Every single year I write a New Year letter outlining my goals and desires for the coming year. You can be sure that this year, I have them. I have become adept over the years at setting and achieving goals. Life is about the digging in, the uncovering, and the reshaping of our selves. I do not want to write about those things this year. I will try to do them all. I will keep running, and writing, and trying to be a better parent and teacher. I will do and be all that I can, because those things bring me joy and are part of who I am.
So what will I write about then?
I will write about love, because this is the thing that I want more than anything, really, and that I’d like to cultivate more of in my life. The novel I’m writing now is about a young man who is rather inhabited with the idea of love and who finds it where he didn’t expect or want to.
Some months ago, my husband and I split, a rather drawn out break-up. However unhappy I was in the last years of our marriage, and I was desperately unhappy, I have not been able to shake this gaping whole left in his absence, that I used to fill with love songs: when you’re lost and look, you will find me…you do something to me…whatever words I say…we had a love, a love, a love you can’t find every day…and you give yourself way, and you give yourself away.
I do want to cultivate the love relationships I have in my life: many beautiful friendships, a wonderfully mouthy teenage son, family that is always, always there when I need them, and gratitude [perhaps the greatest love of all? (allusion to Whitney intended, tongue-in-cheek)] for life and all that is life. I do absolutely want THAT love too, the one you can’t find every day. However, I do not need it. This is, I think, what I need to cultivate. It’s a paradox, I know. To cultivate not needed the thing you most want. But life is a paradox in so many ways—does it surprise you?
We live in a culture of instant everything. Browsing the ads on CraigsList, I’d say we want that in love too. The result is we lie to ourselves to make it happen, we persist when we should recover ourselves. There are lots of possibilities for all of us out there in love, and to unravel oneself entirely for one—however radiant and certain it seems—is foolishness. Not surprisingly, we confuse sex with love. Sex can be quite wonderful without love and love defined mostly through sex is likely to be a love in which one partner is submerged, enslaved. You should give yourself away when the love fits the vision you’ve cultivated.
This empty space in my life has left me remarkably off-kilter. In one moment, I’m soaring, riding a long lost freedom to think and be that I’d forgotten were even there. In another, I’m frightened, alone, balling at the intensity of the loneliness I feel.
In this New Year, I want to cultivate patience and vision, because I know precisely what I want in love. The intention of that has got to be strong enough to carry me through the wonderfully human feelings of impulsivity and desire. I want to jump into to life, not retreat from it for fear of losing my vision, my patience. I want to act with impulse and desire, remembering always the sacredness of that vision.
I want more of all of these things too:
–margins of good books to write in
–arguments for the sake of argument (thanks Winston for fulfilling this for me lately)
–more laughter 😉
–walks/runs with the dog
–random encounters with new people including spontaneous conversations (like with the guy in the sauna the other day)
I will state one specific goal for the New Year: I want to be able to perform the advanced yoga flow sequence I’ve been working on. That will be a feat indeed!
Happy New Year to all! May you do and be your vision for 2009.