” Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us. ” -Anne Lamott
And so ends this tumultous year.
I wake before 4 AM and crawl out of bed. My body can only be comfortable for so long in one place and with an earlier bedtime, this early rising is inevitable. I don’t mind really. The lights are still twinkling on the tree and the fire is aglow. The silence is what I crave the most.
I scroll through the gibberish that is on my device from last night. It gives me pause, these things I needed to get out of mind before sleep. I wanted to remember to write about them: Covid, magical thinking, Pemå, meditation. And also: our loss of innocence, living into the next chapter and an intention word for the coming year.
I agonized a little over writing a post. I keep getting tripped up by the idea that somehow there is a right way to do this. A writers obligation is only to the truth. No one will be looking to me for advice. The best I can do is to pass on the wisdom of those who know better and share what I know to be true and helpful for me.
Others have eloquently written about letting go of the old and embracing the new. One thing is certain this year: we all have our stories. There are the things that touched us, that surprised us, things that gave us hope. There are the things found and there are the things lost forever.
I’ve already shared my yearly ritual of writing down those things I wish to be free of, burning them and sending the ashes down the river. It feels liberating to tell the truth of my life, and to have some recognition of what no longer serves me. In my moments of weakness may I remember and may it be so.
This past year I returned over and over again to Pema Chödrön’s book: When Things Fall Apart. It’s the closest thing to an instruction book, a map, a navigation through change, that I have found. It seems profoundly relevant in these extraordinary times . I could explode this post with a dozen quotes but instead I will offer as a suggestion, that it might be a helpful book to read.
Okay, maybe just one quote for now, she writes :
“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.”
Maybe this has helped most of all.
The greatest gift for me in this Covid year has been a commitment to my practice. Without Covid, there would not be the daily connections and the shared space for evening meditation. Together but apart. I look forward to my time sitting with others in silence. These past months I have such gratitude and I hope it will continue deep into the new year. I am leaving room for not knowing but also holding space for hope.
I sit here this morning recognizing that there are things lost forever. Who could have imagined that nearly half the country, (family, friends and neighbors included) would continue to show support for such a godless and morally bankrupt man. I don’t understand what is at the root of that divide but it has come at the expense of our innocence. Seventy million people chose fear over hope, hate over love, indifference over compassion. The striking thing continues to be how many people “privately” made that choice. It speaks volumes.
This is part of the leaving room for not knowing. Sigh. It’s not my job to understand or fix anything or anyone. My work is to stay in the moments and not add to the chaos. It makes me sad but my heart cannot contain it so I have to let it go.
I turned 59 at the end of November and began the last year of the decadence that has been my 50’s. Already, it has been full of fits and starts, but I remain oddly hopeful for this next trip around the sun.
Last year I chose an intention (word) for 2020. It was “acceptance”. It reminds me of the first part of the Serenity Prayer. “Accept the things I cannot change”.
I have in the back of my mind an idea that the ACTUAL word for 2020 might have been “survive”. As the hours turned into days and then months, it was important to let go of preconceived ideas about how I should do this. There was no right way. No map. No instructions.
I had hoped to journal through it (though a friend recently pointed out I had actually “drawn” my way through it) but the writing journal languished. I shared regularly here. I did the best I could and that has been enough. It has to be.
My word (my intention) for the coming year is THRIVE. I am feeling a deeper obligation to self-care. I have the luxury of flexibility and I have embraced this word with my whole heart. By definition, it means : to grow vigorously. And so I step into the new calendar year with a little extra swagger.
As further indulgence, I have chosen one blog post from each month of this year and paired it with one photo.
It is my review.
Thank you for all of your loving attention this year. I hope you’ll continue with me as I grow vigorously into this next chapter. May you be well, may you stay safe, may you feel seen and may you feel loved ❤