Toward the Coming Year: Holding Contradiction Close

There’s something about this time of year that gets me into an organizing mode. Maybe it’s the desire to put things in order before the New Year. Maybe it’s the thrill of a fresh planner. Maybe it’s the chance to renew. Maybe the New Year feels like a clean slate, and I want to “do it right” this time around. Whatever it is, there is this strong urge to clean, organize, and put things in order. (Though, the state of my desk at this moment might say otherwise.)

What’s super funny about that this year is that I’ve been contemplating my “word” for the coming year. Every year, I try to have the intention of setting a word to guide me through the year. In looking back through other years, the words have often been retrospective and I’m not really finding any documented online (except that “home” encapsulated 2010). And as I am thinking about 2013 and all that may come in the new year, I keep finding the same word sifting its way to the top, as the rest trickles around it.

And where the funny comes in is that it runs counter to my typical end-of-the-year, new year’s resolutions listed and tacked to my journal typical way of functioning.

messy fearlessness

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to appear completely put together. And I recently had someone tell me that the FB posts made her think I was swimming along just fine. And that’s not the case at all. Not that I’m falling apart like I have in the past, but, my friends, I am far far from perfect or put together Just So. It’s exhausting to pretend otherwise, to try to put one face forward and not be able to share the entirety of this life.

And honestly? It runs counter to practice.

The path of meditation and the path of our lives together has to do with curiosity, inquisitiveness. The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later. People often say to me, ” I wanted to come and have an interview with you, I wanted to write you a letter, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I wanted to wait until I was more together.” And I think, “well, if you’re anything like me, you could wait forever!” So come as you are. The magic is being willing to be open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.
~ Pema Chodron, Wisdom of No Escape

I’m still contemplating what messy fearlessness means, but it keeps showing up at my door, knocking. It keeps coming up in my writing practices, in different ways. And so, I’m still sitting with it – amidst the contradiction of wanting to organizing, file, and make ready for the new year.

What about you? Do you set a yearly intention or resolutions?


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