Nurturing the New Year
Writing from the intersection of imagination and reality
Thanks for all your kind words and thoughts through the holiday season. I send them back to you with love and appreciation. Is it too late to say Happy New Year?
This baby new year has latched on! All on its own.
For me, the holiday times were quiet and I’m looking ahead to the unknown, laying out my writing schedule, planning space and time for study and writing.
Running up to Jan. 1 and in the past week, media feeds have been filled with messages, greetings, happy thoughts, reviews of movies, music, books, life moments. Important quotes on the new year from poets of the heart and soul repeat with different background images. Renewals of habits and health tips are set to drip into my newsfeed for my personal improvement.
The media cycle churns and rotates its automatic replay, but it is quieting down now that the new year has latched on.
Since the screen media has been an active player in the erasing of our ability to recall or analyse, we accept its assessment of the past year the way we might accept the smile in a photograph of our 10th birthday as a full memory. We know it’s incomplete but the photo has taken the place of the memory, the story has blanketed the experience, then blanked the experience.
Eliot said, “You have had the experience, but have you missed its meaning.” I can’t find meaning in the lists of ten best, ten worst. It seems so much work to do all that, read all that, watch all that, consume all that.
Even if some old prospector may have been able to find a few gold nuggets in the pebbles and other aggregations of what was, I don’t have time for that.
Okay, new has come in - it seems unformed but that’s because it is still small and growing. I’m nurturing it now, with ideas of a new balance between the social and the mysterious.
We can all nurture the new year with our loving warm attention, giving to the year’s experience as much as we naturally can. If it is crying, give it a gentle new rhythm, a little nurturance, a skin-to-skin snuggle.
Let’s naturally nurture the new year.
We can get that oxytocin flowing through the tree of life, here in 2023. This year we can consciously give out to whatever is before us, and receive from it a deeper meaning.
It helps to contemplate the works of depth that don’t depend on quick turnaround, and which connect to the greater reaches of the human endeavour. Rainer Maria Rilke ends his poem Archaic Torso of Apollo, with these lines:
“…for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.”
No more “new year new me”. No artificial personal growth resolutions. The process is easier and better than all that. It is something completely natural and good for all.
Now that it knows how to latch on, let’s give this new year a good start. Just imagine how this year will show its potential, as it feeds on our gentle care. If it’s growing cries are disturbing our sleep, I say we just get up, put on a little light, and sit or rock with it for a time. In the daytime, forget the busyness and artificial newsfeed, give it the real thing. Take time with it, sing with it, carry it with you, give out some love. Engage the full relationship, receive its message.
Taking time for philosophy - the love of wisdom
Before the holidays I was writing more, with intensity and strong intention. That process led me into a more hermit-like stage, and (to tell you the truth) I am still in that. Not reaching out socially as I had been, and looking more deeply inside. Taking cues from the winter season to go within on these short days, my face is turning more and more toward that inner sun. I’m taking the time and space to examine some of the preconceived ideas that had been driving me. In a dream a few nights ago, I was surprised to discover I was going down the highway in a self-driving car.
From the outside, I may not appear too hermit-like. I’m active, doing the stuff of daily life, following my interests, with a strong new interest in Platonism. I’m keeping up with the regular rhythm of writing, walks, and this newsletter, along with all the events that create balance in the conditions of living, with a more subtle flow and shift.
Just as a new year makes us believe there is a sharp demarcation point where the NEW begins to appear, my shift into a more inner-directed focus may not be as sudden as I first thought. It was always there, latent, but unseen as the ground. And now, when I give it more space, it rises from the ground and stands before me, and becomes a figure I can begin to identify.
I’ll keep you posted on these ideas and doings as we go forward with the sun, into the year ahead.
I hope you take some pleasure in reading my newsletter when it comes in to you. I’ve become more of a hermit lately, which may mean more writing will be coming your way in the months ahead. Once again, thank you all for your support!
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La Leche League, was formed by women in the 1950s, who met and organized in their kitchens to promote the natural process of breastfeeding, at a time when only 20% of American women were breastfeeding their babies! In this video, Buffy Sainte Marie talks about how she nursed her baby on Sesame Street, way back when.