2019 is here. Happy New Year! This time around, on New Year’s Eve, I made the conscious decision to greet it in solitude. I canceled my plans to celebrate with friends and set out to welcome 2019 far from the distractions of the cocktails and kisses of midnight, when everybody is too busy wishing each other a formulaic Happy New Year trying to reach the next friend before the midnight minute disappears, regardless of whether there are five or 500 people around. Clearly, we can’t possibly fit 500 wishes in less than a minute. But even eight (our planned contingent) seemed too much. I wondered, how am I going to kiss the New Year itself in the midst of all this human agitation?
I thought, rather than automatically defaulting to celebrating the arrival of this new year, let me honor it as one of my new best friends, as the ultimate giver of joy and abundance for the next twelve months. A year, after all, is a long time in a human life. So much can happen, and we better be consciously awake to receive it all. To intentionally choose not to be distracted by hugging and kissing every single person around me as the shift passed us felt like a blessing, one that I had never thought about before, one that felt special. I was curious: what would happen when I refused to keep my eyes riveted on the clock awaiting for the second to shift me into the new, the unknown, and instead to truly listen to the magic of what it is bringing to me.
Add to this the fact that I am originally from France and, therefore, the consideration that, with the time difference, my new friend—2019 itself—would arrive around 4pm, which is in the middle of the afternoon, probably right as I was taking a nap to prepare for the midnight step into the new unknown.
Happened exactly what I predicted. I did fall asleep around 3 or 3:30pm yesterday and 2019 snuck right in. When I woke up, I was a different person, except that I didn’t know it yet.
I had been on a personal, individual retreat into my own world, on my own, for four days by then. Some fortunate people—such as myself—go on group meditation retreats once or twice a year, sometimes more. Others take heavy drugs on the weekend to transport themselves into the unknown in an instant, traveling to the far reaches of consciousness itself, past it even, in order to bring back deeper understandings of why the hell we are here because, frankly, quite often, it doesn’t fully make sense to us.
I did not invite anyone on my retreat. Nor did I take any drugs. Call me selfish or boring, I don’t care. I just started doing it and boy did I start getting what I was asking for—answers, some of them really hard to come to terms with, others quite enlightening. In fact, the entire process was so rich that I decided to extend it by another five days beyond the initial three I had counted on. I figured, what better time of the year than right now to do this: Everybody is busy with family and friends, business is slow anyway, people are celebrating, getting drunk, happy, or making resolutions. My clients don’t need me…
So yesterday, on Day Four, the deep personal dive continued. At first, I thought it was just going to unapologetically ignore 2019. But you know what? It weaved it in. In fact, 2019 even blasted into my living room totally unannounced except for the fact that our calendars said it was on its way… duh…
I woke up from my nap, with, in my embrace, the furry doggie who periodically makes sure I am still alive by sniffing the extent of my breath. It can’t smell very good all the time, but he doesn’t seem to care. His doesn’t smell bad, which makes his caring soul all the more enjoyable to me. This dog is a straight (I’m not that sure he is straight) gift from the heavens. He will cuddle with you all night long, and then all day long, if that’s what you want, or need, and he will look into your eyes as if he was channeling the divine. Maybe he is. It sure feels like it—quite delicious!
I thought, quatre-heures would sure be nice. Quatre-heures is a daily French tradition, which happens around four in the afternoon (that is what quatre heures means, four o’clock) during which you eat what Americans would deem a snack and drink some tea, some fruit juice, or maybe some coffee (but it’s different from the German “coffee and cake”—because we’re French). As far as I am concerned, quatre-heures success requires chocolate in hard or melted form, on fresh bread, some delightful flowery-tasting black tea, and some fruit. So I had quatre-heures. And I almost chocked myself.
2019 was right on time, and I was late because I had gotten up slightly past 4pm, so I had to catch up. Out of nowhere, I burst out into tears, washing the old to make room for the new—a surprising feat, given that I had not been able to cry despite the need to from time to time for a couple of years. I used to be a great crier. Tears are the best emotional flushing tool for me. And for a long while, I had been crying dry tears, maybe one or two isolated wet ones here and there that made me feel ridiculous because they felt like my own body’s token way of saying “hey, I cried, so now leave me alone, alright?” This time, they poured right out, dripping on the floor as I tried to stand up and have enough concentration not to swallow the bread I had shoved in my mouth because that’s how I eat bread. Tribes of tears came out all at once, in groups of hundreds at a time. The first one, from behind the window where I stood, tried to reach the snow outside. Then, five minutes later, another tribe opened the floodgates of my nose and mouth and forced itself out. And it kept going.
Usually, crying makes me very tired, but I had been chronically fatigued lately, and this time around my tears energized me. They had made room for so much new joy and experiences I haven’t even imagined yet. They have brought me to the threshold that a new year symbolizes, so I made my wishes and sent them into the cosmos:
Vitality in my body and mind, allowing for a relaxed state in myself and for those around me always, developing my awareness day after day on the pillars of yesterday, a deeper engagement with solitude, contributing to creative projects, being part of the larger human ecosystem, inspiring and being inspired, no babies thank you, the courage to be myself, weaving dreams in a way that enables them to come alive and blossom into gratitude, following my own paths while co-creating with those of others, more time spent with high quality music, dedicating myself to exploring my inner world through singing, getting to know myself in finer detail, Freedom, Art, Joy, and serving people at The Radiant & Real.