December 26, 2021
Holiday greetings from a humble room in a peaceful monastery.
While talking to family and friends these last few days, I am amazed at how many had to cancel their Christmas dinners because someone is sick with covid or there has been exposure. I have a large family and half of my siblings had to cancel their family dinners. I like to believe this incredibly contagious variant is the beginning of the end of this pandemic. So this year you might find yourself with access to more quiet time than usual and join me for this exercise.
Before we start, I was touched by a message from Hopi Indian Chief White Eagle this week on the current covid situation. I will aim to take some of his wisdom onto the pages of my own practice.
"This moment that humanity is living through can be considered a door or a hole.
The decision to fall into the hole or go through the door is yours.
If you consume information 24 hours a day, with negative energy, constantly nervous, with pessimism, you will fall into this hole.
But if you take the opportunity to look at yourself, to rethink life and death, to take care of yourself and others, you will go through the door.
Take care of your home, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual home.
When you take care of yourself, you take care of others at the same time.
Do not underestimate the spiritual dimension of this crisis. Adopt the perspective of an eagle that sees everything from above with a broader vision.
There is a social demand in this crisis, but also a spiritual demand. The two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. Without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and futility.
You are prepared to go through this crisis.
Grab your toolbox and use all the tools at your disposal. Learn to resist by the example
of the Indian and African peoples: we have been and continue to be exterminated.
But we never stopped singing, dancing, lighting fires and having joy.
Don't feel guilty for feeling lucky in these difficult times. Being sad and without energy doesn't help at all.
Resilience is resilience through joy!
You have the right to be strong and positive. You have to maintain a beautiful, cheerful and bright posture.
This has nothing to do with alienation (ignorance of the world). It is a strategy of resistance.
When we walk in the door, we have a new view of the world because we have faced our fears and difficulties.
This is what you can do now:
Aspire for serenity in the storm,
Keep calm, meditate daily,
Make a habit of encountering the sacred every day.
Demonstrate resilience through art, joy, trust and love. "
This is one of my favourite weeks of the year when I will dedicate time to be still with the experiences that unfolded over the months. I have shared this exercise annually for years and continue to witness the medicine it bears.
For this exercise, you'll need only two sheets of paper, a canvas or dedicate a couple of pages from your journal to this reflection. Pens, pencils, markers or even paints. Anything that excites you to play with the elements of your life. Sit quietly with your favourite beverage in a room that allows you to be present to reflect on the year closing. Let your mind take you to it's highlights and lowlights and write them down. Collage them in no specific order and allow these points to land like blotters on your paper. Wherever they may fall. These points may have impacted your year physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. You may want to document heightened moments of joy or challenges, lessons or accomplishments. All the things that have entered the kitchen of your life. Whatever will help you embrace the year in a truthful wholesome overview. Handwriting is also powerfully therapeutic.
When your collage feels complete, sit with it for awhile and thank every item and person you've listed, even the painful memories as suffering comes as remarkable teachers in our lives. Ask yourself what you're willing to let go of, are grateful for and need to nourish. Start laying out goals and aspirations for 2022 on the other sheet. Lay down disciplines you'd like to hone, knowledge you'd like to attain, places or people you'd like to visit, relationships you'd like to flourish or heal and elements you'd like to give more of.
This exercise always leaves me feeling rich and grateful, because it’s not what we experience in life that forms us, but what we do with it. I have watched this practice encourage a cellular shift. When you're done, store it in a safe place where you can find it next year. It's always fascinating to see how much of our projections have been manifested, even if you consciously never think about them again.
We have been journeying together another full trip around the sun. Stay blessed in all you are and have a most remarkable last week of 2021. Feel free to share this exercise with others and stay in touch.
from Italy, with love a bow and a smile
ps. this letter was loosely edited, so please forgive any typos.
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