Like many of you, I generally use the turning of the year to take stock of my life and make resolutions to fix some of the ways in which I find it, and me, wanting.
On this New Year’s morning, I had repaired to my sofa with tea and cat, prepared to do what I’ve done before, when I found an email from my Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and his naturopath wife in my iPhone inbox.
They proposed doing a different sort of stock-taking: taking stock of what’s good and what’s working in our lives, instead of what’s wrong, and beginning the year with feelings of gratitude instead of focusing on deficiency.
If we’re struggling in some areas, they suggested we bring kindly attention to those areas, without berating ourselves, and then realign, perhaps redefine, and shift from wanting to having.
Frankly, some years I would have found this message a bit pat, even cloying. This New Year’s Day I realized, slowly but surely, that it was just what I needed, and what I wanted to and could do.
There are many areas of my life where I realize on a regular basis that I am incredibly fortunate, where gratitude comes easily.
But my spiritual practices had become problematic. I worried that they were self-indulgent, perhaps even pointless, or worse. Taiji often felt like an exercise in failure, what with my balance/dizziness/internal swoopiness issues. And I didn’t know where to go with qigong, since maybe I’d been doing it wrong and/or amplifying flaws inherent to my aging brain, with the result being internal swoopiness instead of knowing and peace.
But as I pondered, I realized there were indeed positives in my spiritual practices, things I could be grateful for. Continue reading