This year has been a time of deep change. It has been a year of letting go, of opening up, and of embracing. It has been a year filled with moments of exquisite pain and tremendous joy. It has been a year of moments brimming with emotions so sublime that they bordered upon the unbearable. Both the sweetest and harshest of moments are now etched into the timeline of my being. I am not one to look behind me except for lessons learned and moments to be cherished. And so, while many are thinking upon their resolutions for the New Year, my thoughts are immersed in precious moments that belong to the departing year.
It is a cold, crisp January evening. I am standing at the ocean’s edge, absorbing the fiery remnants of a setting sun. I love this space I call home, its seas, its wild lands, and its ever changing finery of green and gold. A collection of ocean castaways, tiny pebbles and shards of shell, fill my pockets. At the edge of a tide pool, I balance precariously on a jagged rock and tip into the cold, icy waters of our northern coastline. My feet are chilled, and my soaks are soaked through with salt water and rough sand. We move to perch atop higher rocks and laugh at what life holds in store. As the sun’s final golden rays depart, I feel a strange, weighty portent of moments ahead–a full year of pages awaiting the fingertips of time.
I am standing at the curbside of the airport. As I sob farewell, his eyes are already cast on distant shores. Patient, he hugs me one last time. I watch him walk away, head held high. He is so strong and true. “Faith.” I whisper to myself, “Have faith that he will be well and happy, that he will return with even deeper light and wonder in his eyes.” I turn to look again, but he is gone. Hot tears course down my face; I cannot drive. I sit with my head upon the steering wheel until the flow subsides. As the long stretch of freeway moves me ever closer to home, I embrace the pain and joy that is love.
It is the final day of March–a chilly, windswept day that knows no mercy–and she is gone. Despite my preparations for her passing, I am desperately sad and wildly angry. A mother should not, must not, leave her daughter. Though I had said a thousand farewells, I wanted one more. Though I had cried upon her breast, I wanted one more tear to rest upon her skin. Though I had held her, sung to her, and kissed her face, it seemed unjust that these simple things could be done no more. “Please!” I sob to Heaven, “Just one more look into those hazel eyes I knew so well. Just let me hold her once more.” Of course, it could not be, and she is laid to rest, so peaceful and serene. The days that follow are gray and hollow, a minefield of emptiness and muffled sorrow. I look for her at every turn, and—in the simplest of places—I find her essence. The healing is slow, for the loss is heavy and fiercely deep. I grieve. I mourn. I seek an exquisite statue to honor her, to remind me of her love and beauty. I find the perfect piece, a graceful goddess of timeless wisdom, and place it in my garden. I smile and feel lighter when I visit her there.
There is love in the room; it is buoyant, hopeful, and precious. My dear friend is holding onto life, and I linger with her. I kiss her forehead and offer her food. I sweep her floors and hold her hands. I tidy her counters and touch her pale cheeks. I replenish her groceries and find laughter to share. I give her words of sweet hope when darkness sets in. Her eyes are in pain now, but she wants to stay, to hold onto each moment. I see the conflict in her gaze; there are times now when she also wants to leave. This has been a long fight, a battle of months—of years—on end. I will not give up on her; she knows my gentle ferocity. Yet hope, faith, and the love of friends are not enough to save her. Without warning, a softly warm June morning takes her, and I am bewildered and overcome. Even now, I reach for the phone to call her. I continue to linger upon gifts that would suit her. My world is incomplete without her loving friendship. Wild and beautiful, I still feel her pull.
Standing on distant shores, I feel lighter and free. I find myself staring, once again, into the sweep of ocean waves. The wild sea is my constant muse, my healer, and my delight. A hand holds mine, and I feel safe. There is time for healing here. There is time for rest. There may even be time for love. Our laughter floats and spirals to the highest clouds. Tears and sweet laughter intermingle as I learn and touch upon new curiosities. The weight of everyday life seeps away as I walk on sand and cobbled streets. My soul lingers as I meander on ancient grounds, on soil that seems to know me from another time. I am a child, I am a woman, I am a wanderer. Yes, this is good for me, this thirst, this stretch, this roaming. Something distant calls and beckons. I turn my head and cast an eye to unknown shores. It is a wanton, warm September. I sense more change is brewing. Smiling deeply, I touch the ancient land, her stones, and her waters. Come what may, I am willing, ready, and strong.
As I prepare to land on familiar soil, new ground awaits. “Who am I?” I wonder to myself. “What is next for me?” I am a psychotherapist, a teacher, and a student. I am a friend, a mother, and a child. I am a writer, a free spirit, and a stoic rock. My world is shifting, moment by moment. An exquisite new office suite awaits me, simple and stunning. I am entranced, for it holds a tranquil meditation and yoga room of its own. As I walk into the second suite, my breath is ever taken away by the ceiling that rises to the heavens. I am not surprised that clients, too, find this space to be surreally comforting and healing. The days sweep by, each with challenges and surprises of its own. I hold steady; I have faith. I call upon my yoga practice each day. As both pupil and instructor, I give and I receive. On and off my yoga mat, I strive for balance, inward gaze, and flexibility. I seek greater strength. I desire greater faith. I pray for deeper love. I feel change stirring and rising. Change is difficult, change is delight, and change is opportunity.
Now, this year, I bid you farewell. May I have learned your lessons well. May I step into the open arms of this new year with wild abandon, curiosity, and wild-eyed delight. This coming year holds such promise and wonder. As I turn to the embrace of new days and their too-fleeting moments, may I be ever filled with true gratitude, grace, and generosity. As I wish for my loved ones health, peace, abundance, wisdom, and joy, may I ever know their preciousness in my very soul. As each moment in time unfolds, may I ever trust, may I ever pray, and may I ever love.