Happy New Year!
My annual new year’s post is a little late this year. Last year, I was a little early. My concept of time is generally elusive, but I do love celebrating the new year.
For me, celebrating the new year begins with the Winter Solstice. It is during that time that I begin to take stock of all the things that have happened during the past year, and honor both the dark and the light that I’ve encountered. Looking forward to January 1st, I start making a list of resolutions. I take down the list I wrote the previous year (which I keep up all year as a reminder), noting which resolutions I have succeeded in meeting, and those I still have yet to reach. I am a list-maker year round, but my list of new year’s resolutions is a very special list. It provides me with an outline for the next year, and it also gives me a definite checkpoint to see my progress from the previous year.
At the very beginning of last year, I re-connected with an amazing man who I had met only once before, several years prior. We decided to get together for dinner. Neither one of us had any expectations for romance, but sometimes life hands you an unexpected gift. By the end of our first time hanging out, we could not deny the connection between us; it was electric. Since then, we’ve experienced the kind of love relationship I had begun to think simply didn’t exist. We connect on every level – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. We treat each other with respect and treasure our time together. This is truly the kind of love that lights one from within, that lifts one higher, encouraging one to do more, to be more. He is kind and loving, stable and reliable, generous and giving. He is also very intelligent, passionate, and artistic. I feel tremendously lucky to have found him, here. There is a boundless freedom within our relationship, a kind of romantic-mystical encounter with the beloved. Needless to say, we will be celebrating our one year anniversary at the end of this month – a relationship milestone that seems too short a time for the depth of relationship we share. Experiencing this relationship has been the most unexpected and wonderful part of the past year.
I also had some other positive things happen in 2015.
I published my illustrated poetry chapbook, “Persephone’s Affliction.” This work is very close to my heart, and I simply love it. I think it is a very solid collection of poems and art, and I feel very proud of it. I’ve received some very generous feedback from people about the book, and the whole experience from creation to publication has been extremely positive. Since then, I have been working on new stories in relative seclusion which makes me very happy. I am trying to push myself a little further, to venture into new territory, and to delve deeper and expand my skill-set. I have also been thinking about putting together a new collection of stories, but right now I am simply creating. Publication is far from my mind at this stage, but it is nice to have a general shape in mind for a new collection in 2016.
About six months ago, I decided to leave social media in favor of spending more time working on my craft and decided to limit my internet activity to email, research, and my website. I confess that I have since had a fling with tsu, but my activity there is very minimal. Leaving facebook was a definite positive for me. First of all, I was not very active on the site, but I did feel a certain amount of pressure to be present, and to post things every once in a while. I strongly feel that being somewhat introverted put me at odds with something like facebook from the very beginning. I also feel that facebook really exploits their users in terms of privacy, information, and illusion, and encourages people’s tendencies towards egocentric and narcissistic behavior. My innate introversion, combined with a high sensitivity and empathy, would sometimes make facebook a harrowing experience. Just scrolling through the newsfeed could sometimes be too much, a barrage of information, a megaphonic void, a distorted window into other people’s lives, experiences, thoughts, opinions, pictures, etc, etc. It is not that I am insensitive, it is that I feel too much. It was difficult for me to shut out all of the pain, sadness, desperation, selfishness, bravado, hypocrisy, and egoism I’d encounter on a typical day. Finally, I didn’t really understand why I was using facebook in the first place, or really why anyone was. It began to feel like a well orchestrated distraction. I began to see social media as the new opiate for the masses. And though I know that millions of people are happy with facebook, leaving was the right thing for me to do.
Another positive thing that happened this past year was my return to yoga and meditation. This has been an ongoing process, and I am grateful that I have always found my way back to the mat. I feel like this return has also helped bring me back to my spiritual center. Recently, I’ve decided to reconnect even more strongly with my spirituality, and I have begun to attend meetings at a local Unitarian Universalist church. This religion is very different from my Roman Catholic upbringing, which I feel ultimately caused a disconnect between my feelings about church and god/spirituality. The Unitarian Universalist religion makes sense to me, and it seems like there is a higher level of thinking about things as present in the sermons and overall philosophy. I also like the sense of connection and shared feeling of community I’ve found there. I am looking forward to continuing my practice in 2016.
2015 has also been a year of devastation in some ways, especially as it extends to the world.
At the close of this year, I can only hope that where there is pain, there will soon be joy; where there is darkness, there will soon be light; where there is hate, there will soon be love; where there is sickness, there will soon be health; where there is hurt, there will soon be healing; and where there is war, there will soon be peace. Blessed be, to all beings everywhere.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!