Swallowed with Fresh Hope
The year 2020 is in the books and the world is ready to collectively turn the page to 2021.
In this new year, with its promise for the end of our world wide pandemic, we step forward with fresh hope. It is time for letting go of what no longer serves us, gathering our wisdom, and setting our intentions for a new beginning.
In starting 2021, we begin with the hard-won insight from living in a pandemic for ten months. Our experiences will shape us as we move forward. We have been changed.
I can’t help but liken the experience of living through 2020 to a poem by a North Carolina poet, Dan Albergotti, from his collection entitled, The Boatloads.
It’s called: “Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale”
Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done.
Remember treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.
When the wheel turns to a new year it’s a natural time for self reflection, taking in account what has been and what will be.
But this year is different. While living in that metaphorical belly of the whale, much has fallen away and we all have been forced to examine how we have been living.
Before we turn the page to 2021, What wisdom has come from, as the poet wrote - “treading water in the center of the still night sea”.
What do you want to relinquish at the start of 2021?
Take a moment to reflect. PAUSE take a breath and
Consider what you might leave behind in 2020?
What parts of your life – what things, ideas, people, ways of living – have become obstacles to your becoming the person you want to be, the person you need to be?
Here is a short reading by Lois Van Leer to help you imagine the release.
Roar through my soul
Flame and fire and searing heat
Burn all my fears to ash
Now send your sparks up
On the breath of the wind
Up to the sun, moon and stars
Roads for my spirit to follow
Sweet, sweet release
Six years ago, I began a practice of setting a one-word intention instead of creating a resolution for the New Year. I have found this approach allows me to be more focused on meaning and purpose and on who or what I care deeply about, rather than on some fixed outcome. Here are the words from the past six years.
Little did I realize what threads would weave together to create the texture of 2020. I knew I wanted to challenge myself, experience more, learn, venture out of my comfort zone. What I realized is the peace I find in simple practices of being mindful and finding everyday gratitude were the threads that held the strongest and sustained me.
This year I am choosing the word MEND. When you mend something you take the time to care for it. It feels good to mend something and the time you spend creates a stronger bond. My 2021 vision board collage created from old magazine pages is pictured with this blog post.
I’d like you to pause and take a moment to consider a word or words that reflect your intention for this new year
Here are some to consider: Forgiveness, Gratitude, Mindfulness, Kindness, Compassion, Reflection, Commitment, Understanding, Awareness
As you consider, here’s a poem of hope from Rumi.
“Be a full bucket pulled up
the dark way
of a well, then lifted
out into the light.
Stars burn clear
Do that yourself, and a spring
Will rise in the dark with water
Your deepest thirst is for.” - Rumi
This New Year is filled with hope for everyone.
We have been enduring a long time of difficulty both personally and collectively. Yet, this suffering has revealed an indestructible spirit. I believe our experiences have created more compassion for each other and a resilience. I know we can mend the broken places.
Difficulties are never the end of the story. There is always a return of the light.
Let’s look upon the new year with hope, with curiosity about its many unknowns, and yes with new wisdom and courage that will help you navigate whatever comes.
In the words of Poet Pablo Neruda “You can pick all the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.”