Saturday, December 31, 2011
My letter to 2011
For today’s blog, I write a letter to 2011 – since it has no physical address, I’ll share my letter with you here :)
“No mud, no lotus.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
You were the best of times, you were the worst of times. You were a rollercoaster year more than any other in recent memory. Personally and globally, you were tumultuous, full of challenges as well as much celebration and joy, and much to be grateful for.
I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go. The last few months you really dealt me some blows, and all I can really say is that I got through them. I am getting through them. And certainly, the blows could always be bigger. They could always be harder. But I didn’t receive anything I couldn’t handle.
The highlights of 2011 were really the most simple things, and perhaps you reminded me that this is what life is really about – being reunited with my husband after long months of separation, being able to celebrate our marriage with loved ones, receiving many visitors to our new home in San Diego. After living abroad for many years, 2011 was full or reconnection with friends and family – both in physical time and space, and also through this project (My Year of Letters). I cherish these moments and hope that 2012 brings many more.
In the challenges, you reminded me that everything changes – that nothing is stable, nothing is to be taken for granted, and that anything can be taken away in a moment. I lost my job, and we were frighteningly close to losing my dad. You reminded me of the everchanging fragility of life, of impermanence. Through these challenges, you reminded me to surrender, to accept what is. I will try to remember this as I move into 2012.
I read a quote recently, something like “Life doesn’t get easier, we just get stronger.” Looking back, if some of the things that happened this year had happened 5 years ago, I don’t know how well I would have handled them. But I feel like I have the tools to deal with what is happening now – and to not just deal with it, but to make something great come out of it. Remembering that everything ultimately happens for our upliftment.
One of the other highlights of 2011 was having the opportunity to study with the great spiritual teacher and peacemaker Thich Naht Hanh. Thay says, “no mud, no lotus,” meaning that without the darker, challenging aspects of life, we would not be able to have the beauty and the joy. This year was definitely a muddy year, but I see a lotus blooming for 2012. If 2011 was year of mud, let 2012 be the year of the lotus. 2011 has definitely provided much fodder for 2012 to bloom.
Thank you, 2011, for all of the challenges and joy that you brought, for the opportunities for growth, and for the opportunities to really challenge myself to be a better person. I dedicate 2012 to being the best person I can be, and for all of my actions to contribute to a more peaceful world.