"Magic in this case is power. Not power over others, but power
beyond 'over others.' It is the power within oneself."
- Chogyam Trungpa
Fairy wings and wands with the friends
who taught me to be proud of who you are.
A year ago I set two basic intentions. I wanted to write and I wanted to learn from the word that kept coming to me: "magic." 365 days later I am looking back at the multitude of adventures I could not have controlled or predicted. I feel thanks for the sense of inner strength that comes with age and practice. I feel more curious than afraid about what I don't yet know. I have deep appreciation for the pervading sense of ease I feel in how I move, commit, eat, speak, and behave. Truly, there is a richness to my life that I previously could only imagine.
When the word magic choose me, I didn't know what to do with it. It turns out, magic isn't something you do. It is part of who we are. It is our ability to create beauty in even the difficult or mundane. It is the power to give unconditional love. It is needing less and having more. It is the awe that comes from seeing our intentions become our reality. It is the alchemy of bowing our hearts and heads to what is. It is play. It is joy. It is creativity and spontaneity and saying yes to life. It is the power to make someone's day. It is the power to love the life that is uniquely yours. It is nonaggression. It is grace.
Being brave while getting the word
"grace" tattooed on my foot somewhere in Brooklyn
Some highlights of 2015:
At Nan Seymour's writing studio
- My resolution for the year was to write. I had no idea at the time, but writing is a way of making me get really, really honest. I left my teaching job which was making me miserable. I learned to use the phrase "what I really want to say" on a regular basis. I learned how to follow the outer expression of my inner life towards a more authentic reality. I learned that when we share who we are, we connect more deeply with others. I took 3 six-week River Writing classes and listened to other writers tell their stories. I have a renewed commitment to living a creative life and following the threads of truth, regardless of where they lead or how crazy they seem.
- In June I had the honor of going on a remarkable 9 day trip to West Virginia and Virginia. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean. I made new friends. I hiked the Appalachian Trail. I explored old coal mining towns that were nearly abandoned. I learned about the three remarkable men who were my companions. I laughed until my stomach muscles ached.
Inside an abandoned school in Welch, West Virginia
- I traveled to New York in August and I met a woman in Central Park who read my palm and told me, "whatever they put on your plate, Mami, you can always turn it around. Befriend your shadow. If you don't have a relationship with your own soul, you'll be fucked." I spent time with friends and family each navigating that relationship with their own souls. We encouraged each other towards authenticity.
- In late September I received a letter from my friend Swan inviting me to meditate together for 100 days. Nothing has changed my life more. Through meditation I am learning to let things wash off instead of carrying them around. I feel a deep sense of stability being cultivated within. I am growing my capacity for presence, for freedom, for peace and equanimity. The less I hold onto, the more my heart expands.
- At a point in my life where I felt my most autonomous, I reconnected with an flame. Our relationship has been entirely unexpected and deeply fulfilling. We have a deep respect for one another as organic beings. There is a felt sense of support in our interactions. There is honesty and kindness and trust. We are relating beyond imposed expectations with a real reverence and esteem for what is alive in each other in the moment. I call him my magical fava bean rose which is to say, "you are a precious and entirely unique individual. I love you with all my heart and as such, I won't try to mold you or force you or use shame or punishment. Absolutely all of your experience is welcome. You deserve to be adored exactly as you are." The abundant laughter and kindness and kisses and even the tears are food for my soul. Often I will be cracking up and will say, "But, Pat! I hate to laugh!" to which my lover responds with, "but you're so good at it!" Surely this business of love is way too important to take seriously.
- And now I am closing the year in sunny, peaceful Palm Springs with my aunt Martha and uncle Andy. I am rested and cared for and encouraged. If taking in this view doesn't give a sense of possibility, I'm not sure what will.
There is a power within each of us. It is limitless and is always available. We just have to be open. It is clear to me that this life is a privilege. That it is an honor to be part of something bigger than myself. I am reminded of this quote from the poet Atticus, " 'Put your hand on your heart.' the old man said, 'Inside you there is a power. there are ideas and thoughts that no one has ever thought of, there is the strength to love, purely and intensely, and to have someone love you back, there is the power to make people happy, and to make people laugh, and to fall in love- to change lives and futures- don't forget that power, and don't ever give up on it.'"
May we move forward into 2016 with optimism and the courage to head in the direction of our dreams. May we trust what unfolds for us. May we stay connected to our power to create the conditions for love, to create the conditions for laughter, to make manifest the beautiful lives we can imagine. Sending blessings and good will for your hopes and deep appreciation for our connection to each other.