A New Year's Prayer

This year has been difficult on so many levels for practically every person that I know or have encountered, even if it has been for very different reasons...

This year gave witness to dramatic changes in peoples' lives and the world - punctuated by deaths, many of which were sudden or unexpected. Many souls moved on - and many more simply died to a way of life or some aspect within themselves...

I believe there has been a discernible shift in consciousness in some areas - almost as if a tipping point has been reached. Still, there is much room for awakening...

This year also witnessed many individuals charting a far different direction for their lives than originally envisioned - and not often by choice. Livelihoods were lost, as were sources of income, and communities were torn irreparably asunder. Many relationships ended as well...

For years I have marked transitions in my life poetically, or by making entries on this blog. My entries were not as regular this year, and I wrote almost no poetry at all. Somehow I could not give voice to the deepest experiences within, and there were simply too many of them to note. But I also chose to let go of a website that I felt was no longer representative of me, and was led to launch another.

As my own life changed course and more space and time opened up, I was lucky to have more time for interior practices and to go down to the river more regularly to meditate, and occasionally kayak, so that this year's challenges were really blessings in disguise..

I began to simplify my life and cut back in ways that would have been previously  inconceivable to me. Things that were once non-negotiable, lost its lure and because unimportant. A quiet walk through the woods behind my house gave me more joy than a receiving a diamond as a gift - and Lord knows, I've derived much pleasure from my diamonds!

I divested of much, material things simply no longer held me captive in the way they did in the past. I spent less, saved more, cancelled subscriptions, spent more time enjoying the company of a friend at Starbucks, than at a fancy restaurant for lunch...

I re-discovered simplicity, and yet still have a very long way to go...

That is not to say I would give up everything - such as travel - or the enjoyment of a fine wine - or an occasional indulgence in something, but this year I asked my husband and son not to get me anything but a Starbucks or Amazon gift card for Christmas (they ignored me anyway), and for my birthday last month I asked my son to cook for me at his place rather go somewhere requiring reservations weeks in advance...

Throughout all of this, I find myself experiencing greater detachment from things - but also greater equanimity...

I've been reflecting a lot on this coming year and what I want to focus on. My goals for the concluding year were the cultivation of greater humility, compassion, and simplicity...

I've considered keeping the same goals, for there is still much room to grow. But then I came across this "prayer" posted on Facebook, and I knew it summarized my deepest thoughts and desires. May the coming year and its opportunities, experiences, and challenges - enable me to truly embody this message:

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony.”
― William Ellery Channing

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