Category Archives: New Year

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2015, kind and gentle reader. If you are like me, you are feeling reflective this morning. I’ve been in this funny liminal space, this in-between time for the past week or so. There was a big rush up to Christmas, speed mixed with a sense of rest and slowing down along with a dose of chaos — conflicting energies. In that in-between confusing time, there was also the energy of the coming leap into the new year. Rushing, being still, leaping forward. It’s exhausting.

And now I find myself pausing, contemplating what comes next, what I want for myself, what matters most. How do I want to spend my energy, my effort, my time in 2015? I’m spending some time today considering these questions. I’m grateful to those who have offered prompts and processes that can help.

Or, if you have no interest in answering questions, I offer you this poem, this wish, this prayer, this holy yes for your 2015.

God Says Yes To Me by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

#smallstone: New

badge-14Reverb is over, 2014 has begun, so it’s time for a month of Small Stones, a 30 day mindful writing challenge hosted by Writing Our Way Home. The way they describe it is simply to pay proper attention to one thing every day during January and write it down, share it. This is my third year participating.

newyearjournalAs the wind blows outside in the still dark of early morning, I begin a new journal. It’s the first day of a new year. Things are being cleared out and a blank page is waiting, a fresh start.

Many True Things and One Wish

New Year's Day SkyI know, I know–this post is supposed to be Three Truths and One Wish. But lately, it just doesn’t want to behave, doesn’t want to conform to the rules, and since my goal here is the truth, forcing it to be something it isn’t doesn’t make any sense. Today, what really wanted to be said is that in the past month, there have been practices that have helped me to get at the truth, to go deeper, to consider what has happened in the past year and contemplate what might happen in the next, and I really just wanted to share them with you, in case they might be of some benefit for you as well.

1. Truth: I am so happy that Kat of I Saw You Dancing decided to host Reverb12 this year. For starters, I now have another wonderful blog to read, one where I find myself constantly saying “yes!” and “me too!” as I read. I have entire conversations with her in my head, only a tiny part of which ever get shared with her in the comments. She is a kindred, and even though I am officially about half a month behind in posting responses to the Reverb prompts on my blog, I am so glad I took part this year, gained so much clarity from the process, and hope to again in the next.

2. Truth: Sarada’s New Year’s Eve Yoga class at Om Ananda, my favorite yoga studio was amazing. I attended this special event for the first time last year, and was so happy I did. This year’s practice was the same, the best way to say goodbye to one year and welcome the next: Sarada’s amazing teaching–her warmth and her wisdom, the light and warmth of the space (twinkle lights outside, candles on the window sills, the studio lights dimmed, the hum of the heater), my fellow practitioners, and the focus of the class (union, carrying the strength of the past into the new year, surrendering residual tension, moving forward with intention and love, opening our hearts and being present). I left feeling blessed, blissed, and so so lucky.

newyearseveyoga3. Truth: Reset. Revive. Restart. was so worth doing, and I plan to do it again next year. Sandi Amorim and Cigdem Kobu are amazing women and put together an incredible program. It’s over now (*sob*), and there’s a rumor that our private Facebook group will be shut down in another week, but I’m still in denial about it, am going to miss it so much. It was like virtual summer camp for grown up women. The good news is I can now restart A Year With Myself (another awesome program Cigdem put together), since last year I only got to about week 15 before I crapped out, (another year with myself isn’t the worst thing that could happen).

4. Truth: Signing up for the Open Heart Project, and then joining at the Practitioner level was one of the best things I did for myself this year, maybe ever. Today is the final day of a seven day retreat and it was such a good thing for me, to intentionally focus on reflecting, practicing and contemplating, to not jump ahead into next year or the next thing too soon. I absolutely adore Susan Piver, and the community that has formed around her, the practice and the project, is such a support to me, such an amazing opportunity.

shrinenewyears5. Truth: There were so many prompts and videos and posts and people and practices that helped me transition from 2012 to 2013.

  • Rachel Cole’s Wisdom Notes: Rachel has a quiet, gentle yet powerful way of leading you to the truth. This came at just the right time, and her emails were such a comfort and inspiration during the busy and sometimes stressful holiday season, the overwhelm that can happen this time of year. Her upcoming Ease Hunting promises to be the same sort of wonderful.
  • Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook. I did this last year too, and it’s one of my favorite New Year’s rituals.
  • Picking a word for 2013. This originates (for me anyway) with Ali Edwards, Susannah Conway, and Andrea Scher. Last year I selected Retreat, and this year it’s Freedom.
  • Andrea Scher did a really great post with a series of videos this year, A New Year’s Ritual, a short practice that you might want to consider if you haven’t had time for anything else.
  • Patti Digh offered Two Questions for the New Year, another practice you might still consider if you are short on time, but big on intention.

