Starting where we are. Again.

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It seems as if there is no better time to focus on what might be described as the spiritual side of life, taking stock, going inside and listening, than at the end of another year. Of course, having just said that, I know that’s not true is it? Anytime would do. But in the still and the dark there’s gratitude for another year, and that seems to come more naturally around this time, so let’s work with that shall we?

Sure, it’s a false marker, silly actually, but in the darkness and quiet of winter, the time between the solstice and the days growing longer, winter’s stillness sets a gentler rhythm urging us to keep time and slow ourselves for just a moment, to find a still point as well.

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Weigh possibilities. Sow ideas. Find renewed hope, choose those things to move from intent into action in the next 365 days. Everything that matters begins there: Idea. Possibility. Change.

This time of year for me, and for you if you’re paying attention, is always a collage of emotion. Can you feel it?  Layers and faces and places thicker and deeper as the years build one on top of the other. Memories scattered like leaves across a heart scarred and patched again and again with the fuzzy purple wool of imagination and re-telling.

What ever happened to so and so? How is he now? Is he happy? Does he ever think of me? Does she?

Knowing that in spite of everything that has passed, I have no doubt, (one of the few things I have no doubt about),  that I am precisely where every choice I’ve made, through conscious action, indecision or apathy, has directed me. Yes, for better and for worse. But that’s okay. Be kind. “Be kind to yourself,” she said to me this afternoon.

Oh sure, looking back with the benefit of hindsight of course I would have done some things differently. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t we all? Of course. But we did exactly what we could at the time. Belief. Projection. Truth.

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So, in spite of what it may look like (to them, to you), I have faith that I am exactly where I am meant to be. It’s my path. All mine. Not yours. Not his. Not hers. I see so clearly now that the grass is no longer greener over there where you might be standing. What I used to believe. Not anymore. Still striving. Better than stagnating!  Easy to mistake germination for death. Twenty steps backwards to create a future that fits.

I wouldn’t trade your burdens for my own and neither should you. Compassion the only response. Especially when it’s hard to come by, hard to call up from inside as it sometimes is lately.

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All that’s left is planning for what you and I might make happen. No such thing as asking ‘What will this year bring? Forego that silly question. Ask only what matters enough to make happen; change.

And all the while believing that there is a higher being or some energy bigger than you and I, circumstances beyond our control, sure to waylay the best of plans – look around  – the evidence is everywhere. Especially in other countries. So lucky to be Canadian.

We will keep going. Do our best with our limited wisdom. Depend more upon our wise inner sage.  Listen. Don’t second guess.

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Just believe as that wise monk, Pema Chodron, once said, All we can really do is START WHERE WE ARE. Again. And again. And again.


  1. So beautifully expressed, Gayle. Your insight is amazing and wonderful! I wish you everything that is good for you during the coming year. With love and admiration,
    Anne (and Bob)
    P.S. The “energy bigger than you” is possibly YOU (food for thought??)

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