the new thing for christmas
Today I began my 60th journal. I have been keeping a journal since January 4, 1976, my 20th birthday. So today I decided to pick up that first book and read a few pages. Such a tender young thing I was: so much promise, so little experience of life, and such a burning desire that my life would count for something.
The road from there to here has been long, though it has passed in the blink of an eye. Sometimes narrow, sometimes wide, it has been anything but straight. The road of Life rises up to meet me, day after day, from the darkness of the unknown into the headlights of discovery, showing me just enough of the road ahead to keep me from crashing. Sometimes I still do.
This morning, in my yoga practice, it came to me that we cannot bring forth anything that counts in life unless we let Life penetrate us. And yet, we live with so much resistance, so much fear of allowing that. This morning, in my yoga-softened body, I could feel the gifts of these years. I felt my receptivity, my openness, my desire, my longing. I have longed for Life itself, and the feeling of taking it in like a really deep breath. I have allowed Life to penetrate me and to awaken the seed of The New Thing in my heart, time and time again.
To me, at this moment, this is the story of Christmas. It is the story of a young Hebrew girl chosen by Life to receive, to be fertilized, to give birth. Her baby, called Jesus, would grow from humble beginnings to shine a light in the darkness of the world, which still shines today.
Let’s, for a moment, take this out of the context of religion. What I want to share here does not require that you believe anything. I invite you, just for these few minutes, to explore the possibility that this is the story of us all.
Every one of us is here carrying the seeds of New Things within us, each with an innate potential to change the world. Those seeds need to be liberated from their potential to take their place as a light in the world. Our openness to Life, our receptivity, allows that.
In creating things, we are both mother and father to them. We embody both the receptive (feminine) principle and the active (masculine) principle. Most of us find one easier than the other. But living the creative force of Life that is our human birthright and responsibility requires that we exercise both.
Time and again, through all these years, Life has cut me, penetrated me, and left me changed. With time and repetition, I have learned to welcome these experiences as the liberators of great gifts. As I take the experiences and trans-form them into New Things, those gifts move through me into the world.
Each of the things we use and value has come through a person, someone who allowed Life to come into them and through them, sometimes consciously and sometimes not. Through Life – the unstoppable, perpetual creative force that it is – The New Things give meaning to their scars.
Today, as I look back on the girl I was, who wanted so much for her life to count, I smile. All there was to do was to live my Life, “the full catastrophe”. And now, at this time we call Christmas, I invite you to join me. Let’s live it all together. Let’s transform it all, our pains and our joys, into gifts and give them to each other this Christmas.