IT HAS BEEN AN unusual last couple of months, in mostly good ways having to do with travel and holidays and relaxation, but a little unsettling in that I’ve gotten away from some things that I love doing and know are good for me, not the least of which is writing…on here, for example.
I won’t bother you with the details, but mention it because it has been on my mind, especially as I’ve begun to reflect on the past year and think ahead to my hopes and dreams for 2014. How do I want to fill the 8,760 hours we all get in a year (give or take, depending on whether we end it alive and in the time zone we started in)?
This was another very good year despite the sadness of losing some good people, most notably Murai. She was a dear friend and a role model who knew how to live, full of creativity, adventure, love, and kindness. I dedicate this post to her memory. For years, Murai hosted salons where friends could sing, dance, read, or otherwise perform in a safe, supportive space. It’s a model my roommate and I loved so much, we have taken it up. This was the year I learned to love reading out loud.
On a happy note, a couple of people who had been out of my life—but not my heart—for years came back into it in 2013. I also made some wonderful new friends, including writing and Sangha and other buddies, and strengthened some existing bonds. I saw and fell in love with new places I want to go back to. I’ve read good books. And the world keeps on turning.
The big story this year was making space in my life for the things most important to me: creativity, health, love, and spirit. (It’s nice to be able to fit it all on such a short list, a list that doesn’t change much from year to year; but don’t be fooled—each of those 4 things has about 75 subheadings.) As I’ve written about recently, it all came together toward the last part of 2012, as I became more serious about both my writing and my spiritual practice and negotiated to reduce my formal work schedule in order to make time for it all.
Things kicked into high gear come January 1, with The Artist’s Way setting the tone for a year dedicated to fostering creativity and treating myself well. It’s still a struggle to find the perfect balance between learning, growing, pushing myself, and producing on the one hand and, on the other, relaxing and feeling like I’m doing enough. I said the same thing a year ago and the same thing the year before that. Hmm. I think I’m getting better at it, but there’s some tinkering still to be done.
It has been a lifelong theme with me: hyperawareness of what a precious thing I’ve got here. I’m referring to the fact of my very existence as a human being in this time and place on what is a very nice planet. I don’t want to waste it.
I’m reminded that I was always taught not to waste food. “It’s a sin,” my mother told us kids, back when we still believed in such things. I have to agree. But it wasn’t until many years later that I realized if you’re full and you keep on eating, you’re wasting food. Better to take the leftovers home in a box.
That’s kind of how I feel about life. Life is like a giant all-you-can-eat buffet. Trying to do too much is like eating when you’re full. To beat the simile to death, I’m trying to scout things out before loading up my plate, make good choices, and go for balance. You can’t do it all, and who would want to? Tomorrow is another day.