It’s the last day of 2013 – which, most admit, has felt like no ordinary year – and I woke feeling like I was spinning in a vortex of possibility, a rare feeling of excitement and portentiousness hovering in the air, although such feelings seem to be something of the ‘norm’ of late.
My first hour of wakefulness was spent in meditation and the next enjoying a candlelit soak in a bath reading a book, so two hours of just following my instincts wherever they led me – and that’s the real joy of the holidays. What started as a typical morning bath evolved into a full-on ritual of self-nurture that, looking back, shines out as something I obviously had lined up for myself as part of the celebration and release, the cleansing and appreciation, of this transitional time. Without hesitation or forethought, having meandered very far from being perfunctory, my morning ritual suddenly felt more akin to a ceremony of rebirth and rejuvenation.
So, having been lavished with glorious natural bath and body products last week, I sank down into herb and petal strewn water wearing a blue mud face worthy of one of the ancients of this isle and eventually washed myself down with a berry soap that turned out to be a melting cube of crushed blackberries, leaving both me and the bath so purple-gritty that it looked as though I had spent my hour treading and rolling in the very grapes of life (the tiles took some cleaning)! To finish, I self-smeared every inch of myself with pure shea butter – ‘softened’ yet still firm enough to require firm kneading and pressing into flesh with all the dedication and patience of self-love and focused appreciation of the limbs with which I paint and create and walk in sun, wind and rain that I (still…) all too seldom offer to myself…and so I found myself saying “thank you” to all that I Am in physical form at the passing of yet another year.
Certainly no ordinary year; in many respects, 2013 has felt like a 100 lifetimes in one calendar year for all the transition and release that has occurred and I know I’m far from alone in declaring this to have been the grand tying-up-of ends and letting go; a momentous case of ‘stepping into the new’.
Where that leaves me now is feeling lighter than I somehow know I had yet to experience in human form, across all my many life-adventures; uniquely unburdened…NOT because everything is all suddenly perfect but because the mists have cleared and so I finally understand the external world in which I live to be a game, a reflection of my own state of consciousness and so the contrasts of this world no longer overwhelm as they once did. It’s been like an awakening to realise the nightmare of certain aspects of the waking world was all a dream; the ‘dream’ aspect of my inner self is the reality or control hub where I get to choose how the game plays out. From ‘in there’, I get to create my own reality by choosing where to place my focus, which then determines what manifests next in my outer world. Only, like those dog-eared board games of childhood, somewhere along the line we had lost the instructions and had been making up our own makeshift rules – or they had been ‘made up’ for us by those with a mind to ‘win’ the game – and so we forgot how to have fun with the game and, in fact, forgot it was a game at all, taking it altogether too seriously and forgetting how to wake from our own nightmare. But that was then and this is now – the end of a year in which a grand awakening has rippled all across the world, through every nook and cranny of life, sparking and igniting and catalysing change through institutions that once seemed utterly set in granite (I certainly never thought to find myself so applauding the words of a pope). In a nutshell, 2013 has been the year of remembering all the fun and the playful creator role that each of us holds at the very heart of life…and its contagious!
When we play at life, we take whatever manifests in the spirit of “this must just be part of the game I signed up for” and approach each turn of events with detached curiosity, without resorting to the victim mentality that allows for thoughts that suggest “something ‘bad’ happened to me”. Of course life continues to present challenges, yes (all part of the game) yet when they arise, as a significant one did for me as a contrast-factor at the very heart of this festive period, its possible to pull back and accept what arises as the self-manifested signal that there is still some inner housekeeping to be done. Life’s challenges become a series of attention grabbers from our Self, no longer something external ‘out to get us’ but fundamentally benevolent if we approach them with full awareness and curiosity, from a place of neutrality, rather than panic and overwhelm.
And so, freshly bathed and rosy-skinned whilst contemplating a windhowlingly dark and wet garden in the knowledge my dog is eagerly awaiting his walk in those same blustery gales, I agree to take it all – the whole vast experience of everything – and smile in the knowledge that I am the creator of my own experience because it is my perception of each moment of ‘now’ that invents all of my future moments.
As I contemplate the year ahead, I’ve never felt so neutral and yet EXCITED – knowing that excitement will be the force to lead me deep into my bliss in all the months ahead. When excitement fails to lead the way, I will know that is not my path and so what need to do I have of a plan; I am uniquely plan-less for 2014 and yet never felt so confident, down to my bootstraps, that much will come of this new year; great and uniquely creative things will unfold and I need not know exactly what until they birth themselves out of the pure potential of each moment. My focus is to pursue the fizz, the golden threads of creativity that freshly invent each mini outcome and summon me hither and thither in each new second, knowing that such trust, such allowance – on such a grand scale – cannot fail to bring forth that which is optimum, expansive and previously unexplored. The fences have been taken down, the map screwed up, the ceiling lifted. When things ‘go wrong’, when contraction occurs, there’s my clue that I’m off track, that my energy and focus has been elsewhere – so, what more do I need in my knapsack of life? It has suddenly become much lighter to carry. What’s more, if excitement feels just too exhausting a state to be in all of the time, I remind myself that its OK to spend those in-between times in self-nurture, relaxation and ‘being’. Just imaging those two states – excitement and relaxation – side by side, I quickly realise that the combined effect is to be living in JOY.
One of the questions any remaining contraction moments bring to light (and so they have flagged this up for me over the relative lull of the festive season) is “in what areas of my life does compromise still occur?” because areas of compromise can remain the unnoticed sticking points long after we feel we have our bliss firmly in our sights. Without making hard-cast goals or targets in the way of old-fashioned New Year’s Resolutions, this is the time to visualise exactly where our bliss lies, far beyond the limitation of imagined loyalties to others, the procrastinations of “I can go after that dream when…” (“the kids leave home”, “I have more money”, “the business takes off” “I’m thinner”, “…fitter”, “…my health improves”). On removing all those provisos, what do your dreams really look like? Have you played with them, allowed them to come out of their boxes, in all their technicolour glory, any time lately? Right now – in this spinning vortex of creativity as the New Year strikes – is the perfect time to just visualise away, and visualise BIG.
So as the sun sets on 2013, I leave you to your visualisations and whatever playful rituals of transition are yours for the ringing in of the new but just know – as all our combined instincts have always told us to be the case – that the hidden potential of this time of the year is considerable and right there at your creative fingertips if you choose to partake of its special alchemy; not least this year with the rare coincidence of a new moon – and a super moon at that – on January 1st . There’s no denying it, this new year has ‘fresh start’ written all over it.
So, why not consider this next twenty-four hour period to be one very enormous blank canvas that’s been delivered just for you…and right beside it, the biggest and most overflowing box of paints you’ve ever seen. Nobody is watching you – nobody cares what you paint or how ‘good’ you are and you can splash out whatever creation you want on that pristine white surface – quite simply whatever your imagination comes up with without limitation so use your fingers, get colourful, have fun. This is one hundred percent your life (it always was…); now – as with the new year – just dive in!