There’s one prompt from today’s group that I feel like even if I haven’t answered it directly, I’ve answered around it, so close to it, making lists of the highlights of my year, talking about what I didn’t want to forget, that I don’t feel like doing it again. It’s this: “7 Minutes: Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2012 in 7 minutes. Set an alarm for 7 minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2012. (Author: Patty Digh, with an extra 2 minutes from me [the Linar Studio]!)”
What’s the one thing you want to take with you into 2013?
This prompt is from Kat at I Saw You Dancing. Her summary of this first week of Reverb 12, her own answers to the prompts she’s been offering, the event she’s hosting, is really beautiful. You should read it if you get the chance.
The one thing I want to take with me into 2013 is my open heart. After so many years of keeping it locked up tight, trying to protect it from harm, I had it broken open, twice in a row. First I lost my Obi, and six months later, my friend Kelly. It was a painful and stark reminder of impermanence, that there are no guarantees, that I didn’t have time to waste. I decided to honor their loss, their lives by finally, really and fully living mine.
I had been sleepwalking, hiding, suffering, faking my way through my days, through my whole life, confused and afraid. That hurt, the loss, those traumas woke me up. The process started three years ago, but it wasn’t really until this year that I adopted the change as a way of being, determined that I was never going back. I don’t want to go back into my cocoon. I used to believe that it kept me safe, but it was a stinky, cluttered, lonely mess of a place.
The full prompt is: “The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” (David Viscott) What is your gift to give?
First of all, this reveals the origins of the quote on the picture I shared the other day. Someone had posted it on Facebook, and I loved it so much, I had to make something with it, but I had trouble finding who to attribute the quote to, (a few places even credited Pablo Picasso), so in the end I didn’t. Now we know: David Viscott.
My gift is reminding people of their basic nature–awake, wise, and compassionate–and encouraging them to embody it. Reality, the world, all of it is workable. Anything that needs fixing, anyone who needs help, we can be the someone to do so (even if the life we are saving is our own), we have the power, the means to make things better, to ease suffering in the world. We will struggle, but we are not alone, we are not lost. No matter where we are, no matter how bad things have gotten, we can start again.
I won’t sugar coat it, don’t pretend that nothing is sad or broken or irritating or upsetting or difficult. I’m not lying, or making up a story with a happy ending to make it easier to fall asleep. Hope is just as problematic as fear. I am sharing what is real and true: life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible. As Pema Chödrön says, “None of us is okay and all of us are fine.”
I encourage and inspire people to keep their hearts open. No matter how much it hurts, or how hard, we have to show up, soften to what is, stay in our seats, in our bodies, on our path. There is joy to be found, love to be given. Even in the worst moments, we can take a breath, experience freedom, offer kindness and feel at ease.
The full prompt: Hopefully you’ve had more than one spectacular meal in 2012, but what is the first that comes to mind? Were you surrounded by family at the dining room table? Sitting on a bench by the lake? Bring us there.
The feast I experienced this year was a month of eating while we were in Waldport, Oregon. Fresh seafood. Marionberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots from the Farmer’s Market.
Maple bars, Bear Claws stuffed with marionberry filling (*swoon*), cookies, and other luscious goodies from the Depoe Baykery. It was a really, really good thing we were walking so many miles on the beach every day.
My mom and aunt visited for a few days, and we ate very well. The full breakfast, spaghetti dinner, and venison stew were some of my favorites. At dinner one night with a group of my aunts and uncles, we were all stuffed from pasta, so full we could barely eat another bite but there was strawberry shortcake, so we were making the best of it, and at the same time, we were talking about food, other meals we remembered, special recipes (my grandma’s orange marmalade was referenced). I looked around the table with love and said “You know how I know y’all are my people? We are all stuffed, but still managing to eat dessert, and at the same time, we are still talking about food.”