Welcoming the New Year

What did you expect?

As you stepped across the threshold of the year. And welcomed the new decade.

Does it feel any different?

Perhaps a better question is who do you want to become in 2020?

I’m not talking about some kind of Clark Kent exchange in a cupboard. Those radical transformations seldom happen. And when they do it’s usually because circumstances change and we have no option but to step into a new role or persona. Even if the fit isn’t good.

No. This is about being intentional. Choosing to become more fully who we are and realise who we could be. Finding our voice and using it to change the conversation.

But what if we don’t know what that looks like? Or we sense there are a variety of ways it could be expressed?

I’m currently in that place of unknowing. The year ahead will be a watershed for us and we simply do not know what is next.

Yes, it’s disorientating and I am tired. And I suspect there are others in a similar place of transition too.

Blessing for the New Year

However, being in the place of unknowing doesn’t have to be hopeless. Indeed, this is where real hope can take root if we are deliberate in nurturing it.

Over the last week, I have used John O’Donohue’s well-known blessing, Beannacht, as an anchor. In speaking of the New Year he brings a depth of insight to a time that is often loud and frothy.

A New Year Blessing

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

I am so glad it isn’t just up to me to remain steady on my feet. Yet, the notion of being supported by creation is humbling. Am I ready to receive?

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

Loss comes in so many ways. Some old, some new, some hidden so deep we forget it is there. Until…

These words both honour grief and offer the most amazing salve. They don’t leave us where we are.

And for me, the joy of colour is extravagant and exuberant. I love it!

This is so much more than we would give ourselves. And these are not pastel sweeteners – they are vibrant and generous. Offering more than has been taken. With joy.

May a flock of colours… The imagery is intoxicating.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

Yellow moonlight as a path. For those times when we have got lost in our own thinking. Caught in the cycles of mental rehearsing until we are disorientated and the weariness of not being clear sucks us in.

Yellow moonlight for the hope of safe homecoming. Wherever that may be.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

Oh yes! And please. But not just for ourselves.

This isn’t a singular blessing, one to be consumed alone.

We are not people alone. This is for sharing.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

John O’Donohue, A New Year Blessing from Benedictus – a Book of Blessings, Bantam Press, 2007

Starting with a heavy weight and finishing with a feather-light cloak. Not fast fashion, but a unique garment, woven with love that will sustain and protect us as we become all that we can be in the coming year,

With grace and hope and joy.

Welcome to 2020.

Thanks for being together on the journey


This week

The mixture of old and new. Finishing the twelve days of reflection from 2019 and choosing to step into the New Year in a different way.