2021 is coming to a close and a new year is upon us. It has been a difficult ride. The world is undergoing a huge transformation and as all change goes, it can be painful and grueling. How do we bring about a positive outcome? How do we shine the light in places of darkness? As I contemplate the details of these questions, I continue to get one simple and consistent answer.
Love is a powerful energy.
It drives us to do things we would never otherwise do.
It lifts us to the highest elevation.
It makes us feel invincible and free.
It gives us unbounded courage, and catalyzes changes, always for the better.
It leads us to new horizons.
It breaks down limiting barriers.
It takes us on exciting adventures.
It gives us clarity where there is no understanding.
It dominates hatred.
It never discriminates.
It connects us to one another.
It ignites our passions and uncovers our greatest potential.
Love is the answer, the action, the direction, the plan, and when we follow its pull and embrace its power, we will always win and peace and happiness will inevitably prevail.
I hope in 2022 you all find the courage to be your best self, the strength to weather the storm, the trust to follow your intuition, and the wisdom to answer every question and action with love, wherever it may lead. Namaste and Happy New Year.
It is the winter solstice, the peak of darkness and at the same time, the beginning of the light. I hope this is a metaphor for the state of the world right now and for the arc of the pandemic. It is bad. Sickness is everywhere. Death too. I can’t help but look at it as if we are simply cells in the Earth body and She is cleansing, shedding herself of the disease for her own survival. Perhaps randomly, perhaps selectively. No one really knows.
The sun is rising and the traffic down our narrow winding country road is increasing. I am blessed to have the fortune to remain here in my warm and cozy surroundings, to be able to be home during the darkest day of the year in dark times. As the light begins to surface in the horizon, it dawns on me that this may be a time to surrender, to break down deceptive stories, and look at the shadows. A time to head into and through the fire with courage and conviction and dive into the watery depths with trust. For this is where the real magic happens, where the alchemy of change and creation is catalyzed.
As Christmas approaches, I am feeling the dichotomy of infinite hope and overwhelming grief that defines this annual ritual. It brings forth our individual and collective experience and asks us to have a look. It is as joyous as it is painful, as promising as it is desperate. It stirs our emotions and demands our attention, and though there are times when I would rather turn away, there is no escaping it. There are reminders in every direction. It seems to be a necessary rite of passage, at least in my culture.
In recent years, the burden of carrying forth this tradition has at times seemed unnecessary and burdensome. (My children have grown and not yet had children of their own.) However, I have come to realize that from a different angle, it is actually an opportunity, a chance to consider and feel the lives we have lived up to this point, the decisions we have made, the blessings bestowed upon us, the hardships endured, the mistakes, the victories, the light and the shadows. It is a time to let go of our grievances and past grief and to decide who we want to be moving forward. It is a time to count our blessings and give thanks for all that illuminates us. It is a time to contemplate who we really are, apart from the story we tell ourselves. It is a time to feel deeply and forge ahead bravely.
As I look up from my computer to the view outside, I notice the sun has replaced the darkness. The traffic is in full swing and life is marching on. I realize that I am on the right path, that my efforts to be my best self for a better world will pay off. I feel a sense of assurance as my heart lightens, and I realize I am simply witnessing a natural cycle, a dark point that will again return to light.
In addition to honing my skills and understanding of the deck, this practice offers me the opportunity to look more deeply at the direction of my life, contemplate the choices in front of me, and increase my self awareness. Yesterday, I picked the two of Wands and its message was particularly timely and on point.
Ever since last week’s blog about the importance of creativity, I have been thinking about ways to break out of my comfort zone and attract new experiences that will be more fun and expand my imagination. I have been making lists of activities I’d like to try and places I want to bring my inner artist as suggested by Julia Cameron in her book, the Artist’s Way.
It occurred to me that I had already started to experiment with a few new endeavors, like painting with acrylics while following a Youtube tutorial and concocting a variety of vegan dishes from a beautiful new cookbook I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Both of these undertakings have been fun with surprisingly good results, and even though the outcome has been better than expected, I am realizing that the real reward lies in the process.
