Wintergreen: New Year’s Day on Whidbey Island

I have a friend who tells me, “What you do on your birthday sets the tone for the year.” It’s not my personal birthday, but it is the first day of a New Year… so happy birthday 2013… and here’s the tone of what I did today.

Mountains in morning light

Mountains in morning light

I woke and wrote in my journal—thinking deeply about the many events and adventures planned for the next 6 months, sort of a Solstice-to-Solstice awareness.

I prayed for guidance, for wisdom, for help bringing all this work together in good ways and for understanding “what is mine to do now.”

I did home-based self-care: yoga stretches, dog petting, laying out vitamins, eating a healthy breakfast…  Commonsense remembering to take care of myself and encouraging those around me to take care in commonsense ways.

I spent an hour in telephone council with a beloved colleague. With ease and facility we followed circle protocols by voice, a thousand miles apart, with candles lit in each of our spaces. Truth and compassion without holding back: we were peer spirits.

Ann on the roof

Ann on the roof

I worked outdoors alongside Ann. Our island handyman is replacing the garden fence, which leads us to clearing last year’s growth from side gardens, raking, pruning, emptying the autumn fir needles from the gutters.

I noticed little signs of growth already emerging on this first day of January. Buds are hiding in the primroses, the Hellebore blooming under the bedroom window, green grass and sweet carrots pulled from the ground to the plate.

I checked emails when I had time to answer them, not just flag them.

I wrote this blog, reaching out for you, whether you are far and near.

Soon, I will cook dinner, eat by the fire, work with Ann on our annual scrapbook.

This is a tone for the year I can imagine sustaining. It’s complex and strenuous at times, yet grounded in returning home again and again to the realities of Nature, the physical work of gardening, the non-tasky pleasures of dog-loving (play ball, play more ball, take me to the beach!), a sense of community that crops up everywhere—from travel, teaching, telephone calls, and post-hole digging in the rocky soil.

Gracie and me on beach stairs

Gracie and me on beach stairs

I am aware of the incredible privilege all this represents: a safe and beautiful place to live, enough of everything, a healthy body and resilient spirit, the opportunity to offer meaningful work to the world.

I am grateful. Profoundly great/full.

What are you doing to set the tone of the year?

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