As the present year moves towards ending, I am more aware than ever before of how endings are always and also beginnings. This applies to death as well as to all aspects of life; not only does death initiate an ending for the ones
who die; it initiates a beginning for them as well, a transformation of presence. We don't know the form in which they survive beyond this life, but we do know they survive -forever - among those who knew and especially those who love them. And that brings
back an old Catholic phrase that I knew the meaning of even when I was 6: we live our lives as part of the "communion of saints." I understand that now as I never have, and experience it every day. In our less archaic phrasing, I know it is that everyone whom
we love, living or passed on, continues to be entwined in our everyday lives. I find this amazingly comforting.
Each year, as it comes to an end, I spend those last days making what is called a "soul card"; an image of some inner reality that marks
for me how I want to move into the coming year as this one is ending. I do not have my card here yet, but I will post it in a couple of days when I do. But I have been reflecting on how I want to focus this coming year, and a question from Hollis' new book
Hauntings stays with me in this regard: he keeps reminding us that we are not our history, influential as it is and will continue to be in our daily lives; rather we are what wishes to enter the
world through us. So that is the question I intend to ask myself each morning in 2014: "what wishes to enter the world through me today?"
And I feel myself moving closer to engaging in prayer in
the simplest of ways, deeply interior, present-moment prayer, moving my prayer more outside of formal practice into the momenst of everyday life as well.
Finally, and especially with a view to entering into a writing
sabbatical year beginning in July 2014, I intend to follow Mark Nepo's statement "...it has become very clear that giving voice to what is inner is essential to surviving what is outer. No matter where we live or whom we love, no matter what we want or what
we can't have, this is the lesson I can't repeat or learn enough." So I intend to give voice to what is inner more often, more intentionally, with respect and discernment, but most of all with truth.
I will hold myself to these three statements.