According to Cameron, we all have access to an unlimited supply of creativity. As children, we are open and able to easily tap into this source. Then, as time goes on, we become blocked by limiting beliefs and experiences and have an increasingly hard time conjuring up our imaginings.
Most of us have a tendency to fall into repeated patterns and sink deeper into what is familiar. We seek out comfort and avoid pain. This past year, in response to the pandemic, we found ourselves shrinking into an even more limited existence with less stimulation and interaction. The grooves of our daily lives got deeper and smaller.
This week, as the sun continues to grow stronger and the world opens up, it feels like it might be time to break free and move into something novel and more energizing.
One way to do this is to make a list of new places to see and things to do, and then begin checking them off, one by one, even if they are outside our comfort zone. Having a regular and consistent time for these adventures is optimal as is doing them alone. It is also important not to focus on the outcome, like discovering the perfect destination, becoming an expert tennis player, or learning to play the guitar in 2 lessons. The process is what counts and it is what will attract more creativity and expand our experience as we continue down the road.
The 2 of Wands was a perfect pick because it encourages us to choose adventure over comfort. It tells us that envisioning our dream is good, but living it is even better. I love this advice as I am in the process of making plans for a few different experiences this spring and summer, like taking surfing lessons, mountain biking on one new trail each month, traveling to some local towns that are unfamiliar, and continuing to paint weekly. I have already planned a summer trip out west and have signed up for a beginner golf clinic.
Stepping out is scary, but once we do and let go of the outcome, I believe our imaginations will grow and soon we’ll be tapping into unlimited ideas, expanding our minds and having a lot of fun in the process.
This weekend, my boyfriend and I watched a documentary called, “Long Strange Trip,” which followed the Grateful Dead band from their beginnings in Palo Alto, CA to their eventual expansion as a worldwide phenomena. It was informative and inspiring and as we plowed through all 6 episodes, something notable began to happen.
We are musicians and before Covid hit, we were playing out regularly at a few local bars and restaurants. Our setlist was growing and we started bringing in other musicians and expanding our sound. It was always fun and the performances motivated us to dig deeper, practice harder, and experiment with new ideas.
Once everything shut down and we were restricted to playing alone in our own space, we lost motivation. We tried recording some videos and posting them on social media, but it just wasn’t the same. Eventually, we found ourselves practicing less with minimal enthusiasm.
Recently, we have felt a spark begin to re-ignite as the pandemic wanes and the promise of more abundant live music emerges. We have been looking at new tunes and considering a variety of styles, and after nearly a year of rest, something feels novel and promising. It is a growing ember and we are hoping that the flame will catch soon and we’ll be on our way again.
The documentary was perfect timing.
One of the most interesting parts of the story was the Dead’s innovative approach…to just about everything. Not only did they merge several styles of music (bluegrass, blues, folk, R & B, jazz, classical, jug) into their own unique form of improvisation but they also had a singular approach to handling the business of the band. Instead of following the conventional models of other popular acts, they created their own methods, allowing the journey to unfold and the long strange trip to come alive. Instead of focusing on making money or selling lots of records, their goal was to connect with their audience and create something together, something that was fun and free form, and that’s exactly what happened.
Innovation and creativity are strong values for me and so, this type of story gets me going. It makes me want to tap deeper into my own potential and find ways to allow more of what they had to flow through me.
As I began to think about ways to do this, I remembered a book I had read many years ago called, the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it, she points out that everyone has an unlimited creative potential. It is part of our birthright. As children, our connection to this source is vast and unblocked. We easily move in and out of unique imaginings and creative experiences. We are open. We observe. We experience. We create. Then, as we grow and move through our lives, our creative essence is slowly eroded by society until we reach a point where we can no longer find it. Sometimes, we can’t even remember having it.
