Amid the ebbs and flows of a year, it's sometimes nice to step back and assess. This has been a year of deep change for me; both practice and life have shifted. Practice works to peel back the layers of story one by one. I've had the feeling lately, that practice has really gotten it's hooks in this year and took a couple layers off all in one go. The result is more vulnerability, honesty, and curiosity. How many more layers? How deep do the stories go?
There is maybe a natural feeling of ending and beginning as the days get shorter. Culturally, we're surrounded by reminders that our calender year is ending soon. It fascinates me to see the variety of expressions of how we meet this season.
I remember a few years back when the stand-up comic and writer, Julia Sweeney wrote a fake Christmas letter. And yet, while I cried with laughter at the absurdity of the fake family story unfolding, as Julia read the “letter” aloud, I was struck somewhere deep by how much more real it sounded than most of the annual Christmas letters I receive or the annual Christmas letter that I write.
So, although, I will still write a tally of my family's here and there of the year and send it out to the usual list, I have also written a second letter, with perhaps a bit more baring of softness, a bit more soul, and a little less story....though I could still pull out those photos of our family vacation...
Dear Friends and Family,I could say that I hope you’re all well and I do, but what does that mean. We all define wellness so differently. As for me, I’m still catching my breath. It’s been a year. I’ve been up and down so many times I’ve lost track now of which is which.
Amidst moments of fury, I found a current of strength that I never knew existed. I am myself and enough, just as I am. What a thing to know fully and viscerally! So where is the good or bad?
Amidst moments of angst, I found the love of true friends. The greatest gift is human connection without platitudes or posturing, a quiet understanding of the fallibility of people and a constant running current of support.
It is in the raw, unguarded moments that bonds are forged. By acknowledging my own mistakes and unawareness, my heart has been stretched in a way that makes so much more room for compassion. We each have our own sharp points and rough spots. In honest recognition of our own pains and strengths, there is no room left to judge where others sit. We sit where we are.
So, do I wish you a happy new year then? Perhaps. It’s hard to say what “happy” is. Maybe the best thing to say is that, in the coming new year, I wish you strength and the love of good friends, while in the eye of the storm.