It was good that I instituted my own 30 Mindful Days at the beginning of this year. Who knew 2016 would let the rise of what I see as dreadfully negative elements paint a jagged shadow over these last days of December 2016?
The January death of my beloved mentor and friend, Eddie, was the first hint that the things I grasp for comfort and truth would be shaken to the core.
And just minutes before I received the call that Eddie had passed on, I was in conversation about making life changes. Cosmic poetry in the works.
The poetry began in 2015 with a year-long meeting of the tribe at my dining room table. Good food, wine, and conversation sustained my hungry quest for solidity and formed 2016’s foundation. Cosmic poetry’s prelude.
2016 demands reflection.
From a bench high above the Pacific Ocean in the mountains of California’s Big Sur, I understood the vast possibility of purpose. It brought me to uncontrollable tears. These were not tears of sadness, but tears of soul nourishment. Like a sudden bolt of electrical energy, my dark corners were exposed and reckoned with.
I learned about deep love — a love more sustaining than romantic love. Like reading a classic novel over and over, and with every read discovering the creative nuance of each chosen word between the book’s covers, so is discovering the art of deep love.
As I continue to harvest what I’ve learned about the goodness of nature, both external and within, 2016 forced me to confront the thorny vines that can smother nature’s bountiful fruits if left unchecked and not plucked from the soil.
Rampantly fast-growing thorny vines have their place, like poison oak — but we must be mindful of the sting and burn from this side of nature. Negative conditions, left untended, give these noxious life forms dominance. All things in nature must be in balance.
Will history determine that 2016 was a year of balancing a scale or tipping it dangerously close to the fire?
And so it is with me and the rest of humanity.
Perhaps this is why the desert drew me in over and over this year. I know the desert well. I grew up in the desert — both in life and metaphorically. The seemingly endless light that heated the soil beneath my feet and cast mirages before me was both a gift and a trick. Sorting candor from myth consumed much of my time.
Candor, I discovered, was disguised by those clever in the art of redirecting our focus to one hand dancing through the air, while the other hand slid low and concealed the truth. Such is 2016’s legacy — pirating sorcerers conniving in a mirage.
I’m not a big fan of pirating sorcerers. My heart is heavy for the ones tricked by the mirage.
My 2016 blessings, however, include the convivial tribe of family and friends.
An interesting year is ahead. I’m not in control of anything more than my own behavior — which is not easily tamed into model conduct by any means. Thorny vines still sprout within me.
2016 concludes among the people I love the most. This will help me swerve past the jagged shadows of this year and ride a new road less traveled.