Cameron’s book helps those committed to discovering and recovering their creative power begin to unleash this buried gift. She has several techniques like writing morning pages to drain out distracting thoughts and tap into more wisdom. She also talks about planning a weekly “artist’s date” in which the reader takes their “inner artist child” out on a playdate, seeking new adventures and mysteries. All of the experiences and observations gathered are added to our ideas reservoir and become resources for our imaginings. I also believe that when we seek out fun and joy, we find our true selves and in this discovery, our creative potential opens up.
It appears that during the pandemic, my ideas reservoir had been running dry. I had limited social interactions and not a lot of places to go and things to see. I had plenty of valuable walks in the woods but that’s where it ended. My access to new sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes was limited. My imagination felt dulled, and I was not bringing much to the music.
Now that I have been vaccinated and the world is opening up, I plan to begin “stocking the pond” again and scheduling a “weekly artist’s date.” I am already a daily journaler and will continue that with the intention of clearing the way to my inner creative self. I may even commit to following the program outlined in Cameron’s book.
And as I think about the lives and accomplishments of the amazing Grateful Dead band, I will listen to more innovative arrangements, spend quality time with my guitar, work on new approaches to a variety of musical styles, write regularly, focus on fun, and take my hand off of the wheel, allowing the journey to unfold. After all, there may still be a “long strange trip” within me, waiting to be born.
While on a recent walk with my friend, Mary, the topic of spring came up and we began to express our excitement about the coming of warmer and longer days, the re-emergence of plants and wildlife, more access to fresh air, increased outdoor activities and the general hope that always comes with the season. We shared our enthusiasm for all that was springing forth this year and discussed how it was that much sweeter after enduring a year of pandemic.
Mary went on to tell me that over the weekend she would be heading to the nursery to buy some pansies to plant in her yard. She said it was something she did on the first day of spring every year and that it was a bit of a ritual, a way to welcome the new season, a response to its beckoning.
The idea of ritual has come to my mind recently as I work on refining the services offered through my business, My Soul Purpose Project.(click here to begin manifesting the life you desire: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/). I facilitate the process of connecting with inner wisdom in order to manifest one’s fullest potential. I work with moon cycles, dreams, the Tarot, soul journaling, and other practices that use ritual in one way or another.
In addition to the benefits of grounding, encouraging mindfulness, reducing anxiety, fostering connection to oneself and others, and improving physical and mental well-being, ritual also helps us tune in to our values and connect with others who share the same beliefs. It helps us to focus our energy, to build habits and organize our efforts. It promotes creativity and gives credence to our commitments. It is a celebration of the things we love.
The aim of my business is to help people create a life of happiness and purpose. Once we identify what is most truly desired, we move into the art of manifesting which involves belief, envisioning, writing, repeating, and embodying the desired outcome. Thoughts and words are a good way to begin, but in order to bring an idea to fruition, we must feel it happening, see it in our mind’s eye, and believe it to be true. Ritual adds power to these practices through focus, repetition, creativity, connection, love and fun. It helps to propel our wishes into action.
The first day of spring was on Saturday and so far the temperatures have continued to rise and the sun has been shining. I decided to go to the nursery myself today and buy a crate of pansies to plant in the yard. They were a variety of colors and seemed eager to burst forth in their new life. I brought them home, thanked the Universe for the wonders of spring, the beauty of these tiny flowers, and the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and then I planted them in a container by the front door.
As I stepped back to admire my work and reflect, I was reminded of the miracle of life and the unlimited potential available to us all at any time. I could sense the importance of taking the time to tune in and create rituals around all that I love and cherish and especially around the things I’d like to manifest. I felt hope that whatever challenges we face in the wintering of our lives, we will be offered a new beginning, a second chance. Spring.
I suspect I’ll be reminded of this each time I pass by the planter and I sense that the more attention, thought and feeling I give it, the more likely I will be to attract more of the same. When I look upon the expanding pansies, I’ll be reminded that whatever we put our attention to grows and the rituals we create will help magnify our gratitude, allowing us to celebrate that which we hold most true.
