Happy New Year! The phrase rings hopeful in our souls, at least I hope so. I offer it to those I meet, or when picking up the telephone, when writing a note. I express it, however, with secret intention, that I may hear it myself, resonating on a deep soul level. Happy New Year, love.
This last hiatus from blogging surprised me by its length. I have lived a whirlwind since early September. I won’t bore with details; suffice it to say, I offer no excuses—save “busy.” But a daughter’s wedding initiated the passage, and I smile with the knowledge, for her, for her husband, for their exquisite joy, and for finally reuniting with family and friends (outdoors!) after so long an absence.
Seeing grandson dressed impeccably as ring bearer, and granddaughters treating their duties with perfection, I am indeed hopeful for the future, where children respect time-honored traditions with grace and care.
I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful book, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, with commentary by Sister True Dedication. The strongest lesson (in my view) seems to be in learning to listen. How we fail, continually, to realize how “inter-being” we all are, that yin/yang does exist as an energy principle; that we can’t have left without right; that dialogue requires both listening (deeply, no interrupting or correcting—how often I miss the mark on this one!) and, careful communication. But to notice, at last, and intend to improve is considered half the battle. Evidently and simply, the intention goes a long way toward expanding hearts, by opening those of both, if invisibly. It slows the zero to sixty-mile-an-hour round of insult and injury peppering our public discourse these turbulent days. So, “slow down,” as a mantra, might serve. One technique I hope to remember, is to practice breathing slowly while listening to someone—yes, in effect, meditating.
Another mantra for my new year comes from scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16—Rejoice always. It may be true that much hardship accompanies our days, that much suffering has ensued during the pandemic, that we Americans are demonstrating massive growing pains in realizing our purpose, and while I may harbor a definition of that purpose, would shouting it from rooftops truly accomplish anything? No, not really. Again, breathing calmly while quietly rejoicing—read: practicing gratitude—may help. Nay, it will help. Anodynes abound, if we would but consider the possibility. And last (but never least), a smile, both inward and offered to those we happen to meet, even through a mask, the kind intent shines through. Happy New Year.