At the closing of one year and the birthplace of another, I'm grateful for continued connection with all of you. Thank you for your presence in our shared practices, your friendly replies, and your generous receipt of my newsletters even when our in person meetings are few.
Today I'm reflecting on the fresh beginning that a new year presents and reminding myself that beginnings are available every day and in every moment. Still, there is something significant about putting away last year's calendar and opening up a new one.
Rather than making resolutions, I'm acknowledging all that supports kindness, vitality, love, and contentment in my life. In the spirit of asking myself how best to make space for these to flourish, I've looked at the landscape of my days and weeks with as compassionate an eye as I can muster. I've found spaces where more movement and meditation can happen for me, both self-led and offered by others. I've given myself a silent bedside clock so that my phone can stay outside the bedroom. I've rededicated myself to daily intentional practices of gratitude, recognizing that it's a blessing and a privilege to have the time, space, and resources to consider these things at all. And I'm holding in my bones the certain knowledge that no matter what happens, I am made of beloved stuff in every moment, just like every one of us.
For me this night is a quiet, restful one at home because that's the replenishment I need most right now. I wonder where this New Year's Eve finds each of you. Wherever you may be and however you observe this threshold time, I hope there is some soul food in it to bring along with you into the days ahead.
I'm grateful for a beautiful cup of tea.
It’s been a really full week since my return from a family visit to the prairies and, for me, sound sleep has been in short supply. Last night as we prepared for this next lovely adventure, a train trip to meet up with our dearly beloved son, I was starting to feel overwhelmed with it all. By “it all” I’m mostly meaning the list of tasks I believed I had to complete in order for “everything to be ok.” I felt my shoulders hunch up painfully and my neck and jaw get tight - and then I felt tired and unfocused and sat down with my phone (not one of the tasks on my list).
In moments like this, I realize I need to stop and look into what I need. It’s often some rest. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the years comparing myself to other people and coming up short in seeing my need for rest and quiet as a sign of weakness or a lack of motivation. More recently I’ve been reframing this need and honouring it as best I can as a wise signal from my body that slowing down now may prevent trouble later.
So, I looked over the landscape of the next few days and gave my regrets for a party I’d wanted to attend shortly after our train pulls back into the station tomorrow. I reminded myself that I can best show love to my family with wholehearted presence (and freshly vacuumed floors, a batch of cookies, and an organized spice shelf are totally optional). I let go of a bunch of stuff I’d arbitrarily decided had to be done before I left the house today. And I spoke up when I wanted to go back to the house 2 minutes after we left to make sure I’d turned off my bedside lamp.
Some mental habits are great thieves of joy. I celebrate the moments when I can see them and find other views and ways through. I’m breathing easier now. On the train, heading towards the apple of my eye, and grateful for a beautiful cup of tea.
Today I appreciated an unexpected offer of a ride across town. Conversation unfolded as we traveled tree lined streets and shared delight in the rich hues of leaves gracing branches and sidewalks. My kind companion said she had been walking in Gatineau Park the day before and I asked if the colours were at their peak. "The reds have lost their brilliance," she said, "but the yellows and golds were luminous."
This simple reflection on leaves tucked itself into my heart and I'm thinking about it in connection with embracing changes in our personal landscapes through the seasons of life. Trees bud and bloom, come into abundant green, and blaze with fiery tones. Then they relinquish their efforts - and rest. We don't expect them to stay the same from season to season and if we have the wisdom of my companion today, we find beauty in all their incarnations.
When we gather for practice, there's often sharing about adjusting to changes in our bodies, in our hearts, and in the circumstances of our lives. As we move through these experiences, we are also conscious of an invitation - an invitation to learn about how things are in this moment and find out what's possible now. What's more, to honour what's possible now. A mindful embodied practice calls us to discover the light of our yellows and golds, even as we recognize this season's passing of our brilliant reds. It calls us to cherish the gifts that have been while we keep eyes and hearts open to this moment's opportunities.