happy(ish) new year!
Constantly be open to change.
Constantly become more you.
Let's all get better."
-Judah and the Lion
Life is full of beautiful reminders of endings and beginnings, of death and life, of seasons and rhythms. The end of a year is always a good time to take stock, to look simultaneously backward and forward.
Where have we been?
Where are we going?
Begin Again is a poem that I wrote about three disconnects that I wrestle to find my place and peace in:
1. American nationalism and capitalism: including global wealth distribution, power, and injustice. Brett Dennon in "Ain't No Reason" (great song!) sings:
"The wind blows wild, and I may move.
But politicians lie and I am not fooled.
You don't need no reason or a three piece suit,
To argue the truth."
The political landscape of 2016 made tension and division nearly impossible to ignore. While I hope to move into 2017 in a position of grace, love, and kindness, I never want to leave the tension of what it means to live in a place of privilege and focus on what it looks like to honor our connected humanity through the choices that I make.
2. How do I look back to learn, look forward to grow, and stay present?
It is so hard to cultivate presence in our lives. Simultaneously, we have so much to learn from history, and we have so far to go in the process of redemption. Yet all we have is now. How can we take what we have learned in 2016 to be more alive, awake, present, loving, kind, and generous in 2017? How can we be where we are? How can we keep growing?
3. What do I value and prioritize?
It feels like a broken record to talk about where we spend our time, energy, and money speaking to our deepest values. But, it's simple, and it's true. However, when we intentionally shift those things to what we say we value or want to value, it is important to pay attention to the feelings that arise. And deal with them.
Last night, I was talking with my brother in law about his business and how they focus on "controlling the controllable". Part of the depths of our struggle often stems from trying to control everything, even the impossible. However, in order to be honest about our values, we need to be really honest with ourselves about what we can control and what we can not. It is easy to value and prioritize well when the uncontrollables are in our favor, but do we stay true when the uncontrollables are not?
No matter where we find ourselves in this moment in all of these things, we can choose to keep beginning again. We can control a lot of our responses and how we navigate the constantly changing climate of our lives.
Take a breath.
i rub the sleep from my eyes and begin again
i am awake
among my dreams not pursued
scattered like ashes
a layer of dust
covering all of the voices yelling “just trust U.S.”
in the midst of negative voices
and overwhelming fear
self doubt grips my hand
like a jealous lover lingering near
but i am awake, i breathe
i must begin again
maybe my dreams and my soul are not mine to defend
maybe foes will never meet as friends
maybe the end is not the end
that i seek
or that i want
or that i am meant to embrace
like dynamite covered in lace
the facade is too thin for me
and those who see have the voice of the prophets
while those who don't have the power of profits
i remain lost in the disconnect,
questioning if i lost it
i take a breath and
knowing the faraway path is always unclear
but if it is clarity that i seek
it can be found in the waiting
and in the one next step
that is somehow known
so i will remain
Mikesh Kaos https://unsplash.com/@mikeshkaos