I do not waste my time on resolutions anymore and quite frankly, I'm rather ambivalent about setting intentions these days. But I do like and value reflection. I was inspired by Sas Petherick's Top Nine and something she said recently:
"It is an act of revolution to ignore every single invitation to create a 'new you' this New Year."
So, in that spirit, I offer you my Top Nine of 2017. Happy New Year, friends and loved ones.
England: As a 14 year old, who had discovered and fallen in love with theater, Shakespeare and the band The Cure, all around the same time, I could often be found pretending I was British. So embarrassing. But, then again, being 14 was predominately embarrassing, so what can I say? Ever since then, it has been a dream of mine to visit the UK. For various reasons, though, I was never able to make this happen. Cue my late thirties and the realization that I really, really wanted to make this happen. And I did! I got to experience a little bit of London and a whole lot of the English countryside in Southwest Devon. It truly was one of the most nourishing trips I’ve ever taken. I hope to go back again.
Turning 40: It is such a milestone and there are so many expectations around turning 40. I felt almost ready to embrace the whole thing, when the power of turning 40 reached out and grabbed me. There was and is no turning back. I have been in awe of this number and this age. I have come into my own skin and found an unforeseen confidence in my own body and its wisdom. I wish I could say that turning 40 has been easy. It hasn’t. But with the struggle to come to terms with my age has come the inner power of self-knowledge and self-respect. Priceless rites of passage, I believe.
Leaving my teacher: In June, I decided to take a break from my Zen Teacher, and ultimately to no longer practice with him. For those who have never worked with a spiritual teacher, this may seem like no big deal, but for me, it was a turbulent and painful process. I found myself forced to face my own trauma and pain and to really and truly own it. It…has not been fun. I have struggled with many, many doubts. But in the struggle, I found my power. And it is a power that no one can take from me. It is a power that has been there all along and that I only thought I had given away. While I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, I am grateful for the opportunity to realize my own agency and the opportunity for transformation. I do wish that for everyone.
Yoga & Craniosacral work: With my Zen practice in a kind of chaos last year, I found much healing and stability in my yoga practice and in Craniosacral therapy. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to reconnect with our bodies. In our society, we tend to walk around like lollipops, with all of our attention in our heads. We have forgotten our bodies. It is amazing to discover how much wisdom already resides within us.
User Experience & Design: Upon completing an intense 90+ hour training in User Experience Design in 2016, I was reluctant to call myself a Designer. But my Design mentor, Sadok, did it for me and reminded me that when you practice Design, you are a Designer, even if its not your official job title. Okay then! But I might emphasize that I am a Designer in training and always will be. But that’s what I find so incredible about this path - there is so much to learn. A whole new world has opened up for me.
I saved a lot of plants: My back patio is rather packed at the moment. Mainly because I see people leaving perfectly wonderful potted plants by the dumpster and it horrifies me. So I take them in and do my best to take care of them. My favorite: a flowering maple that is now bursting with little red flowers.
Tassajara: In July, I took a short trip to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for a yoga retreat. Tassajara is a powerful place. That’s the only way I can say it. I go there knowing that anything I am trying to hide from, will be revealed to me. And that was indeed my experience again there, although, this time around I felt tender enough to receive what Tassajara had to offer. I savored the delicious food and enjoyed soaking in the hot springs, staring up at the half moon and the night sky.
Baking: Baking is life! Just kidding. But in a way, I’m not. While I have to be careful and mindful about the food I eat, nothing brings me joy like baking for family and friends. And I did a lot of that this year. Even making baked goods and giving them as gifts for Christmas.
Hiking: I am a wee bit obsessed with the Marin Headlands. I could spend countless hours hiking the trails there. And I have. There is nothing quite like being out on a trail, breathing in the sea air and being calmed by a walk through a grove of Eucalyptus trees. It is not where I live, but oddly enough, it is where I feel most at home.
What I’m listening to: First Light by Balmorhea