As this is the last post of the year, I can't help and do some reflecting on this past year, and looking forward to 2014, and new adventures to come. It has been a year of trials, tribulations, and triumphs. I've always had a hard time at this time of year. Being a spring baby, the winter months feel depressive, though I grew up in upstate New York and loved being in the snowy woods. Now that I'm Florida based, you would think the winters wouldn't affect me as much.
Though it is wonderful being in perpetual sunshine while the rest of the country shivers, winter is still winter. It's why I look forward to spring so much. No matter how difficult things may be, there is perpetual hope. Perpetual spring follows the darker winters, and on it goes.
What the koi teach me, true Zen masters as they are, is to keep moving. Standing still will kill you! To be engaged with life, you have to keep moving, keep adapting to the ups and downs, and sideways of your life. Giving up, giving in is not an option. It had been some time since I visited these koi last, and I was amazed at how big they had grown! Several people who stopped by while I was photographing them said the same thing. This past year for me has in some ways felt like standing still. In some ways like a going backwards. Depending how you do it, going backwards can actually help you discover things that can propel you further in a different direction than where you were headed.
It can be a yin-yang path. I used to think going backwards from a set path was not an option, but it does allow you a "reset" button to alter course when life tells you you're not on your right path. It just may be time to course-correct your life and asses where you truly belong, and what you need to be doing. As Joseph Campbell was fond of saying, "You have to give up the life you have planned, in order to have the life that is waiting for you."
That speaks to me of not living small. Of living out of your authentic self in every way. I've been listening to the audio book "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz lately, and it has a lot to say on how we don't live fully, and why. It talks deeply about how to break our domesticating habits and live a fully rich life. I've been getting a lot of these messages lately, from many sources, even in the midst of personal turmoil. Or maybe because of the turmoil!
They (wise folks) say that in your darkest moments is when you find a light to carry you through. "Where you stumble, there's your treasure" (again, Joseph Campbell). So even though for me it has been a difficult year on many levels, the hope instilled in the very act of creating something holds the flourish of spring.
I wish you all a joyous winter season, with the creative spirit in you giving you the spark to look ahead to the new year to come, full of promise and growth!