As we enter this new year, I notice I feel pressure to be hopeful and optimistic. Because vaccines are here! And a new president is on his way! And 2020 is officially done! All of that is true, and yet neither the past nor reality change just because we flipped the calendar. We still carry with us everything that came before and much remains unknown. I’m reminded here of the quote by Rilke about living our way into answers. I think we’re all doing that – with the unfolding of every day, every year, we are living our way into answers.
I also want to quote three stanzas from John O’Donohue’s poem “For a New Beginning” because I think it’s relevant as we continue to progress into this new year. He wrote:
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
We are finding our new rhythm this year. A year that will continue to challenge all of us because as you know, the pandemic has not ceased. Nor has there been a return to normal just yet. Businesses remained closed or at reduced capacity. We are still encouraged to keep our distance from one another. But I find comfort in O’Donohue’s words as well as Rilke’s as I remember more will be revealed. We will learn how to navigate what waits before us. Furthermore, we will continue to dream our dreams, which I think a new year is always best for. It’s when we envision what we want for ourselves, who we want to be, how we want to feel.
I want to feel better. I want to feel rejuvenated. I want to live in a world that values all people as well as the environment. And I know I’m not alone. There are many people who feel the way I do, which I find encouraging. To add some more oomph, I want to close with a quote from my spiritual teacher who said this back in 1957:
“The purport of dharma [meditation] is to look upon every person, every object of this universe as one integral entity. To jeopardize the unity of the human race by creating factions is not the purpose of dharma. Those who encourage vested interests survive on the mental weaknesses of people and their dissensions, and that is why they are scared of the spread of the ideals of dharma and exhibit their intolerance toward it in all sorts of immoral ways, such as abuse, false propaganda, and lies. People must not be cowed by this; they have got to march ahead. It is to be borne in mind that hindrances are beneficial to human beings on the path of righteousness and to continue to fight against them is what is [their practice].”
Amen to that. Here’s to a year where we continue to fight against injustice, a year where we sow unity over division, a year where we ferret out lies and replace it with truth. A year where we continue to march ahead, a year where we live our way into answers, a year where we build a better world for us all.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.