Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is ready to take on 2007. Let's assume that it's going to be a banner year for everybody. Self-fulfilling prophecies and all that.

There's not a whole lot to write about at the moment. Everyone seems to be happy and busy right now. As of January 4th, I'm still keeping to my resolutions. That might be a record for me.

I hope everyone got what they wanted this holiday. There wasn't any particular thing that I wanted or needed. The experience of giving my family and friends stuff that they like was pretty neat, but then it always is. I'm not sure how to describe what I wanted. An experience? Some sort of cosmic gift? That sounds too grandiose. Maybe what I was hoping for was some kind of quick cosmic nod. Being oversaturated with news and weary from the angry rhetoric that has started to feel like ambient noise, I wanted a glimpse of something that was bigger than myself, older than my soul and a reminder that there is still beauty and sublimity to be experienced.

I got it early morning on December 23rd while driving on Highway 109 in Sumner County. To be exact, I was going over the Cumberland River on the Veterans' Memorial Bridge when I noticed the shadows moving across the hood and windshield of my car.

I looked up to see a flock of Canadian Geese flying in V-formation. They were following the curve of the river as the sun rose. Because the bridge is so high up, they were flying close. Since there was no one else on the road at that hour, I stopped for a moment. Another flock flew over and then I looked to my left and saw wave after wave of geese all flying in that same V formation. Some of them were flying close enough that you could hear their voices and the swoosh and rustle of their wings. I wish there was a way to convey how magnificent it was.
I stayed there as long as I could and then reluctantly continued my drive when I heard another vehicle coming up the road.

And that was that.

Did I say I was keeping my resolutions so far? Yes I did. I wasn't even going to make resolutions and then group of us got together and watched "Akeelah and the Bee" on New Year's Eve. Aside from the fact that it was easily the best movie I saw last last year, it included a quote from Marianne Williamson that I hadn't heard in a long time that really hit home.

"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'who am I to be so brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God: Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson

I'll be the first to cop that I usually avoid self-help books because huggy-boo new age thinking makes me squirm. But there's something to this. It's the sort of thing that I've tried to instill in my nephew and the kids I taught and cared for and that I've quite frankly lost sight of myself over the last few years.

So what's the point in all this? If I'm going to type out this much navel-gazing, there should at least be a lesson. The lesson was seeing the need to get over myself and get out of my own way. Being humbled and quieted has allowed for clarity and peace and happiness and real drive that isn't based in fear or desire. It was the perfect gift.

copyright 2007 Jas Faulkner