We have passed the threshold and entered into a “New Year” by means of modern calendar. Personally, I would offer that a different type of calendar, aligned with the phases of the moon and the turn of the seasons would offer a more accurate turning point for the year. However, as our culture stands, this is the turning point we recognise and, truly, every point in time and space is a turning point in which we can choose to consciously enter something new.
So, Happy New Year to you all! Here we stand in 2016, facing forward in each of our own unique ways. Perhaps you celebrated with family, with friends. Perhaps you were in bed before the bells and awoke on New Years Day to your own kind of ritual. Perhaps you ignored the passing of the year as ‘just another day, like any other day.’ Whatever way you acknowledged it, it was sure to be in your awareness in some way. (Often in trying to avoid something, we actually bring it closer to ourselves).
The concept of New Year can be such a time of hope and resolution. It inspires us to look at ourselves and question what of our habits are serving us and what of our habits could be gently released and allowed to transform. It offers to us a fresh start, a chance to reflect and contemplate the passing of the previous year and all it entailed alongside an opportunity to resolve to continue the things that worked for us and to lay to rest those that did not.
Our culture, fantastic and intelligent in many ways, can tend to be a culture of high expectation, pressure and speed. It may be worth digging a little deeper than the resolve you have made and inquiring into what motivates the resolve.
Is it realistic? Is there a subtle aggression towards yourself that underlies it? Is it, perhaps, the attitude that drives the motivation that needs attention and that, in giving it that, will be more likely to bring about more long lasting and sustainable transformation? Is it driven by love and compassion or by a part of you that feels you are fundamentally flawed?
What are the tiny, baby, minuscule day-by-day steps that you may need to take in order to achieve your resolve? What would happen right now if you turned toward yourself with absolute acceptance for all that you are and just felt what was present? What would it be to make a commitment to yourself and let change happen in its own timing through the gradual path of really getting to the root of what is going on?
Very often, we expend so much energy in trying to change something about ourselves with a motivation that believes we are fundamentally flawed, that we actually create more tension and an unsustainable environment for growth. We can build structure upon structure on top of the root of our issue, only to find, later on that the foundations will collapse again and again until they are addressed. In seeking a quick fix, the journey actually extends longer than the slow road of integration.
So, I have an invitation for you, and for me because I know I forget this too! The invitation is to make 2016 the year of being willing to return over and over again to what is present, to explore the underlying motivations for your actions and be willing address them within a compassionate and loving holding.
Along the way, things that will be helpful will be to cultivate a good inner support system as well as an outer support system.
Inner supports can be to remain playful – a sense of humour is so important. There are two sides to life, the dark and the light. Both contain gifts and it’s important to remember each side without becoming too caught up in one over the other; to practice self-forgiveness again and again because we are human and we will make mistakes; to be willing, just be willing to be with whatever is there and to know what your resources are, it is no use digging deep if you will drown; Make sure to develop tools that help you to find your ground so you can develop your foundations in the midst of challenging times; Believe in yourself; learn to work with and communicate healthy boundaries.
Outer supports can be to make sure you spend enough time in nature as well as respecting it; surround yourself with enough of a community that supports your growth and lets you be you (there will be times, for instance with family, that this is not so possible and this is why the inner support system is so important – to know who you are in the face of those who do not affirm it); nourish and develop your passions; learn to communicate healthy boundaries and develop healthy relationships.
These are just a few invitations and supports that will be helpful along the way. Remember that everything has its own timing and the most important thing is to be where you are, not to try to live what you think you ‘should’ be. When you allow yourself to be as you are, the flow of life opens up within and before you and life can happen from a place of authenticity, integrity and joy!
Sending you all much love for this New Year and I look forward to seeing you in class!
‘ON THIS DAY ..
May you fall madly in love this year .. in love with someone who unhinges your tired trajectory, in love with a spouse of several years who might be aching for lightning, in love with demanding children and crazy relatives .. in love with the particular pedigree of genius insanity that has perhaps claimed you in spite of your reluctance .. and certainly in love with an animal, a cloud, a redwood, the wild .. these at least once a day. May you fall in love with this fragile jewel of a world, with hard work, real learning, just causes, petitioning and prayers. May you fall in love with wonder itself, with the grand mystery, with all that feeds you in order that you may live .. and with the responsibility that that confers. May you fall in love with heartbreak and seeing how it’s stitched into everything. May you fall in love with the natural order of things and with tears, tenderness and humility. May this be a magnificent year for you. May you fall deeply, madly, hopelessly, inextinguishably in love.’