We find ourselves again at the beginning of yet another year; fresh with the memory of those things left unchecked only a handful of days ago. There has been for generations, a practice of starting over; of pressing on, when the calendar adds another number to the growing stack of our days.
I have ceased making resolutions for some years now, as I realize that much of the energy around those that I did make was the weight of what I had left unfinished; in a sense I was dragging that weight into the new year hoping to make an old thing different. One of the significant aspects of letting go of “resolution-making” was the recognition that I, and I sense you may too, carry the weight of things I may not need to carry.
Certainly, there are always things that carry-over from year-to-year, but there are also those things we may not be fully aware of that we feel we need to resolve because they are undone. Might this shift into the new year be opportunity for us to consider taking things off a list, rather than adding to it?
The Quakers have a practice called “Way Closes” which refers to that common experience of having a door close on us: a job, a relationship, an opportunity. Our inclination is often to turn around and pound on the door to get back to that thing which is no longer available. The beauty and grace of the Quaker practice is to recognize that when “way closes,” all that is on the other side of the closed door is now a possibility.
I hear, in the blessing-poem below, words on/from the other side of the door. May they bring you possibility in your letting go of unnecessarily weighty things!
For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
John O’Donohue, from: To Bless the Space Between Us