My draft for today paled in comparison to this … Ring in 2015 with presence and delight and may the new year bring you golden days.
Originally posted on Soul Gatherings:
A New Year’s Eve Blessing
~ Teo Bishop ~
May you look back on the year,
and feel a sense pride.
May you remember the strength of your character,
the resilience of your spirit,
and the inherent worth of your being.
May you know that you are a part of an ecosystem,
and that your life is sustained
by countless other living things.
May you have gratitude for what has been;
for all that you have lost,
and all you have gained.
May you laugh at your mistakes.
May you forgive yourself, and love yourself.
May you be resolved to be more fully alive in the year to come;
more present in your body, in your mind, and in your heart.
And most of all, may you be blessed with unexpected joys,
undeniable happiness, and unending compassion in the year to come.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog…So this was the year that was – in numbers and comparisons. Perhaps more critically, whether view by one or a thousand – I’m grateful that we were here together. Happy New Year all..
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
My parents were a great-looking couple. More than their physical appearances – they looked vital, engaging life with much the same grace and rhythm with which they danced. Something remarkable happened when they entered a room – they flirted and laughed and played and delighted those around them. They did it differently, for in many respects they had completely individual life constructs and approaches.
And today marks the eleventh year since my dad has been gone. Eleven attenuated, inexorable years. Eleven years that have passed before I took another breath. To say I miss him is a cliché; to diminish that fact would be a lie. He was my touchstone, the person I sought out when I needed to talk ‘work’ or topics which I held most private. He brought me up short without hesitation and he delighted in my successes. He was the most loving role model for my sons when they were little. If they have integrated any of his values, curiosity, warmth, etc, they are the better men for it.
We listened to John Philip Sousa marches when we went into work together. He would try to excite me about the book he was reading – whether it was about the life of a cell or the biography of some vague historical figure. He read the New York Times on the subway, folding the paper in that efficient way that commuters did that allowed them to hold on to an overhead strap simultaneously. And he would occasionally look over and laugh as he saw me nose-to-armpit with another commuter. We would always drive in the next day.
The words I spoke at his funeral were buried with him. Somehow I felt that they really didn’t matter to anyone except him. And with him gone, there were some thoughts that I would never utter again. And yet, I speak to him in some way or another every day.
This morning Bill Wooten @ drbillwooten.com posted a poem (re-printed below) that felt like it was meant for today and for me – as if my dad and I were walking down 82nd Street in Jackson Heights, heading for Shelley’s bakery. As if he were still reminding me to look past that which disillusions me and find the aspect that brings a greater calm. He is always here though he has been gone for so very long. He is the lump in my throat. He is the secret in my heart. He is the presence I seek in the subtle gestures in each day.
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and
if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or
have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be
careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every
day, and if you can source your life from God’s presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” — Oriah Mountain Dreamer, from the book ‘The Invitation’
So here I sit, on the eve of celebrating my 20th anniversary of being 40 – or as most people would say – turning 60. 6-0. S-i-x-t-y.
– Hello, how are you?
– Fine thanks, I’m 60.
How the hell did I get here already? Even my sister acknowledges that it’s a big number. She also assures me I’ll get over it. I’m sure she’s right, even if I can’t fully articulate what it is I’ve got. I understand that the alternative is untenable – so untenable in fact, that perhaps that’s my issue. I’ve lost my sense of infallibility. I’ve exited that period of my life (which lasted a very long time) where it feels that everything goes on forever – and I’m a part of that everything. Tom Stoppard writes that one should “[l]ook at every exit as being an entrance somewhere else”. Sounds right – I am just a little uncertain about opening that door.
Of course, if we’re fortunate and healthy and inexplicably blessed, we all enter phase after phase. And no beginning is without its challenges; it takes an effort to move from childhood to adolescence, adolescence to young adulthood, young adulthood to middle age, and so on. It’s that ‘so on’ part…
I still dance with an abandon that embarrasses my children. I still cry at romantic comedies, clap for Tinkerbell and keep my playlists relatively current. I was never known for being a night owl, so there’s been no concession there. Perhaps it takes a bit longer to heal if I’m unwell, but I have much more confidence that I know how to take care of myself. I don’t do ‘mom’ jeans. I’m still in search of the perfect lipstick, blush and the eye cream that really does wonders.
Perhaps that’s it – I still believe in wonders. In fact I think I notice them more than ever before. Wonder in the breath of the wind, the intangible, unbreakable connections that tie me to those I love. Wonder at how much more meaning my days have now that they have fewer requirements to dilute the attention I might give to the sun on my face. And while I marvel, I also realize how tightly I am holding onto this life. How much I love the moments as well as the spaces in between, when I breathe in the absolute sweetness of being a part of it all.
I guess I’m going to charge right into sixty, because that’s the door that is open to me. “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer” (Zora Neale Hurston). Whatever this year turns out to be, I know it will hold its own wonders. And I’ll be clinging just as tightly as I always have.