I had a ski accident about 5 years ago which left both my knees a bit tangled and out of sorts. My then husband and I were beginning our adventure on Mont Fort, a monster peak at the Verbier Ski Resort. It was our first day out and shortly after starting the descent of one of her highest peaks, I began a turn prematurely, my knee twisted and the skis did not release. I tumbled a good distance before digging into the unforgiving terrain and stopping myself from plummeting any further. I was stunned and positive I had done some significant damage. After several minutes of deep breathing and regrouping, I realized, injury or not, I had to make my way down the rest of the run to the nearest lodge, and so I did, heart beating and mind engaged in pleading prayer.
After a good while inside, my body settled and although my knee felt assaulted, there was no pain and it appeared the injury wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I was able to make it down the rest of the mountain, continue skiing, and even finish the two week trip with a reserved approach and determined spirit. When I got home and finally made it to an MRI, they found only a bone bruise, but I knew deep down there was more to it.
I mostly recovered by the summer and was able to resume my normal activities. I thought I was out of the woods until a few years later when everything got worse. My knee began to hurt and swell after my daily runs, and so I did what I always had in the past, I tried to push through it.
I have been active all my life and even in rare times of injury, I would recover within a reasonable amount of time without too much intervention. This time was different. At some point, I realized trying to whip it into shape wasn’t effective and so, I started to nurture it. I went to the doctor and began physical therapy. I stopped running. I iced. I rested, and still, it wasn’t getting any better. After several more months, I decided to see a surgeon, but the news there wasn’t promising either. I was told that I had natural wear and tear and would need to live with it. Surgery most likely wouldn’t help.
As I reflected on the reality of my situation, I began to realize that my knee may never again operate at full capacity. It may require continuous care. I may be limited and forced to make more calculated choices about which activities I chose to pursue. The process of maintenance and recovery could be slow and I would need more persistence and patience in all of it. I may need to accept the injury as a loss and treat it as such. I might be left with a permanent scar that I would be forced to carry forward.
I understand that life is not always easy and we can sometimes get hurt, and that even though the wounds can be healed, they never fully disappear. Instead, they become part of who we are and color the fabric of our character and our lives. I began to consider that instead of trying to overcome or deny the injuries, we can own them with confidence. We can move forward with pride for what has been endured. We can honor the lessons learned and be grateful for the significant ways they have allowed us to grow.
I went skiing this week for the first time in a while and had a wonderful time. I had to change many of my normal behaviors like racing down the hill and constantly challenging myself on difficult terrain, but I realized that there were other new blessings coming forth. I was more focused on taking my time and skiing on slopes that were more comfortable and fun. I was relaxed and felt more tuned into my body and what it needed. I didn’t have a need to compete but instead was more social, interactive and appreciative.
As we all begin to emerge from the Covid pandemic, we will no doubt have some scars and parts of our life will be injured in certain ways. Instead of looking at these hardships as blemishes, perhaps we can reflect on how they have changed us, how much we have grown and evolved, how much has been added to our character, wisdom and perspective. Perhaps we can begin to see ourselves in a new light, as we emerge from the wreckage much stronger and more beautiful.
I am a musician and since the pandemic hit last winter, I have been unable to perform live. I play lead guitar and sing backup vocals in an acoustic trio called Wendy Darling and the Lost Boys and over the years we have built a following and secured gigs at a number of local restaurants and festivals. The live events are always a lot of fun as are the practices leading up to them, each giving birth to an abundance of laughter, cheerful conversation, delightful consumption, fluid movement to the music, and an overall relaxed and joyful experience. Working and playing with the band has added a great deal of happiness and play to my life.
Over the course of the quarantine, however, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain an energetic and creative musical practice. Where at first, we tried new approaches like putting out Youtube videos and sharing material through GarageBand, these methods eventually got old and punctuated the absence of the brilliance that can only be captured through live interaction, the interplay of sound, ideas, emotions, surprises, and improvised reactions.
