something special that makes change, you're already half way towards failure.
You don't have to like me. I'm not a Facebook post.
Me With No Apologies.