Welcome to Day 1 of Quest2016! Today’s prompt is from Susan Piver – “What I most need to tell myself about 2016 is…”. Thanks so much to Jeffrey Davis and the team at Tracking Wonder for hosting this second year of the quest. If you want to learn more, or participate (You should! It’s free and awesome!) visit this link. I’ll be sharing my responses to the Quest2016 each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of December. I wrote a bit more about what the Quest is, and what it means to me, here too.
From this morning…
It’s December 1, and I just did chores without gloves on. It’s that warm out, it’s just that unseasonably warm out. I didn’t see that coming.
And that’s how most if this year has been.
And this is exactly what I most need to tell myself about 2016…that I will not see any of this coming.
If 2015 has taught me anything, it’s that there is a great mystery in exactly what will churn itself up minute to minute, day to day, and week to week to make up this thing we call a year. Looking back one year, to all the hesitation and nervousness and unsure-ness as to the precise contents of my life’s suitcase, I could never have predicted I would be so BIG and full and alive as I write this now.
One year ago I hoped that things would get better. I worked hard to make a plan, a map, that would sail my ship back to the island of brightness I know my best self can inhabit. I had an amorphous vision, lots of feelings (many of which were totally contradictory), a shit ton of uncertainty and a fierce determination. But, frankly, that was it. I didn’t know what life was going to look like. I didn’t know if I would still be farming, where I would be living, how I would spend my days, if spring was going to come again. I didn’t have any answers. I just had a suitcase piled high with ginormous questions.
And I learned to live with those questions. I learned to be comfortable living without answers, but still grounded. I practiced saying I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure. I let answers surface slowly, at their own (very, very slow) pace. I listened deep, and trusted that the answers were somewhere buried inside of me. And that I could find them and trust them if I held still and quiet and poke a flashlight into all of those dark and mysterious places. I learned to trust myself. I grew to listen to the tiny voice inside myself. I kept moving forward, even though I didn’t know where the path was headed. It was hard work. But good work.
But that’s enough about the past. The past is full of really good lessons, but I’m pretty determined to keep moving forward. And what I need to keep telling myself most about this year ahead is that it is chock-full of big questions and big goals and amorphous-big visions – and, ultimately, the content of the days will be full of mystery. And that the meaning of those days will only shine through as they are slowly stacked one on top of the other on top of the other like bricks as the calendar pages flip by and things happen.
And things will happen. Wonder-full things. Mysterious things. Things that don’t make sense. Things that break my heart and feel like unbearable loss. Things that break my heart into a million pieces that get reconstructed to be even bigger and better than before. Things that make me smilecry in the car or the kitchen or while walking in snowfall. Things that feel like they are throwing my boat off course. Things that guide me to a new and totally, joyfully unexpected path. Things like fireflies and fireworks and snowstorms and peonies and cake and sweet kisses and writing so much I run the ink right out of my pen. And all I can do is stay soft and open and take all these things into my heart and build them a little nest. Because, let me tell you, we hardly know the meaning of things as they happen.
What I need to remind myself most about the year ahead is that every day, every second, will be there to meet me – I just have to show up to be present in it. To Be Here Now. That practicing patience will keep me grounded. That farms and creative practices and big ideas are not birthed over night. No, everything BIG and GOOD grows slowly when we show up to glean the absolute most from every day. Like boiling the turkey carcass not once, but twice, into two batches of clear – and then cloudy – stock to store in the freezer as sustenance for the year ahead. I just have to show up, observe, notice, learn, hold still, breathe, smile (and sleep more) and dig deep. I don’t have to have the answers now, I just have to show up to catch them when they fall as bright stars out of this big Southern Wisconsin sky.
Because this year ahead is a giant, unknown mysterious ball of sparkly gold thread that will only unravel itself with the slow turn of time. I want to hold that unwinding thread softly, gently – and knit it lovingly into the arteries of my big, soft, wandering heart.