As well as wonderful friends and family, three things have made a big difference for me this year. Practices that have helped me to recognise when I can make thoughtful choices. (In the interests of transparency I want you to know I have no affiliate link with any of these things. Or anything. This is just straight from the heart sharing of stuff that helps.)
The first is Brainpickings. I have said it before and I will say it again: I love Brainpickings. Maria Popova curates wonderful writing and I love to read it. Reading it reminds me to think and is part of what makes each Sunday special.
A great help in sustaining a regular meditation practice in scatty times is a weekly meditation from Susan Piver. When I am too exhausted to sit and meditate, her guided meditations are a gem. Doing these once a week means daily meditation is more likely to happen. Having a small goal of ten minutes, means longer sessions occur. She has recently published Start Here Now and even though I have meditated in various forms for years, and read many books on the subject, I found this one terrific.
And finally, perhaps with the most profound impact, has been my involvement with The Oasis which is way less woo woo than it sounds! A few years ago, I stumbled onto the work of Jen Louden and did two online courses (Life Navigation and Teach Now) both of which were great. I have written about them on other occasions. This year I joined The Oasis. Barb Klein, another participant described it like this:
Jen and The Oasis community have helped me tap into what living without holding back is for me and to take myself forward, even when I’m facing significant challenges as I have the past few months. In this time The Oasis has offered nourishment and rejuvenation to an otherwise drained and weary soul. I appreciate the forum as a gathering place where I can be witnessed and gently accepted and supported. Also, I am able to be there with others and remember that none of us are alone in our human journey.
Using poetry, journalling and writing, I have truly found an Oasis in each week. A time to give myself the gift of my full attention. To listen to my voice amidst the clamouring of others. A new round starts later in January and I will be there.
A New Year begins and I was looking froward to it SO VERY MUCH I realised that it hadn’t even begun and I was loading on the expectations. Primarily that it wasn’t this year!!! In a text conversation, a wise woman who has also had a really tough 2015 (let us call her my daughter) wrote: This year is going to be full of learning and listening just like the last one. It’s not going to be free of learning or mistakes. Or ill-health, or anxiety about stuff. Or frustrations, joys, creative productivity, creative stagnation. It will be what it is. Another wise friend, let us call her Cathy, once sent me this blessing and I send it to all my gentle readers as a New Year, with all its richness, sorrow, beauty and ugliness, success and failure, health and ill health, peace and anxiety, begins:
May you find courage, and the space between breaths, to arrange whatever pieces fall your way.
PS: the link between the photo and the post is that it suggests thoughtfulness. Not to mention includes two special people!