Here we sit on the cusp, the rim, ready to tumble into a new year. Yes, time is only a construct, an abstract idea, and a moment like this, which may have once occurred on the Solstice, but is now unmoored from any cosmic significance, is purely arbitrary. Still, we give it meaning–collective meaning–and so it bears meaning. The world recognizes this as the moment; even if cultural and religious years end and begin elsewhere in the Wheel, anyone with a phone or computer will see the numbers change at midnight tonight.
Significance enough. And so, what do we do at beginnings? We review, we close up shop on the things of the past that no longer serve us, and we set goals and intentions for the coming season, something to pull us onward. For me, taking on the aspect of Janus, who looked both backward and forward, assessing past and future, enables me to live more joyfully into the present moment, with more abandon and satisfaction.
I know many people object to the setting of resolutions at this time of year. I know that resolutions can be hollow. They can be self-loathing. They can be shallow and lazy. I know. I know. But I like setting intentions. I NEED to review and reassess periodically, to look back at my life and say, “Yeah, actually, I feel pretty good about this. I want more of this. I want less of this.” I want to live less on autopilot, and more on the guiding of my intentions and intuition.
No, in all the years that I have set the intention of publishing another book, I haven’t yet completed that task. So this is the time to ask myself Why, and to check in about what keeps me from it. Is it procrastination? Laziness? Fear? Lack of self-confidence? Has it simply not been time for this project to be born?
I am happy to live my life somewhat haphazardly. It fits my nature. I’m a Leo, subject to the shifting fires of my creative ideas. I am an Enneagram Seven, enthusiastically picking up the next fun thing. A sanguine personality that flits like a butterfly between beautiful flowers. I need the freedom to pursue the passion of the moment in order to fuel my creative fires, but I can get lost (SO LOST) in the woods. So it helps to have a plan. And these moments in the turning of the Wheel, no matter how random or purposeful, offer me the chance to stop and breathe and look around before taking the next leap.
I do this with a look of deep compassion at the woman who has been holding on and swimming for survival for the past two years, and even finding some joy and hope in the midst of the angst and worry and rage. I HAVE been moving toward becoming my best self in the past two years, but I’ve been in survival mode, and I want to use the gravity of this moment to help gain momentum to move onward with intention and out of some of the ruts which I have fallen into.
So, here are some loose, but thoughtfully processed, intentions for 2022:
1. To breathe and stretch and move mindfully each day. Movement will mostly mean walking, and that will depend on how my feet feel. But I am going to keep the intention.
2. To continue shifting my morning habits to get back to more writing. (Oooh, that’s pretty loosely worded, but it’ll do to kick me out of the starting gate).
3. I’m still assessing my social media use. At this point, it’s a loose intention to be on the phone less. I’ve self-soothed a lot in recent months with daily puzzles (Sudoku and Blockdoku and a Scrabble-style Word game). Facebook and Instagram are also major self-soothers. I feel like the connections have been crucial mental health survival assistance during the pandemic, but now it is time establish new habits, to breathe into new changes.
4. To bring back writing and creative projects as my primary soothers.
5. To give myself grace, and grace, and more grace. To turn my compassionate eye toward myself with more intention.
6. To ask for help. This may be the year I actually find a therapist or life coach or spiritual director who can help me sort out some of the inner tangles.
2. Purple hair. Weirdly, it has lifted my spirits.
3. The earnest goofiness of squirrels
4. A Clean Slate, A Fresh Page, Tabula Rasa
5. Creative Projects
May we walk in Beauty!
Honoring Kwanzaa with those who celebrate it: Today’s Principle in the Kwanzaa celebration is Kuumba: Creativity.
“I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” —Michelle Obama, Becoming
“The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.” —Diane Ackerman
A string of beads has a thread running through all the beads, keeping them together. What we need is a thread too—of sanity and stability. Because when you have a thread, even though each bead is separate, they hang together.” —Sogyal Rinpoche
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” (From the Talmud)
“The earth has music for those who listen.” —George Santayana
“By our love and our need for love we become for one another midwives of the true self.” —James Finley
“Civility will not overturn the patriarchy.” —Mona Eltahawy
“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.” —Bryan Stevenson
“Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.” ―David Bowie
“In a political culture of managed spectacles and passive spectators, poetry appears as a rift, a peculiar lapse, in the prevailing mode. The reading of a poem, a poetry reading, is not a spectacle, nor can it be passively received. It’s an exchange of electrical currents through language.” ―Adrienne Rich, 1993
“A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you… where and when and how you are living and might live, it is a wick of desire.” ―Adrienne Rich
“More firebrand women. More dragon spirited women. More loud women. More angry women. More hard women. More intimidating women. More history-making women. More rebel women. More rebel women. More rebel women.” ―Nikita Gill
“In the teaching of history, there should be no undue emphasis upon one’s own country. The history of wars should be a small part of what is taught. Much the more important part should be concerned with progress in the arts of civilisation. War should be treated as murder is treated. It should be regarded with equal horror and with equal aversion. It will be said that boys under such a regimen will be soft and effeminate. It will be said that they will lose the manly virtues and will be destitute of courage. And all this will be said by Christians in spite of Christ’s teaching.
But, dreadful as it may appear, boys brought up in the old way will grow into quarrelsome men who will find a world without war unbearably tame. Only a new kind of education, inculcating a new set of moral values, will make it possible to keep a peaceful world in existence. In the future there will, after all, be plenty of opportunity for adventure, even dangerous adventure. Boys can go to the Antarctic for their holidays, and young men can go to the moon. There are many ways of showing courage without having to kill other people, and it is such ways that should be encouraged.” ―Bertrand Russell,
“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.” ―John Lewis