Leading Our Lives

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I confess I’ve crossed the floor to open the door to 2017 with a wariness not experienced during my short span on earth, stepping with more of a reluctant trudge than airy leap, but still standing. Last year’s events did not portend a new year I’ve longed to meet. It has not signaled its desirability as a traveling companion for 2 days, let alone 365.

The knock has come and here is the new year, on my porch, waiting on my greeting. My impulse is to love it, as I always have, expecting the best, demanding nothing in return, pushing through my doubts and embracing it, trusting that this will flood me with tingling, joyful hormones and a happy ending. But this year, I’m hesitant, thinking about the fine line between a wise woman and a fool.

I cannot help but feel we’re circling each other, this new year and I, and I note the sadness welling in my heart’s response. I’ve always embraced my new years so genuinely; this inability to feel or sustain a sense of happy welcome makes me wonder what has been lost and how I might retrieve it. Or if I should. Sometimes, sadness needs remedy, but I think it can also signal a change that’s needed and grieved because we’ve had to release an “easier” way of being for the hard work of behaving more maturely. Wisdom is earned, not given.

So, how to proceed? And then a question occurs: Am I truly leading my life? Have I ever?

I think I’ve given my trust and adjusted the depth of my needs too readily, inviting others, including people and chance, to lead my life, because I feared abandonment, or a loss of friendship and companionship. Or I thought I’d become cynical, or develop a hardened heart and closed worldview. Now, I realize these aren’t necessarily the only options to taking back the leadership of my own life. Intelligent centering, and a kind of gentle seriousness call me to marshal my energy and disperse it more deliberately, and to intentionally ponder my choices.

 I’ve too rarely met the new with pronounced expectation or demands. I’m quite certain previous New Year’s Days have considered me a dim and slobbering puppy. “Hi! Wanna play? Oh, you wanna run over there? Sure! Let’s go!”   

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And so we would travel through the next 12 months, the year leading and I following, wagging my tail and slobbering.

But last year, things happened that changed me, personally, politically, globally, and eternally. Or last year, the lessons of a lifetime finally began to coalesce into practices I choose to acknowledge and follow. I am more centered and balanced. And ready to lead my life.

Now, I am an abbess and this life is my monastery, and I am unwilling to allow the year’s foolishness or misery to dictate the path my life will follow.

So I open the door and gesture the new year to sit at my table. I seat myself across from it and fold my hands upon the tabletop and look directly into its eyes and ask what it will expect of me and tell it exactly what I expect of it. It may slide out of its chair and shapeshift, but I will call it back, over and over, for 365 days, and meet it and demand, as many times as I need to, that it behave decently, that it treat those in need kindly, that it allow my monastery (which is everything I love, which is everything) to feel safe, blessed, joyful, and hopeful. Able to create what is new and necessary. I am older and wiser than this year.

We will be equal partners in the dance, this year and I, for I’ve learned how to organize, and to lead my life, and to control my precious time (and that I must, if it’s to accrue to a day and then a month, and then a year that I value). I have many gifts to offer, but they’re mine to give, if and when and how I choose. I am the gatekeeper now; this has not always been the case. Last year granted me an advanced degree of consciousness. I earned it. I claim it. I will put it to use. I will hold myself accountable.

Perhaps this new year will surprise me in wonderful ways. But it will not fool me. My heart will be open. But so will my eyes. My intuition has never been keener, my gullibility so restrained, my words more direct, or my needs so little.

I will even retain belief in the possibility that the year and I will part as friends, but that won’t be determined for 365 days. I am leading this life.

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A Blessing for the New Year

This blessing comes with the New Year

To remind you of your power

To say yes,

To say no,

To give,

To receive,

To begin,

To conclude,

To resolve,

To surrender to mystery.

May we be present to wonder

And equally to loss.

May we be beacons of hope

And harbors of healing.

May we be open to surprise,

Abundantly delighted,

And measured in judgement.

May we defend the weak,

And speak truth to power.

And when we are weary,

May Love guide us home

And send us forth renewed,

Scattering joy

And sharing gentle peace.

May we be the leaders

Of our lives.

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11 thoughts on “Leading Our Lives

  1. How wonderfully you express yourself! I completely echo your sentiments having similar feelings myself. I shall try to lead my life too, thank you for that blessing!xxx

    • You sure do lead a charmed life, Dina; your care for others and protective tenderness towards all life make you one of my heroines. 🙂 Received your beautiful card on New Year’s Eve and it delighted me. Thank you. Mama always said the way you bring in the year marks the tenor of the whole year, so I enter it feeling blessed in friendship. 🙂 Love to you and all in your world.

  2. I’m so glad the card arrived, goodness, it took it’s time winging itself to you. Lovely it arrived New Year’s Eve, we can both begin the year in friendship, you are far too kind re me, but thank you for those kind words.xxx

  3. Happy 2017 Kitty…Sorry it took me so long to respond. I have been living on the edge and holding on tight to a run away roller coaster and just trying to ground has been a real chore. I can only hope and pray and try to manifest a better year ahead. It is time for humanity to finally free itself from the political oppression we have been held captive by. Change in ANY form must come forward for without any change we do not grow. I just pray for positive change at long last. Keeping my fingers crossed. Quite honestly I don’t think things could get much worse than 2016 was….I’m still trying to recover. Let us hold onto the light and keep shining it in all the dark corners until we finally are bathed in the light of truth and freedom..
    I wish only the very best for you and Phillip and of course all of the 4 legged ones! A new and happy family again. Hugs to you all . Have faith! Sending 2017 love your way….VK ❤ 🙂

    • Thank you, Hollis; I hope you can move from the edge to a place that’s calmer for you. Thank you for your good energy and passionate heart. Gentle peace as the new year unfolds, and good friends to help you weather changes. 🙂

  4. I’m not quite sure how I even found you/your blog, but I’m glad I did – your writing is just lovely. In some ways I greet this new year with strength and assuredness, optimism; in others with a wariness you describe well. And in yet another, with a weariness that is far too early in the year to be feeling. But I may have to sit it down at the table like you have – give it a good talking to. Thanks for your beautiful photos, too.

    • Well, thank you so very much; how kind of you. I, too, have felt the weariness this year and (I hope) I don’t think it’s due to my age so much as I’m tired of feeling like I’m in a fight I don’t want to continue, or that too much constant vigilance is being demanded of us all, and I want to be able to trust that those who pledged to guide the ship will do so, justly.

      Looking at garden catalogues helps. 🙂 I hope you’ll be able to speak to your year with strength and eave the conversation in peace, 🙂 Thank you again for your visit and kindness.

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