“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot
With 2015 having drawn itself to a quiet close in our very warm corner of the world, I like many of you couldn’t help but find myself reflecting on the year that passed and making little wishes for the year to come. We had a very quiet night, both in bed by nine pm, whispering our favourite stories of the year just gone to one another in the dark. At midnight I sat in the warm summer air on my front verhandha for just a moment in gratitude for a beautiful year that passed – it was a year that wasn’t without it’s challenges and heartaches (is there ever one?) but it was also a year of many wonderful new friends, beautiful moments, and good fortune for this little family of two. As I sat in the air, listening to the buzz that always exists in an Australian summer night, I made three little wishes for the year to come. Wishes for health. Wishes for guidance. Wishes for grace in the face of any challenges and heartaches we may face in the next twelve months.
Over the past few days I can’t help but feel a new start upon us. It’s the beauty of a new year, isn’t it, the facade of a clean slate… being able to convince oneself that we have the opportunity to start anew, to wipe away the mistakes of the year before and the opportunity not to make them again. On one hand it’s a beautiful sentiment, and on the other, it’s a rouse. It’s something we lead ourselves to believe when really we have this opportunity far more regularly. This idea that on the first of January we are able to suddenly transform our lives into something utterly separate from the year before, sets us up for disappointment.
But thankfully, the truth is far more beautiful.
The truth is we have the opportunity to start over every single morning when we wake, a new day brings with it new opportunities to do better, to learn more, to smooth our past mistakes. Every day when we wake it is what we do in that day that matters most… everything up to that point is history and lives only in the stories we tell ourself about the past we have lived. Every night when we go to bed, we know that the mistakes we made that day, the wrongs we committed, the times we fell, the things we wish we hadn’t said, tomorrow we can make ammends with the gift of a little more knowledge.
Ever since I did the Nothing New Project in 2014, people ask me often – what will this/next years project be? Another annual project, bigger and bolder than the last? They always await my answer with great anticipation, and I always, without fail, will disappoint. There is no great master plan. No annual project. No great personal sacrifice. The thing that particular project and the experiences it threw me into taught me most, was the art of living mindfully in the moments I am in. I don’t spend an awful lot of time looking ahead, or making plans or guessing where we will be a few months from now… Instead I try to be right where I am, with the people I’m with, challenging myself only to be the best version of myself I can be.
That being said, there is one little promise I have made to myself for this year. I promise myself that I will write more often. That I will work more on the book and more here on the blog too. That I will write more in my journal. Writing for me is so many things, a release and a meditation. A way of cataloguing both thoughts and events, a way of capturing the smallest of moments that are guaranteed to be lost to the great expanse that is time.
I write in different ways, in different places. The book is one thing, the journal is another and here, this blog, has transformed and developed and changed over time (as we all do) and in the past few years it became so much bigger than me. When I write here one of the most important things for me is that the people who read my words feel as if their experiences are somehow included in my voice. I may write about my own experiences for they are the fodder through which I learn and reach, but I write about them not because they are mine, but because they are human – because I know in them I am not alone, and if those words help someone else to feel less alone, or if they give someone else the confidence to say something they have always wanted to say, then I have done what I set out to do here.
I have no resolutions that are any different to those I wake up to every morning. Let this day (year) be a fresh start. Let me learn something new. Let me be kind. Let me be patient. Let me be gracious. Let me forgive myself for the mistakes I am sure to make.
I wish you all a gentle, slow and peaceful 2016. May it bring us all the simplest of wishes that are dearest to our hearts.