The eve of the eve of a new year our lake was graced with majesty. Not just one, but two bald eagles paused to say Good Morning. Not uncommon as Mother Nature’s daughter to always be watching and listening, ever the student of the winged teachers Nature brings. As a new calendar year knocks on the door with its sureness of new beginnings, I reflect on the abundant goodness of this almost complete year of 2018.
I set intentions for each new year in two different ways. One involves many words and sentences and the other states only one word for what I wish the year to contain. I think of that single word as a key theme. Or said another way it can serve as a centering. The many words and sentences are the written goals and dreams. The single word is about simplicity and grounding. It can become easy to get into what I affectionally refer to as mind-space when there are many words to put energy in realizing. A single word is the overarching guideposts for discerning through the year’s unfolding. I declared celebrate when the calendar flipped to January 1, 2018. A year of celebration it has been, most certainly!
I reflect on how I have been student this year, literally and figuratively. Earning my MA and of myself and of life equally. I think of my teachers, professionally and personally. Many who have touched my life through Gonzaga University. And so many who have touched my life through daily living. I am about to do injustice in this blog, I fear, for I will be in adequate in acknowledging. There are so many teachers who have passed on their wisdom and their grace to me.
Teachers like my friend, a master wood-carver, who patiently taught me how to turn a block of wood into a bowl. Through my wise friend, I learned to further embrace that life is meant to be traveled slow. I, who love to see and see again, was taught how to better see. My wise friend taught me how to feel the smoothness of wood as a chisel was guided by my hands carefully. It was like watching a maestro listening to the finest piece of classical musical watching my wise friend gently touch the walnut grains. My heart further captivated when he had these words to say. You can’t hurt wood. No matter what you do to it, it will remain beautiful he calmly said as I focused sadly on the extra cut in the wood my inexperience made. In his words my heart internalized imperfect is perfect, and cuts and bruises are what give us our strength.
Teachers of Mother Nature like the deer, the woodpecker, the seagull, and a rainbow, too. Among their lessons include: gentleness, compassion, determination, follow the rhythm of life and your own heartbeat. Joyful living and hope, faith, and purpose in all things. My running partner another teacher every moment of every day. I am learning my dear Ginger how to listen more deeply each time that ear is raised. Thank YOU for the gift you are giving me to grow in hearing what voices and words do not need to convey.
And then there are what I refer to as life taps that may not necessarily be on my shoulder but give pause to what the tap desires to teach. Moments such as when a soul reaches their time to leave Earth or learns they are now a warrior fighting disease. In November a siren filled our neighborhood to assist a dear soul in need. A dear soul who preferred quiet solitude over being well-known and frequently seen. Over the Christmas holiday the neighborhood learned that this dear soul would no longer be driving the truck that parked in the driveway. Four days prior this dear soul had passed away. A teacher not of grandeur by being in the public eye. Yet, a teacher none-the-less whispering humble dignity and there is a fragileness to life.
Nearly thirty-one million-five-hundred-thirty-six thousand seconds lived in 2018. Every single one of them contained a teacher for me. Okay, fair enough, maybe the hours when sleeping was not as active in the classroom of life. Though, I’d argue that our dreams have opportunity to teach us if we hold the intention as we close our eyes goodnight. At any rate, we are students each day if we open are eyes, ears, and hearts to what is being taught.
So, I’m curious for you, who or what might have been your teachers that 2018 brought?