Here we are again, at a new year, with all new groups to join. There are the groups of power treadmillers, which bring to mind bevies of bewheeled hamsters, not your best dress-for-success imagery, but it’ll do.
Then there are the groups of health hackers, analyzing and tracking every aspect of the body that can possibly be enumerated. But these barely work for me; if I’m going to compete for the best cholesterol levels, there had better be a chocolate cake at the finish line.
There are also groups of artists lighting up like a string of firecrackers in the sky. Groups of writers, too — though maybe more cynical than the artists, they are still flush with beginning-of-the-year optimism, in slightly infectious ways.
Perhaps it’s just my friendly roommate, also known as my anxiety disorder, but I have a little bit of difficulty with starry-eyed beginnings. This may be because few have led to starry-eyed conclusions. In the same way that many people have been hurt by past loves, I have been hurt by past projects that, somehow, through no fault of my own of course, remain incomplete.
But I love all these groups, all this freshness, these bubbling cauldrons of possibility. I might even join a few of them someday. I’ve bookmarked several for the beginning of 2016, at which point I’ll rebookmark them for 2017, fulfilling my motto: Don’t get’er done. (Note: this motto may or may not contribute to my incomplete projects; you decide.)
But there is one group I did join, surprising myself all the while. It’s a group that can’t be defined, a group built on untamed optimism and rollicking courage. When I read about it in December, I felt the word Yes ricochet from rib to rib. I felt my fingers sting with the need to sign up.
Let’s talk Liv.
In the fall of 2013, when I had only just recovered from a long-term illness and was still shaky on my feet, I walked through the wet autumn grass at the side of my home. Our dogs, Gloria and Daisy, no doubt frolicked nearby, frolicking being among their core competencies.
When you’ve been sick awhile, you tend to think about your life. You tend to find the great, yawning chasms where your dreams had once been. I had stared deep into these chasms and come up with a doozy: I needed to write, and I needed to write now.
Fueled by this sense of urgency, I trompled through the grass and flicked my attention heavenward. “Okay, dudes,” I thought, addressing the otherworldly ambassadors assigned to my case, “I need a group of writing friends, and I need them now.”
Half an hour later, I went indoors and dove into the current of the Internet, where I accidentally found myself staring at an ad for a blogging class led by a bright and shining stranger.
I hadn’t googled writing groups, blogging classes, or anything else vocabulary-related. I’d just been reading an online magazine, and bam.
Like most people, I’ve grown a thick, scaly armor of cynicism at the sight of advertisements. But this one was different. Immediately, I felt a shimmer grow in my gut. I felt my bones leap in my flesh. I’d done enough intuitive readings for others in my past to know that I should not dismiss this.
The class was slated to start in twenty-four hours. One credit card number later, and I was in.
Liv’s class was incredible. She promised that blogging would be life-changing, if we stuck with it, and for the past year-and-a-quarter, I have: through thick and thin, illness and health, spaciness and clarity. My posting schedule has been erratic, but my passion has never waned.
And don’t even get my started on the friendships I’ve developed: Best. Thing. Ever.
Life-changing? Yesh. Oh Yesh. The answer to my “Okay, dudes” prayer.
I owe this, in part, to something special in Liv, an unnamable quality that draws together bright souls, fixes us all up with hot chocolate, and lets us get on with our dreams — together.
So here I am, in Liv’s group, Project Light Year. No analysis of cholesterol levels. Waist-to-height ratios are left at the door. Resolutions, we’ve discovered, are water-soluble: we’ve tossed them out to sea.
So far, we come as we are. We bring words and art, cracked veneers and failures, and hopes and dreams that are gasping for light. We bring ourselves — we are enough, and then some.
We also bring the light. It’s a BYOL affair. Who knew?
Just yesterday, I introduced myself to the group via our Facebook page. Encapsulating oneself in a Facebook introduction is not easy. Cue my roommate, the anxiety disorder, and the task could have been postponed indefinitely (“Don’t get’er done!”).
But I mustered up my courage, gave my roommate a lollipop, and started like this: “Hello, hello! My name is Harmony. I’m a writer, artist, and animal communicator.” Then, I dove into my long-term challenge with illness.
Minutes later, another woman chimed in: “I’m an animal communicator with a long-term illness, too!”
In that moment, sparkles might just have floated before my eyes. Starry-eyed once again? Oh yes. I am.
Here’s to a clear and bright 2015 for all of us — animals and humans alike. BYOL, y’all, and I’ll bring mine, too.
P.S. Liv has no clue I’m totally promoting her program. (Surprise!) There are no affiliate links in this post.
P.P.S. If your heart is doing the shimmy-shimmy two-step at the thought of this group, I believe that registration is still open for a few more days, and I’d love to see you there.