We shouldn’t make too big a deal about the actual number of years we’ve spent inhabiting the Earth. There are far more delicious ways to spend time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the sacred quality of numbers.
There must be something behind the rains that fell for “40 days and 40 nights” in the old Testament, and Moses spending that long on Mount Sinai, no less than three times; Jesus’ 40-day long fast prior to his temptation; Muhammad also fasting for this long, and being 40 when he received his first revelation; many Hindu prayers consisting of 40 stanzas; the Sumerian god Enki being referred to, in written form, by the number 40.
The list goes on. 40 seems to matter.
I also read (and I admit that I don’t know what this means), that since 402 + 1 = 1601 and 1601 is prime, 40 is a Størmer number. I often feel like the perfect storm, despite my best intentions to do what little children the world over are melodically belting out to do: “Let it Go.”
By way of marking the year, this time, I sat under a very wise old tree, dumbfounded at first and then calm and in awe.
I wrote, freely and gorgeously in tune with the feeling of my body touching ground, my hand-touching-pen-touching-paper, my promises to the world (in full awareness of how you and I, and the world, are all weaved in together here).
- I will honour your beauty in every single way that I can.
- I will not take your abundances for granted.
- I will generate more smiles than frowns.
- I will learn a new language (and that language will be Japanese, because this is the part of you I’m in right now, and I want to understand it better).
- I will not try to make you bend to fit me, but I will try to not resist, so we we can work together.
- I will persist with a regular meditation practice so that I can learn to be more equanimous in more situations than ever before.
- I will honour you by honouring myself. For me, this means making the time to write, so that I can complete a few projects I have left hanging for a long time.
- I will run outside when it rains far more, rather than just thinking about it. The rain (this part of you), the smell and touch of it, is such a gift.
- I will appreciate my body for all its strength, flexibility and freedom of movement. I will continue to encourage these qualities to grow, and will allow myself to think of the word goddess in relation to me.
- I will never stop creating, and trying to seep your beauty through my selfhood.
- I will find more magic everywhere. Those times I’ve been able to pay attention, I’ve seen how the magic just grows and grows.
- I will laugh every chance I get, knowing that I feel so close to you when I do.
- I will claim, reclaim and reclaim again my powers of femininity and intuition. They are my birthright.
- I will read Kerouac again, instead of just quoting him.
- I will hear my wise body, and give it more of what it wants to be nourished by.
- I will try to access the great worlds beyond the doors of sleep, much closer to the land of dreams.
- I will be barefoot, outside, as much as possible.
- I will take care of curious, open and pure hearts any way I can.
- I will make an effort to always want to be where I am, and to find a balance between here and all the “theres” that forever allure me.
- I will take care of my partner with my own happiness, a pure, trusting heart and a clean, clear space.
- I will honour my teachers and try to gain more experience in the art of mindful living, and will not be content to just read about it, and think I know.
- I will treat each and every person as a whole universe, and as a part of mine.
- I will remember what Ajahn Po repeated to us daily at Wat Suan Mokh: “No me, no mine.” I will also remember his other oft-repeated words of great wisdom: “Breathing in, breathing out.”
- I will try something new every day.
- I will treat each moment of my life as the job, vocation, medicine, art practice and reason for being that it is.
- I will play as seriously as I work.
- I will empower people as I intend to empower myself.
- I will discover hidden corners, secret alleyways, sensory/sensual delights, and become wander-lost in new forests as I will in the folds of new, deep lines appearing on me and those around me.
- I will read and absorb voraciously—books, people, things and everything else that is available to my impassioned senses. I will never lose this passion to understand things and make things better, while also embracing the perfection of what is.
- I will tend to the garden so lovingly set up for me on my little balcony-turret.
- I will discover new teas, and other ways to feel soft.
- I will build my own personal temple for body, mind and Being.
- I will bow at the altar of what is sacred. I will not be scared of this.
- I will ask for guidance and offer my own wherever I can.
- I will be vulnerable, but without shame or blame.
- I will connect with everything about you, and respect every one of your aspects.
- I will keep looking inward, but I will try to look out much more, and much more openly, from a place deep inside.
- I will love peaking at the top of the age mountain.
- I will try, to the very best of my abilities, to be the most compassionate person I can be.
- I will think of countless ways to serve and honour the beautiful people in my life, and those I have yet to meet.
“Non-duality prevails always, whether as the world or as the Self.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, “Forty Verses on Reality”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Courtesy of author