Moving toward the light, but learning from the darkness

Walking out to into the darkness and cold night air to tuck our animals in for the night, I stopped and caught my breath. As in, I really felt my breath taken away. Not from fear, but from awe. The star filled night drew me in and blew me away, all at once. I turned off the headlamp and stepped into the dark night taking a risk - both because of the snowy, slippery walk but also because my imagination runs wild sometimes alone in the dark. In the certainty of simply accepting the uncertainty of what would happen - I stepped into the night. My eyes readjusted, I drew in a breath of the gloriously crisp air, soaked up the vision of the majestic starlit night sky, and walked to the barn.

I know that silence and stillness are teachers. I know that nature always speaks to my heart. But it took the all-encompassing darkness and still but distant light of the stars to gently jolt me - my busy, distracted mind - into a listening, open mind. And this January 1st night sky, this is where my New Year intention came from.

I share it here, vulnerable as it may feel,  to place it where I will see it and be reminded, but also to share it, in hopes that perhaps it speaks to you too.

This year, 2017, I intend to notice the beauty that is always around me. That I know is there yet often miss. I will see that beauty and focus my lens on it. I will let it take my breath away. And, then, then I will harness that beauty, that mystical beauty of the Universe to bring about good - in what I do, in who I am, in how I see, in what I say, in how I love. I will step into that beauty.

When I returned in from doing the animal chores last night, a deep calm had settled over me. One that I did not want interrupted by any screens, which often fill my mind and heart back up with distracted chatter. Instead I was drawn to a book. A small but powerful book co-authored by the eloquent and soul-filling writer, speaker and Benedictine sister, Joan Chittister. Instantly these words jumped out to me,
"Life itself is an exercise in learning to sing alleluia here in order to recognize the face of God hidden in the recesses of time. To deal with the meaning of alleluia in life means to deal with moments that do not feel like alleluia moments at all."
Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is  
Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams
This is a time that it perhaps feels more important than ever to see the beauty and to bring about good in the world. No matter which candidate (of the current two-party system) won the election to the highest office of the land this past November, we had work ahead of us. Work to protect the planet; work to raise awareness around issues of environmental and economic injustice; work to see each other - particularly those we deem 'other' - through eyes of compassion instead of judgement, hate and fear.

It's 2017. A new year. The Universe does not care about our calendar of dates and numbers. Nor does anything non-human. But it is a new year nonetheless and therefore we are given a sense of a 'fresh start'. Of hope. Of beginnings. Our human hearts need that. In the coming year, I am wishing you many moments of seeing the beauty. That we may see the beauty and respond out of love for the world, and love for each other.


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