Amidst the total chaos of the holiday shopping season a couple of weeks ago, I took a moment to step into a bookstore and picked something up that currently has a hold on me, and probably will for a very long time. It was a relatively unassuming, slim black book called "Milk and Honey," by Rupi Kaur. I was drawn to it, and then opened it up and saw it was poetry. I skimmed it quickly, and then put it down, thinking to myself, "These are beautiful, but I'm not really into poetry." I walked away from the display table, hesitated, and then wandered back. I picked it up again, and continued thumbing through. I stood there for a while, soaking in the succinct yet elegant words that described so many themes of my life and the lives of my friends, family, and clients.
My initial rejection of this stunningly impactful little book was based on me feeling like I don't necessarily "get" poetry, and therefore should not attempt to access it: "I haven't had enough exposure to it." "Once I've read them all, what do I do with it? Do people reread poetry?" "Is it worth the money when I know I could read it cover-to-cover in an hour?" I almost missed out on something beautiful because my boundaries and my concept of self were rigid. I dismissed "Milk and Honey" because I put it in a box, and then decided that I didn't understand how to open that box.
This brings me to my personal intention and focus of the new year: Wade in unfamiliar waters. I am comfortable in what I know, and I say that I want to know more. But here it was, in a beautifully different form - the same words and themes and sorrows I share with so many on a daily basis in my work, and I was closed to it because I was worried that I wouldn't "get" it.
My life's work is focused on expansion, and opportunities to do so present themselves to me in the smallest ways, each and every day. I am working on opening my eyes, mind, and spirit to them. Here are a few words of Rupi Kaur, from "Milk and Honey," which will guide my year and provide me with ongoing resolutions for my soul - rather than resolutions to "fix" my diet, bad habits, or help me live up to the expectations of society or others rather than my own. Kaur's words have been a gift to me, and hopefully they will resonate with you, too.
worth holding on to
would not have let go"
Resolve: Acceptance in what is meant to be. Loosening my grip on what I cannot control. Understanding that change happens and the world is in constant motion, and losses are a part of this world. I am not at fault for them.
"it is part of the
human experience to feel pain
do not be afraid
open yourself to it
Resolve: Live fully and in passion as well as in fear. Push my own boundaries and move out of a state of perpetual comfort, for this is where growth has the best chance to begin.
"you deserve to be
in your surroundings
not lost within them"
Resolve: Stand strong in places where I feel lost. If I walk away, I will lose the opportunity to understand them or understand myself within them. Build a life where I am, and live in the present moment rather than planning for new surroundings that I perceive may be a better fit. Find acceptance and belief that where I am now is exactly where I am meant to be.
want to spend
the rest of your life
Resolve: Continue and deepen my own lifelong pursuit of loving, understanding, and challenging myself. Put myself before others, and find acceptance in doing so although it may be unfamiliar. Honor myself, as well as my desires and intentions.
"for you to see beauty here
does not mean
there is beauty in me
it means there is beauty rooted
so deep within you
you can't help but
see it everywhere"
Resolve: See it everywhere... in others, in myself, and in the world that holds us all.
Wishing you all a week of reflection and light as these days bridge the gap between past, present, and future -- Happy New Year!