We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
I have been back from New York City about six weeks now, having returned to a busy December, catching up and settling back into the daily routine. As happy as I am to be home, I am doing my best to stay in a New York state of mind- reliving the ordinary moments and one of a kind experiences that made my time away memorable.
Deep dark December with the winter solstice and the seemingly long month of January are favourite times for me. Yes, the days are cold and short, but this time of year bids me to draw in, seeking warmth and connection and light. It’s a quiet time of hibernation that I love. It is also at this time that I think back over the past few months and wonder about the year ahead.
2018 was an eventful year. The world at large felt like a chaotic place. I must confess I had to scratch my head to think of positive things that happened in the world given the corrosive blend of polarizing rants, untruths, and gloom that characterized the year. However, I happened to come upon a site through the Centre for Social Innovation listing 99 great things that happened in 2018. *There was much good news that made the world a better place. We just didn’t hear much about it or notice it.
And that is often how our own lives are. Life isn’t full of good news or not so good news. We hold both in our lives at the same time. Last year contained surprises and disappointments, sorrow and joy, laughter and tears. Yet even difficult circumstances revealed uncommon grace. Someone would quietly offer support through a kind word, a note, or practical help; the timing of some events seemed to unfold miraculously without any outside help; and challenges offered a path to closer and deeper relationships. It was all there- waiting to be noticed.
At the same time extraordinary events seemed to happen effortlessly as if according to some master plan. Such was my adventure of living in New York City- an experience I could barely imagine at the start of the year and which kindled a sense of wonder and awe I had not felt in some time. The year ended splendidly on December 31 with the marriage of one of our sons to a young woman who is clearly his soul mate. What a joyous occasion to embrace our family with hers and end the year on a high note!
It was a year of limitless possibilities-some in disguise, some fleeting, some presenting themselves in unexpected ways, but always available for the taking if I paid attention. Not always easy to do. Many times I was distracted and many times it felt as if my reach exceeded my grasp. Reaching for those dreams required letting go of unquestioned assumptions and my usual way of doing things. Challenges in my life invited me to do the same. Somehow, what once seemed so important and pressing, didn’t matter so much. And I found myself experiencing moments of knowing the place as if for the first time.
The gift of this past year was catching a glimpse of possibilities and realizing a few of them. Now, when I look back, I can see they were there in abundance.
I like to cling to the old comfortable ways more than I care to admit. It is easier, but perhaps not better. Uprooting to a different place forces us to see life from a different perspective. Living in New York did that for me. It shook things up in a good way, nudging me along to explore new territory, sometimes with apprehension, but also with a sense of exhilaration. The ultimate Oh no, Oh wow experience. It was a risk worth taking for which I am grateful.
What’s ahead for 2019?
For starters I want to think about a new adventure! Beyond that I do not know. Some great idea will present itself. I am easing in gently to the New Year so I can pay attention to those possibilities as they float by- which they surely will.
My wish-and I wish this with all my heart- is that the world become a kinder gentler place, a place in which we treat all individuals with the same manner and dismantle those walls of mistrust, fear, and ill will. If we start by being kind, we could change everything.
I wish each of you a year of possibilities filled with hope, abundance, joy, and brimming with loving kindness.
A great deal of very good news happened that made the world a better place in 2018. Here are a few examples I found through a link sent out from the Centre for Social Innovation: