As you begin the New Year, take some time to sit and quietly reflect. If today you were to set or reaffirm a long-term intention, a vow, your heart’s direction, what would it be? It might be as simple as “I vow to be kind.” It might be an intention to dedicate yourself to the healing or care of others, or to fearlessly express your creativity in the world. Once you have a sense of your long-term dedication, write it down. Then put it someplace where you keep special things. Now, as you go through the year, let it be your compass- your underlying direction- in spite of changing outer circumstances. Let it carry you.
your word to yourself is impeccable, real, and kind….
inquiry for today~ what will it mean for you to be fully alive this year?
Who doesn’t love the promise of new beginning the New Year offers? St. Benedict described his Rule as a Rule for beginners, reminding us to always begin again. In Buddhism, an essential practice is beginner’s mind. When we think we have become an expert at things, especially the spiritual life, we are in trouble.
Living into the mystery of things helps us to release our hold on needing to know the answers. One of the things the monk and artist have in common is a love of mystery, a willingness to sit in the place of tension and paradox until it ripens forth.
New Year’s resolutions often come from a place of lack, or of thinking we know how to “fix” ourselves. Embracing mystery, on the other hand, honors our profound giftedness and depth and acknowledges that coming to know ourselves and God is a lifetime exploration.
So my invitation to you, dear monks and artists, is to shift your thinking this year. Welcome in ambiguity. Learn to love the holy darkness of mystery. Dance on the fertile edges of life. Let what you love ripen forth.
~Christine Valters Paintner