All is quiet on New Year’s day
A world in white gets underway
-New Year’s Day, U2, from the War Album (1983)
It is New Year’s Morning and I want to enjoy this peace, this silence. Yet my mind is beginning it’s daily struggle of being pulled in two directions – the direction of ‘It’s a new year, time to DO” and the direction of “It’s New Year’s Morning, just be.”
Do I make coffee? No – it is a tea morning, slow and subtle.
As much as I want to stay present, my mind takes me back to the past – the past week to be exact. Being at home, with family and the realization of how un-relaxing it was. God love them. They drain me and now I am tired. I feel it in my eyes, in my head, in my joints and muscles.
And then my mind goes to studying for my family medicine exams with a friend…
Learning all the trigger points for Fibromyalgia. pressing on each other, and realizing that we too have pain in all the same areas. We must have Fibromyalgia! I laugh now, Fibro or not, we had no choice but to push through – we had patients to heal, debts to pay, money to make, and vacations to dream of. What would we do that that precious weekend off?
My tea is ready. The only green tea I have left is the Tulsi Jasmine Green Tea that I got in India last year, when I went to study yoga.
And then my mind goes back to all the wonderful people I met, looking to change direction, hoping to build a new life where we could incorporate something that was meaningful to us.
Our teachers reminded us it was that was we ourselves, who were at a crossroads, that change was constantly happening. That we could roam all we want – throughout India, throughout the world, but finding ourselves was not an external journey. It was a journey within. They encouraged us to go back to our homes, continue to practice, and find ourselves there. It was a good pilgrimage.
I begin to look back on the past year and think – “Oh I didn’t do … or I haven’t done” and I catch myself. Because when I actually take a step back and look at the things I wanted to accomplish, I realize that the ball is rolling in along the course I wanted it to take. I look at my wall of sticky notes – the pseudo-logic model of my life and the evaluation shows that, slowly but surely, the change is happening.
And my mind goes to the future…
“Should I or shouldn’t I” Plan a trip to visit my cousin’s son, my Eldest Aunt, the Matriarch of my family, her Grandson. If it was my nephew in India, I would want my relatives to visit him. I answer my question.
And a New Year’s Text brings me back to the present moment.
It is from a friend. I can’t imagine how her morning is going. Is she at home or in hospital? Likely in hospital, drugged up, absent in some ways, so present in others. Depressed and suicidal, she has tried twice. The stresses of her life were all too much. A mother of too many kids born all too close together, requiring more love then she was ever shown herself. She at onetime told me they would all be better off without her. She believed that. The drugs aren’t working so they have started ECT. “Going under was really hard – that was the worst part,” she said. Was it the feeling of loosing control? Was it the feeling of the anaesthesia being forced on you? Wasn’t that the problem to begin with? It is so hard and yet so much of life is out of our hands.
And then my mind goes to the time I was visiting India and wanted to see the Dalai Lama.
One of my cousins said his uncle was a body guard/security for His Holiness. He thought perhaps he could get me in. I was planning to visit my Uncle at that time in the small town one over from Dharamasala, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile. Wouldn’t it be great to be in his presence and to have him impart some spiritual wisdom on me?
Well, they didn’t drop me off at the foot of the mountain. Stuck in an apartment on a college campus outside of town, there was no spiritual climb to be had. My backpacker’s soul felt like it was in purgatory. But it wasn’t really, it was all a part of the spiritual lesson that would become clear to me later.
I spent that day miserable, reading and watching music videos with my cousin. He was 15 or 16 at the time and was probably equally miserable to have to “babysit” me when he could have been hanging out with his friends. Well, misery loves company, so we had that to share. By the afternoon, he asked me if I wanted to go to the gym and play basketball with his friends.
“Sure” I said. I was SO excited to DO SOMETHING. “Do girls do that here?”
“No,” he said. “But you can come”
We went down to the gym and I was so happy to get out.
His friends looked at me funny – like “What is she doing here? What was he thinking bringing a girl?” At least that is what I thought anyway. We played. They never passed me the ball. But at least I got a few runs in and I felt way better after.
I look back now in gratitude for that moment – for those days in “Purgatory.” Because the irony is that the Dalai Lama is still alive. With social media, I can read his words, and listen to his teachings. But my cousin is not. I will no longer be able to know what he thinks, or read what he has to say. I think we were both probably too young with too large an age gap and a language barrier to bond more at the time. But I think we did our best smiling and singing “Alice? Who the F!@# is Alice?!” For this I am grateful.
And now – it is New Years Day. I haven’t written the blog post I wanted to write. I haven’t fixed my website or changed my blog around, my house is a mess. But I am here sipping my tea, writing something, and enjoying the morning Sun.
One of my resolutions was to write more. To get back to that little girl who used to write poems and stories and dream of pursuing a life of creativity. And guess what?
Technically, I have started.
Happy New Year Everyone! Wishing you a year where we can all show compassion to ourselves and to others, to have to the strength to understand that in times when things are not working out for us, that this too shall pass, and to be grateful for all that we have.
The quotes above from the song “New Year’s Day” by U2, Album “WAR” 1983. Those were good times.
“Alice, Who the f!@# is Alice?” by Smokie. Even better times.