I have felt myself falling into a slump and have had trouble regaining momentum.
A couple of weeks ago, I confessed my growing disinterest to my guitar teacher and he quickly offered me a book he said would help re-energize my approach. The book, called Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch, outlines the benefits of using play to ignite passion, creativity, and progress. He gives examples of renowned musicians, artists, writers and inventors such as Beethoven, Bach, Picasso, da Vinci, M.C. Escher, Van Gogh, Einstein, William Butler Yeats, and William Blake, all who have created in this way. He talks about opening ourselves to divine play (known as Lila or Leela in Hindu philosophy ) in which we surrender our consciousness and need to control the outcome and open ourselves to whatever inspiration may come through. This approach allows us to tap into the spiritual collective and ultimately, join it with our own individuality to bring forth new and unique ideas.
As distribution of the Covid vaccine moves swiftly and the world begins to open up, I am beginning to see the point as it applies to my life. I am realizing how much play time I have been missing. I miss performing with my band in front of a smiling crowd. I miss travelling, get-togethers with family and friends, team sports, parties, farmer’s markets, festivals, walking downtown with a street full of people, eating out in a lively establishment, watching the latest movie in a sold out theatre, laughing my head off with a group of friends. When I think about my pre-Covid self, I realize when there is play in my life, I am extra productive, a better learner, and relaxed. I have deeper and more meaningful relationships and increased imagination and creativity.
I am only part way through the book, but I have already begun to approach my daily guitar practice differently. Instead of making a to do list and going through the scales and songs with mechanical effort, I have been allowing the process to come forth. Some days, I play whatever happens to be on the music stand. Other times, I take a band standard and try it with an entirely different guitar tuning. I experiment. I create. I dance. I play.
I am finding that all I need to do is show up and allow myself this opportunity, to lose all inhibitions and bring forth that which makes me happiest. I am beginning to regain my enthusiasm and new ideas and accomplishments are starting to surface, just as Nachmanovitch promised.
As the pandemic cloud lifts and we are able to get together in larger groups, there will be more opportunities for play, and I recommend taking them. There may still be a period of waiting before it is safe to rush out into the world, but even now, we can begin to approach all endeavors with the child-like perspective of fun, surrender, curiosity and joy. We will certainly be happier and we may even discover a hidden treasure or two.
Since the pandemic hit nearly a year ago, I have been keeping a low profile. I have stayed home most of the time, starting an online coaching business, visiting with family and friends over zoom, learning to paint through Youtube tutorials, expanding my cooking skills, exercising to online classes and watching countless Netflix productions. True, there have been some new insights, habits and skills gained, but at this point, I am eager for life to return to normal.
So, when my daughter who lives in NYC asked if I could come for a brief visit to drop off a guitar and celebrate her 27th birthday, I jumped at the chance. She said that NYC restaurants were open for indoor seating at 25% capacity and many had adapted by building outdoor heated structures that were separated with temporary walls. She said to wear a mask at all times, follow the same protocol I had at home and I’d be fine. As I began to think about the details, however, I got a little nervous. What would the City be like in the wake of Covid 19? Would it really be safe to walk down the street in such confined quarters? Where would we stay? Should we plan to eat outside in the middle of February? Had I made a bad decision?
When my boyfriend and I first arrived, we were struck by how little traffic there was. We had both driven through these city streets on a number of occasions over the years, and this was a stark contrast. In place of cars, there were hundreds of electric bikes, most making deliveries of groceries, meals and numerous other goods. Some were even pulling trailers. There seemed to be more bikes than cars and it felt a little unsettling as the traffic rules for this growing culture were vague and chaotic. It was a bit of a free-for-all and we found ourselves looking over our shoulders and around corners constantly in order to avoid these speeding delivery vessels.
