Like just about everyone else, it seems, at the end of the year I start thinking about what I’d like to do differently next year. I stopped making resolutions awhile ago, but I still value time spent reflecting on what went well, what could be better and where I’d like to go next. I love the idea of year-long projects, and I am honestly still reaping the benefits of my year of Playful Self-Discipline in 2011. Still, I have only hazy ideas of what I want to do differently in 2014.
One image that stands out for me is this: there are currently two decomposing pumpkins sitting on my front porch. They were the highlight of 2013’s harvest, four beautiful big orange pumpkins that were both tasty and good for pumpkin carving. We ate one, gave one away and two are now destined for the compost because I didn’t do anything with them before a hard freeze came and turned them into mush.
I love the early dreaming stage of projects. I love poring over seed catalogues and transplanting baby cabbages into the garden. I love hauling compost around and digging it into the soil. I like harvesting things I can eat immediately, like tomatoes. But when it comes to the more involved harvests, which include processing or storing the abundance, I am too easily distracted and I forget to follow through. I think my life would certainly benefit from some more timely harvesting and following through, in the garden and otherwise.
Yet there is still a lot of growth and positive change going on. I feel like I’m in a mycelium-building stage of growth right now, with numerous silent tendrils stretching out and sucking up nutrients from deep underground. I’m reading a lot, and about to embark on a nine month program to learn about interpersonal neurobiology and practice somatic empathy. Right now I’m reading Mindsight by Daniel Siegel, and I’m amazed at 1) how much the Buddhists and Yogis got right (as verified by today’s neurobiology research) about how to improve the quality of your life through mindfulness, compassion and bodily awareness and 2) how my choice to dive into Playful Self-Discipline in 2011 was exactly the best thing for me to do at that time (again, verified by the neurobiology of improving control of runaway emotions by strengthening the prefrontal cortex). This inner work is slow, and quiet, and looks like countless tiny successes and failures every day, but I am more and more resolved to keep at it and see where it takes me.
So that’s where I want to be headed in 2014: harvesting abundance instead of letting it go to waste, and continuing on the path of mindfulness and empathy. Where do you want to go this year?