Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Year Check In

First off, happy New Year, to all who have stopped by at this post.

I am not one for resolutions, and am especially irritated by goal setting exhortations from self-help types, so I will not incite you to improve yourself in any way, either by losing weight, eating less fattening food, quitting smoking or joining a gym. I've done all that, and it never lasts very long.

Instead, I am reminding myself today that "I am enough". I happened to be reading my journal from exactly one year ago today, and found an interesting entry. In it, I told myself exactly what I would be doing (before I had made steps to lead retreats) and where my real work lies. This may seem odd to you who know I lead workshops and have written books, and think that I must know what I am doing. But the weird thing is, it hit me only very recently that I am exactly where I need to be, and yes, I have been travelling on this path for some time now.

Having made a big move, built a new house and moved in November, it's been like living in a whirlwind. Once the dust settles, you look around and realize you are not in Kansas anymore. Yet where I am feels more like home than ever before. The gift of this brand new location with vast windows overlooking a white expanse of snowy lake, is that here we start anew. Here we live our dreams, the ones we can't put off any longer, the deeply felt creative life that has been calling.

I have given some thought to what the new year might bring, just not formulated any resolutions. Someone asked me what I wished for the new year at a party. I surprised myself by stating emphatically, Focus and Simplicity.

Perhaps these two words don't mean much to anyone else, but they summed up nicely what I want - more acceptance of what is, less distraction of desiring what I don't have, and generally, just focusing on what's unfolding here and now in front of me. (It's not easy, but it's what I want). Yoga helps bring me to a place of contentment in my body, and helps me focus on the now. Meditation has been bringing me to a place of peace for over 30 years now. But acceptance of what I have has always been a challenge.

So, here is the excerpt from my journal that says it all about where I've been, where I am going, and where I am already:

Questions I ask myself - maybe I am too self-involved (to be a good mother)? Yet, the more balanced I feel, the slower I allow myself to be, for example in accepting Silence and Serenity as allies of the Slow Feminine, the better I feel. I still judge myself too harshly, and sometimes allow the fear of not being busy, outside the house working to confuse me. Yet, I KNOW MY WORK LIES IN THIS INNER WORK OF QUIETING, CENTERING, finding balance. (N.B. CAPS are because I can't believe I need to hear this again to believe it).

My inner research time will bear fruit, with patience; once I can live it, then I can teach or share it. I need to assimilate the self-care message - act it and not only speak about it - first. Find a gentle place to move, speak, and act from, and leave behind the harsh critic. Practice stillness, observe.

So there it is - my own New Year's message to me, written last year on January 8,, yet so timely for today.

Thank goodness for my journal, a rich record of my yearnings, longings, thoughts, passions and passtimes. My own silver mirror to see my deeper self in, as Marion Woodman calls it.

I can look back on the last few years, a somewhat painful journey, that brought me through a menopausal descent, and a resurfacing. A few years of searching, and shifting from writing poetry into working with women in workshops. I feel a sense of excitment about the new adventure, teaching a class entitled Time For You: Mini-Retreats, at the West Island Women's Centre, beginning next Wednesday.

Wish me luck, and if you join my class, we'll explore this gentle inner space together.


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