My daughter lives between Murray Hill and Gramercy near the Lower East Side and we were able to find a hotel within a 30 minute walk to her apartment and a 15 minute walk to where we would be having dinner. We had stayed at this hotel before so we felt comfortable booking a room there and the cost was nearly half what we had spent in the past. We settled in, regrouped and then made our way to dinner. My daughter chose a chic Indonesion/French restaurant in Nolita and we decided to try the indoor seating because well, it was cold and we wanted to get the full culinary experience.
As we walked, we began to notice a number of empty storefronts and many makeshift structures jutting out into the street so that clientele could sit outside to enjoy their meal. Many were charming, garnished with clever decor and seating pods separated by plywood walls and plastic entrances, a testament to the innovative and resilient spirit of the New York culture. Modular heaters accompanied each space and although eating while dressed in winter garb, the diners seemed cozy and relaxed.
We enjoyed a first class dinner in a nearly empty restaurant with all the amenities and accoutrements one would expect of a fine NYC establishment. It almost felt normal until we got the bill via an app on my cell phone and did all the paying and tipping without making any further human contact.
It was a decent walk back to my daughter’s apartment, but the weather had cleared, we had eaten well, and the visit felt too short, so we offered to accompany her home. We were only a few minutes into the walk when things began to feel different. I had visited my daughter before and walked through these very neighborhoods, but now I noticed an increased number of vacant storefronts. There seemed to be a lot more graffiti and there was trash everywhere. (It may have been trash day or a result of the winter storms that had passed through, but I never noticed it like this before). There were few people walking the streets and as we continued, it got quieter and more desolate. Where there normally would have been hundreds bustling to and fro, there were only a few. True, it was Monday, but it was only 9 p.m. when we dropped off my daughter and headed back to the hotel, and the city was asleep.
As my boyfriend and I turned a corner, we paused for a moment to take it all in. I felt a weight in my chest and a realization of the extent to which Covid 19 had administered a devastating blow to this proud metropolis. I felt fear, grief, sadness and uncertainty. It seemed very clear in that moment that life would never return to normal because that’s not how it all works. We cannot erase an experience or even go on as if it hasn’t happened. We can never put it all behind us, because even though the phase of destruction eventually ends, it becomes a part of who we are going forward. And in that, I felt hope.
As I stood there looking at the boarded up storefronts and the moon under a brightening winter sky, I began to think about Pete Seeger’s song which was made an international hit by the Byrds in 1965 when it rose to #1 on the Billboard charts. The lyrics of the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, were taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. They rang true then and they ring true now.
“To Everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
New York City will rebuild just as we will all find ways to heal and redesign ourselves. We are creatures of adaptation and soon we will flourish again, as the cycle of life continues. Turn, turn, turn.
I had a remarkable experience this week which I’d like to share. I am a student of the tarot and as part of my recent practice, I have been drawing a daily card, setting intentions for the day related to the message and then reflecting at night. It’s a good way to gain insights into my life while enhancing my understanding and relationship to the cards.
I usually find the themes to have important and personal cues which guide me to areas of my life needing attention and often catalyze new ideas and insights. It is not uncommon for me to feel the Universe pushing or pulling me in a given direction or to hear my inner wisdom raise its voice.
This week, although I was not looking for help on any particular issue, the cards seemed to be asking me to stop and pay attention, and they were rather loud and clear.
Over the past four days, I have drawn the Hanged Man every single time. This is highly unlikely given the fact that I shuffle the deck fully and then cut it at different places before uncovering the chosen card. It didn’t seem that strange when the Hanged Man appeared for a second time. After all, coincidences happen and the interpretation made sense. On the third day, I thought, “how strange,” and by the fourth (today), I had no choice but to stop and take a closer look.
The Hanged Man card in the Tarot deck symbolizes suspension, detachment, letting go, and uncertainty. The subject hangs from a tree, tied by one foot. He is not free to go easily. Yet, he appears relaxed as if surrendering to his circumstances. His second leg and arms are not bonded and a yellow light emanates from his head, indicating intellect and spiritual development. The card is said to suggest sacrifice, a necessary step in the process of moving forward. Sometimes, the card asks for a certain action to be suspended. It tells us the time is not right to make a move. I have also read that the Hanged Man can represent a crucible, a situation or severe trial which leads to the creation of something new and improved.
