New Year’s Wish

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In this day of self-improvement, of our endless focus on changing ourselves or achieving, perhaps our New Year’s resolution would be better focused on becoming more intimate with our deepest intentions. Could we stop and rest - rest from doing, rest from being over-scheduled, rest from trying to achieve more, of being different than we are, rest from longing to be somewhere other than where we are in this moment in time? Could we stop indulging in the endless thoughts that tell us we are not good enough, that we haven’t done enough, that we need to be a better parent, a better partner, that we need to improve or do more?

Could we instead get in touch with the deepest part of our heart, and ask ourselves, what do we wish for in our relationships, with ourselves, our partner or children, extended family and/or our friendships? What would 2012 bring if we all resolved to be a little more compassionate with ourselves and with others with whom we connect? Could we rest in kindness, in being gentle, in the belief that there is much to be learned from joy and play? Could we extend this compassion to our family members, friends, colleagues and community members?

One of our favourite authors and teachers is Jack Kornfield. In his book, A Path with Heart he writes so beautifully:

When we ask, "Am I following a path with heart?" we discover that no one can define for us exactly what our path should be. Instead, we must allow the mystery and beauty of this question to resonate within our being. Then somewhere within us an answer will come and understanding will arise.

If we are still and listen deeply, even for a moment, we will know if we are following a path with heart. It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our heart as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have forgotten this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart. When we ask it about our current path, we must look at the values we have chosen to live by.

Where do we put our time, our strength, our creativity, and our love? We must look at our life without sentimentality, exaggeration, or idealism. Does what we are choosing reflect what we most deeply value? 
In the stress and complexity of our lives, we may forget our deepest intentions. But when people come to the end of their life and look back, the questions that they most often ask are not usually, "How much is in my bank account?" or "How many books did I write?" or "What did I build?" or the like.

If you have the privilege of being with a person who is aware at the time of his or her death, you find the questions such a person asks are very simple: "Did I love well? "Did I live fully?" "Did I learn to let go?"

Perhaps during this time of renewal that the New Year brings us, we could spend time reflecting on what we truly want in our lives, what we value most deeply. Instead of reaching out to a future ideal of what we could do or become, instead of being driven by our anxieties, our fears, our frustrations, can we can turn inward to our heart and become intimate with that which yearns to just be, to rest in compassionate awareness, in stillness rather than striving. Although this is simple, it is not easy and is certainly not the norm of our culture. Yet paradoxically, when we find rest and compassion for where we are right now, we have the most potential to transform, not from a place of striving or force but from an organic, natural unfolding that may be surprisingly fruitful and productive. As Gordon Neufeld says, “All growth emanates from a place of rest.”

We wish you a year of rest, joy, play, and listening to your heart.

~ Colleen and Patti

Jessie Kuehn