I'm kind of late on this one, but I had a screw loose, as Whitney pointed out. I can't say they're any tighter now, but the one on the computer is okay...
You might notice that I left the "Happy" out of the traditional New Year greeting. Not that I don't want it to be a happy one; I do indeed hope it will be happy, for all of us. But what I'm really hoping is that it will be new. Different. A fresh start; out of that same old rut many of us have been stuck in. What we need is change.
All around me, I see people facing big, scary changes, the kind no one wants to confront. So many friends are facing illness, loss of jobs or income, loss of their homes. These can cause other losses. We lose self confidence, direction, sense of purpose. We are lost.
We wonder, What next?
Believe it or not, this state of uncertainty, of feeling as if the rug has been pulled out from under you, of being totally lost, is a magical place to be. It is the crossroads, the "between", the place of potential and new beginnings. From this point, all things are possible. According to spiritual principles, only when something is taken away can something new be brought in; a psychic "space" must be cleared in order to bring in new energy.
Symbolically, there can be no rebirth without going through the death phase. A shaman receives his/her power by going through a transformation which usually involves a severe illness, an inner experience of being torn apart and put back together in a new and different form. It is painful; it feels like you will not survive.
In "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times", Pema Chodron writes that she had a sign on her wall which read, "Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us." She goes on to say, "Nevertheless, when the bottom falls out and we can't find anything to grasp, it hurts a lot... When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something."
My daughter used to say that without the darkness, we wouldn't see the stars. May each of us see our own stars.