I have been thinking lately about the pandemic and its effects on the mental health of our world. People are suffering or at the least being tried, physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. There has been enormous loss and challenging circumstances everywhere and on every level. The economy is wincing. Politics are dividing and in our isolation, we are being forced to face ourselves head on. There is nowhere to hide. We have been stripped of our usual escape routes, like busying our lives to the point of exhaustion and complete distraction. And although the situation is improving, there is no saying how much longer we will be hanging from the tree.
I have been noticing a growing pressure myself and like many, I feel the need to bust out, to make a move, to release the bondage, to battle with the cords that bind me, and to break free. Some days I feel unnaturally restrained. However, as the Hanged Man suggests, it may not be the right time to act. It might serve me better to relax into the situation and allow my inner light to mull, to grow and to strengthen. It may also be time to surrender to the restrictions and fallout of the pandemic instead of trying to resist. It seems the Hanged Man is telling me with certainty to accept what is and remain patient with life’s timing.
This seems to be a good message given the current state of the world and one that is hard to ignore considering the way it was delivered (drawing 4 of the same card in a row!). I may be more successful and the journey smoother if I hang loose for a time. If I allow myself to ride out the pandemic crucible with acceptance and patience, it’s possible I will emerge on the other side as something new and more highly evolved.
Christmas is over, the New Year is quickly approaching, and my mind has turned to resolutions and what I’d like to accomplish this year. I’ve had plenty of rest in 2020 and now I’m ready to go, but where and ….how?
Every year, the space between Christmas and New Years offers an opportunity to look at our life, evaluate our successes and shortcomings and dream up a plan for the future. What do I want 2021 to look like? What should I let go of and what would I like to attract?
As the thoughts and feelings swirl around my head, I am overwhelmed. There are a lot of goals yet unrealized and habits I’ve been determined to change but which continue to rest on my shoulder. Will this be the year that I figure it all out? Will I be able to shed my self destructive habits and move into my best purpose? I’m not sure.
I am in my 50s and have spent years studying how to access the subconscious for a better understanding of my inner beliefs and feelings. I have looked at ways to manifest my reality and techniques to steer my life in the direction of my deepest yearnings. However, I still get drawn into the liminal space of this particular week, the time just after Christmas and before the start of the new year, a time of suspension in which we have left something behind but have not yet entered into the new.
The concept of liminal space came to me yesterday while reading a lovely book I received as a gift for Christmas called Wintering by Catherine May. She talks about this “crossing over” time as a confluence of grief, uncertainty, doubt, and fear as well as excitement and anticipation of what is about to come. Liminal space is sometimes uncomfortable. The pandemic has brought it to the forefront and forced us to work within its confines. The result has provoked anxiety and fear. Yet, there has also been healing, blessings and discoveries, experiences and realizations we would not have found otherwise.
In her book, May points out that liminal space often accompanies periods of transition in our life, offering us an opportunity to reflect, to heal, to forgive, to redefine and then to design, to dream and to set intentions. The concept at its simplest tells us that when we empty or are emptied of something, there remains a space waiting to be filled. I believe the contents of this space can be influenced if not fully determined by our thoughts, efforts, and wishes.
It dawns on me that this must be the idea of New Year’s resolutions and that our ancestors no doubt felt the need to address this period of suspension and fear with productive planning. I have realized that entering the quiet or wintering period as May puts it, removes the daily static and encourages us to face our truths head on.
I have always been one to seek happiness, comfort, and joy, but I am realizing that these aspirations are only part of the picture. As I move into 2021, I have decided to try something new, to embrace the winter, to hold love in the space of darkness, to forgive the limitations and deflate their power, to feel the sadness and pain of loss and then to move through the discomfort instead of running away or shutting down. Perhaps, this will be just the approach I need to help me leap over the hurdles that have blocked my way for so long.