Welcome! is my theme this year

It already led me down a happy path of coincidence: Adriene Mischler tweeted out “Welcome Home” for her newest yoga series on youtube, an obvious sign for me to join in. I haven’t done thirty days of yoga before so we’ll see how my body reacts, but for years I’ve considered a daily yoga practice so here I am, living the dream.

“Use the poses to make discoveries,” she said in her Day 1 video, which seems like solid life advice. I am welcoming changes in my year ahead and will use the new situations to make discoveries. How is mothering a son away at university different than here at home? What jedi mind tricks will help me be a source of positive energy at work, as the government takes shaky steps to rebuild a program it destroyed? How will it feel to limit our travel adventures?

The yoga will help with one of the things I’m welcoming: Physical strength. I’m fine with the obvious changes in my body with menopause – they’re normal, and the whole package conveniently includes freedom from caring about nonsense (seriously, soooo much freedom), so hello, rolls of fat in odd places. BUT. I’m shocked at how weak my muscles are becoming. I’m fit and active, so why is climbing stairs now difficult? I need strong legs to carry me on all my adventures! I’ve done strength training before at gyms, but yoga with my cats each morning suits me and my life best right now.

What else to welcome? Challenging work. This can apply to my full-time job, but mostly I think of the climate crisis. We’re gradually doing more at home to lessen the harm we do to the planet and to date, it hasn’t really been difficult. To speed up the pace, we’re going to have to make bigger changes and that won’t be easy. It’s not really a challenge we can ignore.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi

My recent emotional development grew from the buddhist idea of acceptance, of welcoming all thoughts. Rather than avoid, numb, or dismiss strong feelings, I learned to notice them and let them sit with me. Just a few years ago, the thought of feeling bad feelings on purpose terrified me, and now doing it daily in meditation gives me a stable base to (usually) keep my peace as life swirls around. An example: Hi, Injustice. Welcome to my life. You’ve walked by my side throughout, unnoticed when you worked to my advantage and the source of bitter tears when you pushed things off track. I notice you dancing around me, and instead of railing against your very existence, I look you in the eyes and name you. I use the energy I used to expend fighting you to calmly call you out, limit your impact, and heal those you harm.

At Lake Huron last week, I had a waterfront ceremony to welcome all the above, and more, into my heart. I called out invitations into the waves, and let each word come crashing to the shore at my feet. One invite was to welcome more patience, and when I’m feeling restless, I picture that wave I saw, so very, very far out on the blue horizon. I followed it as it shifted and swelled all the way to shore. It travelled a long way to reach me, and was worth the wait.

Welcome 2020, let’s go!

water with wave-shaped clouds on horizon
waves in the clouds

5 comments

    1. It is tough for sure! And magical when it works 🙂 There’s a book I found really helpful, called Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach – she’s great at explaining it. The idea is that we just cause ourselves grief by wishing things were different. We can work to change situations, but that can only happen when we first accept the reality of what they are right now. Hardest for me is accepting that (of course) I can’t change the past, so I have to sit with that – usually it’s grief, letting go of what I wish the past had been. Good luck with it today, we’re all right there with you ❤️

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