As 2013 comes to a close and 2014 begins, I recognize and acknowledge last year for what it was: a year of preparation. At this time last year, I went on a mountain retreat to the beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center. I was feeling a bit lost and forlorn, wanting to solidify a commitment to life and living it well, and not knowing if I was ready to completely give up all the past that I was clinging to and be open to new things.
At Shambhala I ate well, slept well, meditated, did yoga, and wrote. I hiked up the hill to see the Great Stupa, home of the beautiful golden Buddha. It is impressive. Up there, in the mountain air where the spire of the stupa stretches into a pale blue sky, reflecting rays of sun and inspiring awe, I let myself be taken over by an all-encompassing peace. It was the beginning of a healing time.
I also met some new people, and we became the three misfits, hiking and sharing our stories. There was a thin, sincere man older than me, who had fought cancer. He was gay and lived alone. His twin brother had committed suicide by rerouting the tailpipe of his car and dying of carbon monoxide poisoning. My friend was mourning, and searching for meaning in life. Shambhala was the place he went to find it. My other new friend was a younger girl, a student at Naropa. She was a recovering bulimic. She had broken up with a boyfriend and was feeling untethered. And also searching for meaning. Then there was me – working to make a life in a new place, trying to let go of old problems, recovering from a bad relationship and wanting to find a deeper spiritual self in the midst of emotional chaos.
The three of us hiked up to a spot called the Sun Goddess house. Outside was a makeshift altar – a bottle of Sake, some coins, a few rocks. Someone had left a note, a prayer of sorts. We took out a piece of paper and I wrote something I had learned from an energy worker – POC POD. Point of Creation, Point of Destruction. It means you have to go to the root of an issue, misguided energy that is no longer serving you, and destroy it where it was created. My new friends nodded solemnly as I explained. We each signed the paper and wrote a wish, a prayer, a hope.
Back at my cabin dorm, I wrote a list of resolutions, breaking my life down into the areas I wanted to work on: love, health, writing, work, money, spirituality, and family. At the end I reminded myself to be grateful and positive.
This year I looked at that list, and I want to reiterate everything on it. It’s taken longer than I thought to put some things into place, and it’s time to be a little tougher on myself in some areas, and more gentle in others. But the document still represents who I am and what I want to focus on.
So as we move into 2014, I wish for all of you, friends and cyber-friends, the time to have self-reflection to focus your hopes and wishes for the coming year. Enjoy what you already have, but dream big if you like. A new year is full of possibilities!