These dark days before the solstice always put me in a reflective mood. As I look ahead to a new year, I also find myself looking back. What has 2012 been for me? I chose the word LESS for the year and in a way it has been a year of less. In the physical sense of the word, I managed to clean out many cupboards and closets, in part thanks to a wonderful organization called Turnip Green Creative Reuse, which accepts donations of materials that can be re-used by artists. And on the personal front, I chose inner and outer priorities (inner: playful, open, and true; outer: exploring things deeply, spending time alone, and spending time in genuine connection with others) and have tried to make decisions about the use of my time and energy with these in mind. On the other hand, I've been blessed with a lot of cool experiences!
One fun thing this year has been being an audiobook judge for the Audies. My category is books narrated by the author(s) and one book I really enjoyed that I normally wouldn't have picked up is Regis Philbin's How I Got this Way. He finishes each chapter with a little wrap-up beginning with the phrase "What I Took Away from It All". I loved this organizational device and thought I'd borrow it for my 2012 wrap-up here. Here are the big things I experienced in 2012 and "What I Took Away from It All" - hope you enjoy!
Albert Hadley - Working on Mr. Hadley's exhibit pushed me way outside of my comfort zone, but it was a huge gift to be able to spend time with this incredible man at a very challenging time in his life. He taught me so much about beauty and graciousness and I'm deeply grateful for the experience and connection.
Body Adventures - An awesome addition to 2012 has been my practice of getting a weekly massage with Julie - she's fabulous! I also got way into Marie Manuchehri's book Intuitive Self-Healing, and really all things Marie Manuchehri! Definitely hoping for more Marie in 2013!
Road Trips - I love hitting the open road and was so lucky to have a wide variety of road trips in 2012, from Opeth and Mastodon in Knoxville and Atlanta to Anne Lamott also in Knoxville and Buck Brannaman in Huntsville, each of these trips was a unique adventure! More, more!
Eckhart Tolle - Allowing myself to get into Eckhart Tolle was a great part of 2012. I can be so resistant to sort of "mainstream" things that I can definitely miss out. It is actually amazing that Eckhart Tolle can be considered mainstream. Really working with his teachings actually does feel deeply ordinary and yet completely revolutionary. Definitely want more Eckhart in 2013, too.
Retreats - At Jon Bernie's spring retreat this year I couldn't help but notice how much I love retreats, especially the structure and the silence. While there I discovered that the Birmingham Shambhala Center had announced dates for Levels 4 & 5 and the timing finally felt right to finish up the Heart of Warriorship series. Add a weekend at Joe Zarantonello's peaceful Loose Leaf Hollow and this was a practically perfect year of retreats. I've already got plans for more in 2013 as I continue to follow my spiritual bliss...
Travel - Although the number of trips I took this year might not seem to fit with the theme of LESS, I think it is the LESSness of travel that I love. I get to bring just my favorite things along with me. I'm out of my usual environment, with its usual distractions. Travel really distills my world down to the present moment. And it was awesome to get to see so much of my family in my travels this year, although I'm definitely missing some of the dear folks I didn't get to see. Looking forward to more time with family in 2013 for sure!
Squam - What an amazing experience to be back at Squam this year! It is always so powerful for me. I loved getting to catch up with my cabinmates after 2 years and see what's happened in their lives. So many good things. Heck, I even made something this year. But I'm also excited to see that Elizabeth is shaking things up for 2013. She's such a dear and amazing woman and it's a pleasure and inspiration to get to experience all the good things she brings to life as she comes more and more into her own true self. Love it.
So, pretty great year, eh? And 2013 feels like it holds even more magic and possibilities...