I love this week between Christmas and January 1. For me, it's a time of quiet, taking stock and slowly moving forward. New year, new possibilities, out with the old and in with the new.
2017 was full of changes, and a lot of what happened seemed scary and threatening or perhaps like we're going to hell in the proverbial hand basket. Things just seem a little (or a lot) off-kilter. Having a mindfulness practice can help with the uncertainty, anxiety, fear or whatever arises from not knowing what the future holds. But we've never known what the future holds, ever! And while mindfulness is about being in the present moment and with what is, that doesn't mean I stick my head in the sand and ignore what's going on in the larger world around me.
Here's the good part, the practice of mindfulness allows me to pause, notice what I'm feeling and then either react or respond. There is a choice here. For most of my life, I've been a reactionary but that's so draining and counterproductive. During that pause, which may be seconds, minutes, hours or days, I can take in new information, perhaps see the bigger picture. Several things came my way this week which have helped me see that bigger picture and my place in it. One was an essay by Parker Palmer which you'll find here. Another essay, this one written by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, carried a similar message, In Praise of the Telescopic View.
I love podcasts, so the next 2 inspirations come from that medium. Rob Bell's Robcast Christmas show this year, beautiful music, beautiful message.
And the last is a Jerry Colonna quote from on his podcast REBOOT,
“I can trust that the moral arc of the universe bends slowly,
but it bends inevitably towards justice.”
And so I head into this New Year with hope and the knowledge that although there are many people and events which might affect me, it's largely up to me to create my world.