At the End of the Year (an excerpt)
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
From To Bless the Space Between Us, 2008, Doubleday.
Weekly we hear stories from around the globe of extreme weather events, environmental disasters, and social upheaval – often heartbreaking stories of flood, fire, human hardship and loss.
Inflation and economic uncertainty are the latest bad news stories to be stirring up fears for the future, and meanwhile, the horrors of the war in Ukraine have been going on for nearly a year.
And of course, COVID is still with us, now part of the New Normal that we’re all learning to live with.
I feel like these past couple of years have been a crash-course on how to live with uncertainty and disruption.
So how are you faring through it all? What have you learned along the way?
There have been times this year when I’ve felt overwhelmed by the sheer mountain of bad news and human and environmental suffering. I’ve had to work out how to hold my feelings of guilt and powerlessness.
But I’ve also noticed a growing change within. These days I feel more “at home” with myself, more deeply connected to who I am and the things that matter most to me - those things that bring a deep sense of purpose, connection and love to my life. My family, my garden, my home, my various communities, my yoga and mindfulness practices, Mother Earth. My Courage & Renewal work remains a central focus to my life, but today I’m less busy, less striving, less driven to achieve things, less of a perfectionist. Every day I feel a deep sense of gratitude. And also contentment (which sometimes can feel like a radical act in our achievement-focused culture). But there is so much in my life that I’m grateful for.
As I look to the New Year ahead, I’m delighted and excited to be part of a growing community of talented Courage & Renewal practitioners here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and the new opportunities for personal and professional development they will bring with them! I'll be notifying dates and details of upcoming events early next year.
Meanwhile, I’m sending warm wishes to you for a joyful, restful, and connected Christmas break with your loved ones, and also the gift of some end-of-year questions as you reflect on the year that was and the New Year that lies ahead:
What gifts did the year bring you?
What have you loved and learned along the way?
What seeds did you plant this year? What came to fruition?
How has the year changed you?
What do you choose to carry forward to the New Year and what do you choose to let go of?