I realize that I am a little late on the whole New Year thing. It’s all just time, you know?
We have these regular big events in the cosmos–Solstices, Equinoxes, Lunar cycles, star shifts–and we parse our time in smaller parcels between, counting and marking cycles of days to give meaning to the patterns. I love observing the changes through those big and little rhythms, feeling my body respond to the shift of season, eating the foods the earth provides in her cycles.
In my part of the world, we make Resolutions, silly and serious. We make fun of ourselves for doing it; we get earnest and hopeful and empowered to make change; we rail against the practice as fluffy and cheap. I, for one, like the idea of making Resolutions, of challenging ourselves to strive, to be better people, to openly state our aims in order to support each other in our desires. I know people like to make a strong distinction between the two, but I really think it’s very similar to the practice of setting Intentions, openly stating what we want to manifest in our lives in the coming year.
One of the pitfalls of this thinking, however, is that the necessary self-examination for setting resolutions and intentions so often begins with a sense of inadequacy or lack that is very akin to shame. I’m too fat, I’m too lazy, I’m too disorganized, I’m too mean, I’m not right, I’m not adequate, I’m not sufficient. And when I start there, I get stuck in the–excuse me–pig shit wallow of self-loathing, and the paltry attempts that I make to better myself seem impossible. The blue sky is too far away. And I sort of enjoy it here, really.
But if I say that the process is too demoralizing and demeaning, and refuse to do it just because I might get stuck in the smelly place, then I never reach and strive, and the whole business of reaching and striving to be better is such a gloriously Human Ideal. I do want to be better. I just don’t want to start with the pig wallow.
And so, instead of saying, “I’m too fat,” I’ll recognize my sense of a need for change in my body, and fill my self with this Resolve: “I will to feed my body tasty healthy food and give it the gift of endorphin-releasing movement.” (Yeah, okay, haha, but REALLY!) Instead of playing that scratchy old tape of “I’m a disorganized messy person,” I am going to offer myself the Intention of “I am going to free my life of the clutter in order to free myself to live more fully with my family in the present moment, to free my mind to create and complete fulfilling work.” Instead of cringing, “I’m too mean,” I am going to give myself the gift of breathing through the tense and frustrating moments.
Mostly, I Resolve and Intend to Write. Write often, write more, write good stuff, write junk. That one worked really well for me last year. I’m going to see if I can surf that wave into this year, too.
I like to listen to my dreams, to bring into my waking life the words and images that appear on the slate of my unconscious in the night, especially during Twelvenight, the period between Christmas and Epiphany, those twelve days that catch up the 354-day Lunar Cycle with the 366ish-day Solar Cycle. Time out of time. A human construct, to be sure, and perhaps a little silly–we don’t know what to do with those days that mess up our sense of order, so we tuck them in there at the end of the year, and call them special. They feel more holy, more hushed, than the others, like a pause, a quietness. To me, at least.
I have been sleeping deeply lately, which is its own kind of wintertime blessing, and I don’t want to disturb that. The clearest thing that came out of my dreaming this year was the word Bridge. This will be my word for the year. There are so many questions to ask myself with that one.
And, last of the New Year Ramble, I invoke Ganesha. He’s the elephant-headed god of the Hindu pantheon. He’s joyful and twinkly and full of compassion and good humor. He’s the Remover of Obstacles. That’s some energy I want to latch onto.
1. Marvel and Wonder
2. Resolve and Intention
3. Powerful Dreaming
4. Removing Obstacles
5. Misty mornings
May we walk in Beauty.