Friday, January 1, 2016

Incidents, Intention and New Years

On the easel
Time with it's minutes and years is a  completely human construct. Like countries, where no line marks the passing from one to another, so it is with years. Did you see a curtain being drawn on the old year last night, a door closing, a trap door opening? Me neither and yet I love the idea of a new year. It gives us humans the opportunity to contemplate what has passed and in that light, set intentions for the part of our lives that lies ahead. It's kind of a gathering and sorting phase. We look back before we move forward and in some way reflect on what worked and didn't and set our intentions for the future. It's like a magical, internal decluttering process. "Let me give this part of my life to the thrift shop. I'll hang that idea in the back closet. And I'll put that practice in the top drawer."

In a way it really is all about taking time in a larger way to think about our intentions and then see how we might really act on them. Lately I have been working a lot with specific meditations that encourage me to see myself and the world in new ways, to trust in the greater intelligence that we are all part of.

Walking The Fields
As we step into this new year I wanted to share two things that seem important to me right now.  The first one is this quote from Joseph Campbell that a friend sent to me. It seems like such a good, overarching attitude to life:

“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
"Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
From "A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living"
Path To The Sky
The other piece that seems important to me as I look forward is that whatever wonderful thoughts and inspiring quotes we read, to make any real, positive changes in ourselves (and that's the only place we can effect change) we must "practice" whatever it is. It might be meditation or a gratitude practice but we must "do it" and we need to do it over a period of time for it to change us into who we want to become, whatever that is; kinder, more peaceful, more compassionate, happier, less anxious. So here's a lovely little interview between Rick Hanson and his son that offers us the encouragement to do something that contributes to our own well being.

Wishing you all a 2016 filled with lots of creative adventures, good health, and the practices that will fill your hearts with joy and peace. One of the things that has come up on my radar a lot in the last few days is gratitude practice. I plan to start and attempt to sustain 3 notes of gratitude each day.