Saturday, December 29, 2012
So when you feel all the endings coming...begin looking for all the beginnings. –Ann Voskamp
I have a painting titled "For today, newly bright." Each day is new, and each year is new. True, it is an artificial delineation, but still a chance to begin again. This morning I will go up to my cabin in the mountains to spend the last days of the year reflecting on the year that is ending and anticipating the year about to begin.
I look forward to my New Year's Eve ritual. I build a fire in the fireplace. In the last hours of the year, I write a letter to the old year. I reflect on the year, on what I learned and experienced, on the themes of the year, on what I think I will remember. I thank the year for all the blessings it has brought.
Then I write a letter to the new year. I welcome the new year and share my hopes and intentions. I invite the new year in like a new friend, curious, eager to get acquainted, excited about possibilities.
I hold both letters as I say a prayer, once more thanking the departing year and welcoming the new year. Then I burn both letters in the fireplace as an offering.
In the final minutes of New Year's Eve, I pick a word for the following year. It is always a verb. It is not a resolution. My word is a focus word, a gentle reminder, a guide. I write the word on little cards that I place where my gaze is sure to light – by my computer, the bathroom mirror, the car dash. Throughout the year, my word is there, wherever I look. As the months go by, it becomes a part of me.
How do I choose my word? Sometimes I am pretty sure I know before New Year's Eve, but more often I don't. As the year comes to a close, I open my mind and heart. The word comes to me, like a whisper in my soul.
My word for 2012 has been "Shine.” The word itself has been a beacon to me, guiding me always towards the light, encouraging me during some dark times, reminding me that the light is always shining in me and all around me. In some very tangible ways, my word sustained me during the months of getting my book ready to publish. And in some very personal ways, my word helped me right myself when I stumbled over fear.
It is a word of faith, of hope, of joy, of promise, of transcendence. And it is a word of forgiveness and acceptance and love. As noted in the Bible and other wisdom teachings, the sun shines on the wicked and the righteous without distinction. So generous.
I’m grateful for my word this year, and I’m eager to find out what my 2013 word will be. When I get back from the cabin on the 1st, I’ll write a post and let you know. If you pick a word for yourself, I hope you’ll share it, too.
As part of my thanks to the departing year, I would like to say thank you to you. I started this blog in February 2010, not at all sure what I was doing (still don’t know), and with no idea where it would lead (still don’t know that either). But I do know this. I have been so deeply touched and humbled by the support and encouragement I’ve gotten from so many people. Through you and your blogs, I have received so much wisdom, inspiration, challenge, information, and lots of great fun. And as we all know, fun is good. (As the Cat in the Hat said, “It is fun to have fun!”) I am so blessed to be part of this network of people. You are such a gift. Thank you.
Best wishes for a blessed end of 2012, and a new beginning with unlimited possibilities in 2013.
[One of my favorite things about the cabin is that I am away from phone, cable, and internet, so I will be “unplugged” from today until I return on Tuesday. I hope you know by now that your comments are valuable and valued. Because I use comment moderation to monitor spam, there is a delay in the appearance of your comments, for which I apologize. Don’t let that stop you! Please leave a comment, and it will magically appear New Year’s Day as soon as I get back.]