As 2016 winds down, I am amazed at how quickly another year has flown by. The quote that comes to my mind is this one: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Indeed. Each day feels long, full, often challenging, and yet months and years somehow slip through my fingers like fine sand. The year was full of important moments I am sure, yet for all of my efforts to be mindful, to crystallize those moments, when I look back, all I feel is the blur of time and experience.
As I type this, I think back and wonder, “Was it a happy year?” I struggle to answer that question. There were no major catastrophes, no health crises, no unforeseen tragedies that befell my family. Still, if I am honest, I probably didn’t quite grasp those moments of ease and joy when they flowed into my life. I suppose this is why they say mindfulness is a practice. I was likely often caught in my head, worried about my children or concerned for a patient or anxious about the fullness of tomorrow’s schedule, too caught up to fully relax into those elusive glimpses of content.
Despite that, I can certainly say it was a meaningful year, a year where I did my best. I tried my best to stay kind and patient with my children. I didn’t always succeed, that is for sure, but I always tried, and I think they knew that. Fortunately for me, my children forgive quickly and easily and way more gracefully than I do. I walked alongside my patients through another year of their lives, struck every time by the profound courage of those living with mental illness. Struck every time by the lesson of how, with enough time and faith and love, we can all make it through terribly dark stretches, to the new normal that exists on the other side. This was a year of discovering new friendships and deepening old friendships, and remembering how good friends can serve as a mirror, a reliable reflection of our best selves, even in challenging times.
This year also brought continued evolution of my mindfulness and meditation practice, as well as my writing practice, which in many ways are one and the same to me. All three practices help me to focus my lens on the small, ordinary moments of the day. The funny butt-shaking dance that my daughter does when she first wakes up in the morning, so completely, un-self-consciously herself. The sweet upward intonation in my son’s voice when he is immersed in telling me a long story. The first shades of indigo that lighten the clouds in the early morning when I sit down to journal or meditate.
Meditation helps my mind rest long enough to notice these moments. Mindfulness helps me to engage my body, heart, and breath long enough to absorb the moment more fully. And writing helps me to live the moment just a little longer, by remembering and recreating and sharing my experiences through words. I even started to experiment with poetry in these last couple of months, a way of un-learning rules about language and grammar and bringing back the ability to play with words again.
I am grateful for all I continue to learn through the long days and the short years. For these next few weeks, I plan to take some time to consolidate all that has been gained, reflect on those lessons, and spend some time dreaming about what I hope to manifest in 2017. I hope to spend time looking inwards, settling into all the questions even when I can’t find answers. I hope to spend time with loved ones, and also time alone, discovering what whispers to me in the quiet, where creativity may lead me in the dark.
So with that, I will take the next few weeks as a break from blogging, and I anticipate being back on Monday January 16. I wish each and every one of you a peaceful and restorative and healthy holiday season. I am thankful for your continued reading, sharing, commenting, and just overall support of my tiny corner of the blogosphere…and I am looking forward to even more discovery together in 2017.
With gratitude, Monisha