New Year's Day Sky

One wish: Neil Gaiman offers some of the best New Year’s wishes, so I will share his from this year as my wish for all of us, kind and gentle readers.

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

We think we are rocks, but we are gold.

image by Richard Reoch, click on the image to see a beautiful little video of the making of the dragon

I mentioned in a post yesterday that it was Tibetan New Year, Year of the Water Dragon. At the Fort Collins Shambhala Meditation Center, this is celebrated as “Shambhala Day.” Last night, a large group met at the Center, and while we couldn’t do the full, traditional Lhasang (smoke) ceremony because of high winds, and there were some technical difficulties with parts of the Sakyong’s video address, dinner from Mount Everest Cafe was its usual delicious and the company was good.

A few things from the Sakyong’s talk really stood out to me, are still resonating. First, as he was on retreat last year, he talked about how for him it was a year of knowing basic goodness, studying it and reaching a fundamental understanding. He feels this year, for all of us, will be a year of being basic goodness. For me, this reinforces my own path of retreat this year, underscores the importance of really knowing something before you can manifest it, embody it.

Dalai Lama and Sakyong Mipham at Shambhala Mountain Center

The other thing the Sakyong said is “we think we are rocks, but we are gold.” This phrase has been on repeat in my head, in my heart since I first heard it. I am utterly in love with it.

He didn’t mean that we should feel like we are special, or that we should use this information to build up our ego into thinking we are better or more important than anyone else. He meant that we all, every being, are precious, have basic goodness, and that our true nature is compassionate and wise.

We think we are rocks, but we are gold.

We could also say that we think we are rocks, but we are diamonds. Or that we think we are dirt or even shit, but we all are a seed, flower or vegetable or tree, we all have the possibility, the instinct and desire to grow, to manifest our basic goodness. We must know it, and then we must be it.

We think we are rocks, but we are gold.

Pema Chödrön and Sakyong Mipham

Then I read the latest post on Painted Path (seriously, are you reading this? Julia’s writing, poetry, audio posts, art, and beautiful self are not to be missed), in which Julia invited her readers to answer this question “What in your heart do you know you are meant to do?” and “Leave six words that give a glimpse.” Her own answer was “I am meant to shine light.” Mine was:

I am meant to open hearts.
Soul surgery, to help and heal.
Kindness and gentleness are my superpowers.
Wake up, brave and tender hearts!
We’re warriors of wisdom and love.
Our basic goodness is our birthright.
I am here to remind you.

Once I started, I couldn’t stop (see, even that’s six words!).

painting by Julia

We think we are rocks, but we are gold.

Be you.

Happy Tibetan New Year!

image from Shambhala Publications

Today is Tibetan New Year, Year of the Water Dragon. In a talk on Maitri, Pema Chödrön shared the following, “The Four Limitless Ones”:

May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
This first line refers to maitri.

May we be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
And this second line refers to compassion.

May we never be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering.
This refers to joy.

May we dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression and prejudice.
This refers to equanimity.

I think that these are good things to contemplate today, this opportunity to begin again, and may each of the four be limitless in your life, and may you know that. Happy New Year / Losar Tashi Delek!

image from Shambhala Publications

Day of Rest: Small Stone

image by tungphoto

Today, in more ways that one, I am jumping into the river. One way is I am starting a 30 day blog posting practice, The River of Stones. The simplest explanation is that this practice leads one to “pay more attention and fall in love with the world.” Each day, you “properly” and fully notice something, sink into the moment and really see and experience it, write it down and share it. Much of what you’ll notice–especially if you are as boring as me (I’m not complaining or apologizing, this kind of life is necessary to my sanity and my art)–is quite ordinary.

The key is to be here, fully connected with the moment, paying attention to the details of ordinary life. By taking care of ordinary things-our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth- we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair, we are expressing appreciation: friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything. ~Pema Chödrön

This seems like a really good way to start off a year of “retreat.”

Today’s Small Stone

Morning of a new day, dawn of a new year–the sky clear blue and wide open with a golden edge. A wisp of white cloud floats slowly south as my heart opens–to the day, the year, the sky, the light.

  • Good morning beautiful new day, beautiful new year.