“One regret, dear world,
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
I did not kiss you enough.”
Zora Neale Hurston wrote that there are years that ask questions and years that answer. My final years in Portland asked big questions that changed the course of my life. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my life? These past two years have answered those questions. I want to write. I want to be outdoors. I want to meet new people. I want to explore the world.
Last night I was sitting alone in our hotel room in Hanoi. I was thinking about the upcoming year. About a month ago I wrote a business plan for my goals professionally. But last night I sat down to write out my personal intentions. What do I want out of the New Year?
It was a challenge, really, because I am satisfied with the direction my life is pointed in. But like radar, I have this natural tendency to keep scanning and beeping, searching for a blip. The year before me is still a beautiful mystery. If I squint into the hazy horizon of this New Year, I see three possible paths taking shape. All of them are good but they are also vastly different. How do I prepare for the upcoming year when I have no idea which of the three routes might materialize?
There in the hotel room, I knew that I did not want to seek out something to fix like I have done so many times in years past (lose weight, run faster, read 50 books, on and on and on) but instead to align myself towards meeting the unwritten pages of tomorrow with grace.
What I want, what I crave, is to make more space for silence. You’d think this would be easy because I have full control over my schedule. But really it is quite difficult. I am constantly moving and in a new environment. The unfamiliar is familiar. There’s no routine or structure to the day or, once I’ve established one, I’m off again to a new place. But there can be stillness no matter. The stillness has to come from within.
The stillness is intentional. It can happen anywhere. I can close my eyes on a bus or even on the sidewalk as a thousand motorbikes zoom by and find that silent center inside. This is the place where creativity comes from, where clarity and peace come from too. I want my focus for 2014 to be about nurturing that unshakable core within.
That is my resolution for this New Year.
These past few weeks have been a crash course in bicycling. I haven’t been on a bike in two years. And perhaps like in India where the rickshaw run cracked my heart open in such an unexpected way, defining 2013, the bicycle has helped me set the tone of 2014.
Because, you see, the bicycle is all about balance.
What do you plan to do with 2014?
I haven’t had much time to write in the past few weeks as we’ve been biking our way through Vietnam. But our bike trip has just ended and I hope to spend some time in the upcoming days catching up on the trip. You’ll hear more about it soon.
And, on another note, I’m excited to announce that Life On Fire: A Step-By-Step Guide To Living Your Dreams is now available in paperback. For those of you that have been waiting for the dead-tree version of the book, it is finally here! It’s a fun way to kick off 2014.