“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
And so here we go; the night before the last night of the year and my stomach is in knots, yet my heart is clear and my thoughts are like stars in the night sky.
I have always been incredibly moved by the end of the year before the start of the next; since I was young I could feel the shift in my bones. This new year, a new slate, a chance, a place to start again.
(I feel that on Mondays, too—and on the first of every month. New moons and full moons do it—and well, each morning I open my eyes I awake with the awareness that I get to start again, today.)
But the New Year—crossing over—is like finding a treasure chest full of gold. I carefully think through the last week of the year—I celebrate each day of the last week and the last time I will do the things I do for the entire year—thinking (wishing, hoping) that somehow, when I wake up on January first, my life will be different—that I will be different.
This year feels more powerful than most; I’ve been terribly sick this past week, and so rather than mark each day and celebrate parting from this year, I’ve been living in a fog world, with a hacking cough and a terse lesson in how to listen to my body.
And so rest and work and rest and work and movies and food and baths and work and rest and dog snuggles and…sadness. And happiness, too.
All the things. (Life is full of all the things.)
This past year, my heart broke into a thousand pieces and I learned how to speak my truth and I learned how to use my words for good and not evil.
This past year, when my foundation crumbled, I moved into a tiny home with my three fur babes; I learned how to let go (again and again) of materials things—simply for the reason that they wouldn’t fit into my space. Letting go of these “things” led to letting go of all the other things I was holding onto—limited beliefs, fears, the-worst-things-we-can-imagine-in-the-world kind of things.
This past year, I learned that there is great strength in saying goodbye and I learned that even in the goodbye, we can love like the ocean.
This past year, I moved bodies and breath and words and I learned what it means to serve and I found kindred spirits through the magic of it all that I will be connected to until the end of days (and even in the next life, too).
As I sit here, the night before the last night of the year, I am full with all of the emotions of this past year; I am humbled and grateful and sorrowful and full of love and all I’d like to do is lie down and cry, because I feel it all.
In this community, we like to say what isn’t yoga and what is; we like to say how silly it is to make resolutions and yet we like to reflect and declare a new thought for a new year; we throw our words around like weapons and later we remember that we weren’t kind with our thoughts. We like to have our cake and eat it too—and for all these reasons and more, it makes us all that much more human and means we should try to love each other that much more.
I believe everything we do is yoga; I believe that your yoga is different than mine and I love that it is so; I will make wishes which could be resolutions or promises or maybe even better thought of as a heart manifesto; I will use each word carefully and precisely, fueled by truth and kindness.
Moving forward, stepping over, starting fresh starts with taking a moment to acknowledge all those moments that have come before this one; who were you last year and who are you now, in this moment? What has changed—and what hasn’t? Did you learn, lose, love, fail, win? Have you lived a full life and have you treasured each moment, no matter how bright or dark you felt?
Most of all—have you lived a life you are proud of? And if not, are you willing to start again?
I bow my head—no, I drop to my knees—as I pay homage to every moment that has led me here.
As I step over tomorrow night, into a new year, in a room full of breathing beings, hearts beating, in the quiet of that quiet that only happens in the moment between this one and the next, I will give thanks for it all.