Posted - 01/11/2009 11:18pm
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January 2009

Sonoma, California


The new year is unfolding at a pace I am winding down to.  For the past three years running, I ran.  I ran as if the wind was chasing me and I had nowhere to hide.  With the arrival of 2009 and last evening's early celebration of the Russian new year, I came to a decision to return to a life of substance over the superfluous. 


Tired of my own chatter, I seek a return to a language that speaks freshly and directly from the heart.  I realize that I have spent the past three years enveloped in a din of my own creation.  To be heard, to be understood, I thought I needed to explain myself in detail.  I talked too much and hid behind the chatter that I engaged. I see it all now and am amazed that anyone stopped to listen at all.


I am reminded of one of my favourite poets, the Irishman David Whyte, who tells a story about a time in his life when he had lost his way.  Frenzied and exhausted, he appeared at the doorway of a meeting with colleagues awaiting his arrival ... to ask if anyone had seen David. His colleagues simply stared at him.


When I heard this story, I saw my reflection in Whyte's mirror without recognizing myself either.  Like David Whyte, I had forgotten when I had last seen myself and so I kept looking in everyone else's mirror thinking I'd find myself there.  I had long ago stopped seeing myself in my own mirror no matter how hard I looked. 

How could anyone hear me when I couldn't hear myself?  To be sure, I also listened ... and it was in those moments of deep listening that I could hear myself and the other.  Again and again, I return to the quiet within as the place to linger and learn so that I may know who to bring out in the world for my next engagement.  Dwelling for a spell in that quiet place reminds me of who I am....


Seeking a return to a language that speaks freshly and directly from my heart will take me a little time to rediscover.  I've been marinating in clattering chatter for some time ... and as we all know, Rome wasn't built in a day, either.  So, yes, it will take a little time to wind down.  I have to remember to be gentle with myself and leave the critic behind in the dust of the new construction.


When I can hear the music of my heart again, it will permit me a stroll in the park instead of the knee-pounding jog on concrete I had become used to.  Running on empty, I now aim to slow down my pace to match my pulse. 


It is not a coincidence that my wish to return to a substantive way of life began with a remembering of ancient memories to a belonging whose start I cannot recall.  Russian, ByeloRussian and Tatar blood flows through me finally insisting that I return to my ancestral roots ... so that my pulse may be measured according to the beat of a spiritual warrior.


My every thought uttered in a word and my every action in all that I do must be a reflection of my spiritual message.  My word is my bond; my thoughts are my longings from the center of heart to the whole of soul.  My action is spirit in motion.

I want to live each day for all that I am; for all that I have tried; for all that I have not accomplished; for all the clumsiness and bewilderment I left behind in the wake of my footsteps; for all the tears; for all the love; for this and more...I embrace the fool, and the angel I am. 


The French say that gratitude is the "heart's memory."  I love the French for their nuanced interpretation of an eloquent life.

With two New Year rituals behind me, beginning with the Gregorian calendar and western Christianity's celebration of the new year, then moving on to acknowledge the Julian calendar, and eastern Christianity's measurement of time, I am finally ready to start 2009 desirous of living in a state of grace ... even if I fall again and again.


Eastern Christianity is the mystical side of Christianity, where love is the coin of the realm and judgment of whether or not one lives in a state of grace, or falls from grace, is not conferred.  How lucky I am to be exposed to that which remains eternal.

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Comment posted by Blaine on 01/12/2009

Beautiful Anya.  Thank you so much for inviting us to be a part of it all.