Here we are in the first days of a new year. Congratulations! We have arrived and continue to arrive each moment. Ultimately it is the continuation of the day before, yet at the same time holds the presence of freshness, somehow. Reconciliation has been done with 2020. The resolutions we made, the intentions we set for new beginnings are still resting in the virginal snow glimmering in the sun. Our promises at this time of the year are like Universal callings that believe in us more than we may believe in ourselves. Newness is pregnant with aspirations and credence. We can now reflect on the teachings and gifts that came out of the challenges and pains of 2020. It is a perfect time to plant inner seeds.
Plant and water, but not watch too closely or invest in outcome. Simply trusting in the process is a powerful beginning. Taking heed to the actions of practice and letting space, time and trust take care of the bigger picture. Oh, and perhaps a little patience.
I suggested last week that it might be a good year to manifest luring questions rather than make concrete plans, since we are all still a little suspended in groundlessness. No better time to be creative and intimate with who and how we see ourselves in the world then now. What would it look like to take ourselves more seriously while simultaneously lightening up? This is a question that came up for me. When I struggle with it, I remind myself that gratitude is the mother of all virtues. That seems to open the doors for practices I need the most.
While in the process of writing myself a letter recapping the journey of 2020, I am quite surprised that for a year that ultimately felt like a stand still, I did a lot. Way more than usual in some ways. I bet you will find this too. Have you ever felt that you were too busy to get anything done? The letter of 2021 is an invitation to the unknown that feels quite open to possibilities. The overtone for the times blankets the need for compassion and non-violence now more than ever. However the weeks and months unfold, I will aim to welcome new mistakes but not repeat old ones. This proposal shall live between the lines and only be clear in the recap of 2021. Join me.
Another wonderful mindfulness practice from Plum Village is called Beginning Anew. It offers tools to navigate challenges or hurts with any difficult relations that may affect our capacity to understand or feel understood, cherish life or feel cherished. This practice can also be done with ourselves, as we are often not our own best friend. If you want to know more of Plum Village's many wonderful practices that leave me smiling and grateful, you can visit https://plumvillage.org/extended-mindfulness-practises/
One of my favourite recorded shares of Beginning Anew is with Sister Dang Nghiem at Deer Park Monastery at the end of 2019. I may have even shared this once before but it is worth repeating.
Sr Dang Nghiem is a remarkable dharma teacher who gave up a medical practice to become a nun and is the author of Healing and Mindfulness as Medicine.
From our sun kissed winter garden, stay blessed, stay resilient, stay in touch.. for this all too shall pass.