1. January 2012 23:37
A new year blows in.
It is a time for reflections, for setting goals, for renewal of your inner strengths and resolves.
I ought to be looking forward to the new year. I ought to be loathing the old year. I am not. 2011 was not all I wished it was. 2012 will surely come with it's own share of joys and disappointments.
As the calendar makes it's arbitrary flip, I see both change and continuance ahead. What I value from the year gone by is the strength in my resolve to change and grow, coupled with the strength of my resolve to remain true to myself and my cornerstones. Something happened this past year, something I don't fully understand. I've been dragged under, beat up, hung out, let down. I saw no options before me and fought another battle against the blackness of reckless uncaring of bureaucratic might. But this time, I faced reason and acceptance, not the blundering stupidity of a department run on self-certitude and armed with a brush of tar a gender wide.
In what felt like my darkest of days, I rediscovered my actual darkest of days. I reconnected the lessons I needed to survive. I rediscovered the art of listening to the stories around me to discern the tidbits I needed to hear. The tidbits that mean nothing to most people, but everything to me. Loading the truck. Skating on both sides of the ice. Little bomb, big bomb. The tidbits that have rebuilt and reformulated my soul. Lessons I sometimes forget at my own peril.
One of the tidbits is "talking in your mother tongue." One's language is primal. When in stress or crisis or passion, one returns to one's mother tongue. I once was assigned to watch a crumbled retaining wall through the night, to ensure no one entered the area and that it retained its structure until morning. A woman from Quebec lived in a nearby building and brought me the tastiest coffee I've had in my life. She was sweet, needlessly worried, and a joy to talk with to idle the time away. I learned the lesson when I discovered she could not add in English. She needed to see the numbers written down and then added in French.
"Talking in your mother tongue" means returning to your most primal actions. Your visceral reactions. When your mother tongue is to react with anger it will be the first response you turn to when you are reacting emotionally. It will always be the first thing. To change your primary reaction takes infinite practice and long-standing effort.
Change. Focussed, directed change.
I don't know if a secondary language can ever become as dominant as a mother tongue. However I know that I want a better reaction from myself than visceral anger or sullen withdrawal. I know to be a positive force I have to keep myself in a positive place.
My new year started a while ago. My change is continual for a while. My continuance is to keep being a better self. May 2012 bring along all the good bits of 2011 and build from there.
Happy Old Year.