It’s hours before dawn and I sit here listening to a heavy Portland winter rain come down. The dog is asleep, the house is lit by the glow of our small and delightful tree. It’s dark, and we meet the Winter Solstice tomorrow. Soon after, we’ll cross the threshold into a new year. We’ll make promises and vows of ways we’ll be different. We’ll then lay out the year on a calendar – with plans upon plans, trying not to smother spontaneity. We’ve done this before. Maybe there’s another way.
I keep hearing words from David Whyte echo across my mind – “Start close in…” he says in one of his poems. I’m thinking of a different approach to the “new year’s resolution.” Start simply, and start inside. When I reflect on the vast array of days I met in 2015 (still a few to come), I’m amazed at how much can happen in one year. There were great highs and fearful lows, and surely many splendid ordinary days in between. Day by day, moment by moment, circumstanced changed – and I responded internally, and often externally. This is all that is in my hands – how I come toe to toe with the experiences of this human life.
Starting close in is as simple as stepping onto the mat and being willing to be teachable, being willing to cultivate an inner landscape that can weather the storms. The body and the breath relate, the mind and the heart relate – we practice staying in real time, not past or future stories. From this place, we become more clear – and it’s this clarity that affects our choices, and those choices that affect our future. Now, that’s resolve.
By all means, put Bali on your calendar and stay up late creating vision boards. I’m all for it. Yet after enough trips around the sun, you realize that plans can change – and if they do, how do you respond? Through practice there’s an inner flame you’ve tended – especially on the most ordinary of days, maybe there’s a you that is unshakable, ready to cross the threshold into the new year with curiosity and grace.
Maybe you see that by cultivating awareness, you can shift your course in simple and sustainable ways. Five minutes of meditation each morning can offer a more stable foundation that an hour of meditation each week. Creating mindfulness around how you eat can be more supportive to your well being than limiting what you eat. Start close in, listen for what will nurture a vibrant and also calm world inside you.
The rain continues to fall, and now my sweet pup is curled up at my feet. We plunge into darkness for another day. Then the shift, and more light. May we see the way ahead with a flame that shines from the inside. May we support each other’s hopes as we travel, and may we hold steady to the practice.
Always a great way to start the year, join Diana for a two-hour full spectrum vinyasa practice on January 1st 9-11AM at SE Belmont to honor where we’ve been, and cultivate awareness and curiosity around where we’re going. Open to everyone, this practice will inspire a graceful entrance into the year ahead. See our full lineup of New Year’s Day events here.