Posts Tagged #new year

Happy New Year. (I’ve been bad.)

sketch image of hand with words

My first sketch of 2019

Happy 2019.
It′s started off rocky, and my heart is feeling heavy for reasons both external and internal. Familiar questions echo: bouncing from the global to the personal.

Why are our societal systems often so cruel to the most vulnerable, the most innocent?Why do we so often hurt the ones we love?
And me: Why can′t I always be direct, and open?
Why does the past creep up and put its grubby little fingers over my eyes, my mouth, my ears? Why do I often run when I need to face things?

So much is born in seeds of fear. This year I will do what I did last year. My best.
Sometimes good, sometimes, well, not so good.

Focusing on learning, and growing, and cultivating more love, more understanding.
More forgiveness when we fail, as we will. More celebration when we succeed in loving kindness, joy, compassion…let’s do this.
Let′s grow a better world, together.

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Running into a new year

photoThis morning while reading and reflecting, I came across a favorite Lucille Clifton poem:

i am running into a new year

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even thirty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me
–Lucille Clifton

“Yes, Lucille! Yes!” I found myself talking aloud to the book. (Okay, I know, I am crazy.) But she struck a nerve. It is so hard to let go of what I said to myself when I was thirty-six, (and forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight…) It is hard, sometimes, to love yourself enough to forgive yourself for not being who you once thought you might be.

It’s hard to accept your weaknesses as being part of who you are. But sometimes, your weaknesses contain important messages. Running from what I rejected in myself led me into deep confusion. And yes, I’m still confused, maybe I always will be. I’m accepting that as a weakness that helps me question the status quo.

I’m running into the new year, and it feels good. I’m focused on forgiveness and healing, within myself and in the wider world, too.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2015.

 

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On the edge

Tamarack frond suspended in ice, Burnet Pond, December 2014

Tamarack frond suspended in ice, Burnet Pond, December 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I lie on my belly on the asphalt sidewalk. It feels cold, even through my down jacket, but the pond has frozen overnight into such beautiful swirls and filigrees of ice, and the morning sun is skimming the frosty patterns in a way I cannot resist. And so I lie down to get a good look. This is a benefit to being older. When I was younger, I was stupidly self-conscious. I’d have worried about what a passerby might have thought, how dumb I’d look. But now I’m at that wonderful age, an age I am trying (when not terrified) to appreciate. Middle age.

I don’t care anymore what people think when I’m taking my daily photos. I contort to get the right angle, I twirl to get motion effects, I regularly lie down on sidewalks if the shot requires it. Luckily, I’m not old enough yet that getting up again is hard. Though I’ll admit my knees groaned in the cold today, and hey—who am I kidding? Odds are good that I’m past the middle, maybe well past.

The clock that runs like a crazy squirrel in my head sometimes runs away with me. I count down backwards. It’s less than 10 months until I hit the age my father was when he died. Or, more hopefully, in thirteen years and eleven months, I’ll hit the age my mother was, when she succumbed. Or it could be tomorrow.

I count the other way, too, to counteract the gloomy final ball-drop thoughts.

Lying on the freezing cold sidewalk, studying the tamarack frond suspended near the icy edge of Burnet Pond, I think of how life’s edges are always so sweet, and how maybe instead of thinking of being in the middle, it’s better to live at the edge, in a place of wonder and appreciation. I’ve been to the edge. If I focus that direction, it all comes into sharp focus. Every new season, every morning’s perfect slant of light, every shared smile, every ached-for kiss — fills me with light.

Two years and eight months ago, my light nearly went out for good, and just a stone’s throw from this pond.

I rise up from the sidewalk and stretch my cold legs, remembering. As I take one last shot, my iPhone dies in my hand. Right then, the light in the treetops across the pond flashes, catches fire—the morning sun is reflecting off the top-floor windows in the tower at Good Samaritan, just over the hill. I know from memory that the light is streaming through the wall of plate glass at the end of the hallway on the Cardiac Telemetry unit, where I stood not so long ago, wired up and monitored, gazing down at the greening canopy of Burnet Woods.

The day I didn’t die, but might have. Every sunrise since has been a bonus. Even so, frozen within me are ancient worries, hard-wired worries about death. But I’m alive. I try to stay right here on the edge, feeling this sliver of now.

Now. Here, and alive.

ice photo

Burnet Pond, December 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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