How I found a Soulmate and a 2019 New Year's Mantra
It started with an intention: "Begin again"
It ended with a new soulmate and my 2019 mantra.
My bedroom closet delivers an ongoing qualitative indication of my life balance. Acting like a counter glass barometer; the mess rises when life pressure increases.
The current reading was "bedlam" ahead. The mess was deep and high and I was leaning from the pressure.
TIME TO BEGIN AGAIN.
In an act of surrender to the chaos, the following quote became the first "to-be-managed" item. I found it perched on top of a box of old journals, unceremoniously written on a half-crumpled piece of steno pad paper.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Begin it now.”
As I stood reading amongst the clutter, the words evoked the same fire I felt when I first copied them. I grabbed the next thing in the pile; a journal dated 2011, opened it, and read the next words.
"Make yoga videos"
The fire went out as quickly as it started.
This year I finally did those darn videos, seven years after I had written the goal.
My inner critic erupted:
"Well, here's proof of your life-long bad habit of procrastination! When are you going to start accomplishing the goals you set for yourself?"
The battle set in motion; but, not for long.
PAUSE! I remembered. I knew better.
The critic will do battle as long as I'm willing.
There is power and sometimes magic in a pause. This pause had an extra dose of magic.
It steered me away from that well-worn path of self deprecation introduced me to a new soulmate and turned me toward a path where I discovered my 2019 New Year's mantra.
Here's how it happened . . .
Yes, it took me time to find the courage to share some yoga videos, but in the past seven years other work has been done; not the least of which is remembering to pause!
I examined the quote.
"Until one is committed . . ."
This past year, I continued a four-year tradition of choosing a one-word mantra in the New Year and using it to guide my thoughts and actions."Wonder!" became my 2018 mantra. I dove deep into the practice, staying open and willing to be surprised, actively cherishing relationships, new and old, finding delight in the everyday - even on my darkest days. Without my practices I would have been derailed and lost my committment along the way.
I WAS TESTED.
There were days and weeks this year when I struggled. My beloved dog died after fifteen years of loving and caring for him. His death ushered in thoughts of despair and hopelessness about ensuing losses. My Mother had two cancer scares. My old friend, anxiety, after years of being mostly absent with yoga and meditation, rose up, took a seat at my table tried its best to strangle and paralyze me.
I fought back with wonder and found it again and again. Reasons to be hopeful also rose - in nature, poetry, music, connections with my pets, people and myself. It was a transformative year.
"Wonder" set the tone for a new opening in my mind and spirit. It was a remarkable year; one where I started to accept and trust myself and let loose of my self-imagined ideals of perfection.
"All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred."
When I started to accept myself, I began to release my fear of rejection and to speak and live more authentically. My connections with others deepened, so did the connection with myself.
"A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way."
This year, due to unimagined encouragement and support from others, I tackled a 50-year wall of shame and watched it fall. The connections between my practices and my life became more apparent. My mindfulness and yoga instruction transitioned and became more connected to my own experiences.
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
This was the right time for me to find this quote again. Yes, boldness has power in it. The power is in our willingness to begin again, and again. We are not task oriented machines. We are human beings who set intentions, succeed and/or fail, learn and with wisdom and hope, start again. The ultimate wonder is in the human genius, power and magic of beginning again.
Maya Angelou recalls our inherent human wonder in her poem, "A Brave And Startling Truth":
When we come to it Then we will confess that not the Pyramids With their stones set in mysterious perfection Nor the Gardens of Babylon Hanging as eternal beauty In our collective memory Not the Grand Canyon Kindled into delicious color By Western sunsets
Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji Stretching to the Rising Sun Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor, Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores These are not the only wonders of the world
When we come to it We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace We, this people on this mote of matter In whose mouths abide cankerous words Which challenge our very existence Yet out of those same mouths Come songs of such exquisite sweetness That the heart falters in its labor And the body is quieted into awe
You can read the whole poem here.
Since it had been so long since I wrote down the Goethe quote*, I did a little searching for background information about him. I was startled to learn that the quote I thought belonged to Goethe, had been attributed to two authors. Some sources listed William Hutchinson Murray (1913 -1996) and others, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749- 1832). Though they were separated almost a century on this earth, the two men had an enduring connection.
Murray was inspired by these words of Goethe:
"Der Worte sind genug gewechselt, lasst mich auch endlich Taten sehn!"
Enough words have been exchanged; now at last let me see some deeds! (Goethe, Faust I)
The beginning of the quote was written in Murray's 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition. His was the first Scottish expedition in 1950 to the Kumaon range in the Himalayas, between Tibet and western Nepal. Murray's team sought the goal of climbing nine mountains. They covered over 450 miles of rough mountain terrain and climbed five.
The last couple of lines about boldness were written in couplets reminiscent of Goethe's works.
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Begin it now.”
As I began reading more about Goethe, I came to feel strangely, intimately connected to him. I found a couple of stories about him in one of my favorite blogs, Brain Pickings, written by Maria Popova. Goethe had multiple interests and advanced ideas that bordered on Buddhist concepts. One of Maria's articles incorporates selections of conversations with Goethe about maintaining a beginner's mind.
Goethe was fascinated by art and humankind. He was a prolific author of diverse works and became an intellectual superstar of the early 19th century, gaining celebrity status by age 25. Some called him the German Shakespeare. As I read his poetry, theories on color and about his love for clouds, our kinship grew.
When I was fine tuning my beginning blog paragraph about the barometer of my closet, I even discovered that Goethe had a keen interest in a barometer known as a weather glass. He so enthusiastically promoted it that it became known as the Goethe barometer.
I had no idea there would be a Goethe connection when I chose a metaphor about a barometer!
That was it. There are many people in my chosen family tree, Campbell, Angelou, Oliver. Goethe was different. I could imagine him as a soulmate to whom I could say - "Did you see the clouds yesterday? Weren't they spectacular?" because I know he would have been looking up too.
Thoughtful and soul filled connections connections are made of the stuff that enrich life keep it fresh, endearing and gratifying. They are part of golden chain that links the best parts of us.
In honor of Goethe, Murray and all of the connections that continue to stir my imagination and teach me how to navigate this precious life, I chose the word CONNECTION for my 2019 mantra.
May I feel connections in hugs, nature, pet cuddles, smiles, poems, prayers, flowers, clouds, juicy peaches and more.
May connections continue to teach and remind me that I am not alone.
May connections continue to remind you, dear friends, that you are not alone.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving." ~Goethe
Happy New Year!