But now it seems the year has grown a goddess, too, something I was completely not expecting, something I would have resisted had I had the opportunity.
Two days ago, after days of working on this year's plans, thinking and waiting and watching it all take form, suddenly a realization bonked me frying pan-style on the head, leaving me like a cartoon, little spinny wheels in place of my eyes, stars dancing over my head. Boing-oing-oing. I was in the woods, hiking with Mr Burns, in that place where I do my best thinking, surrounded by all that green and texture and the sounds of squirrels chattering in the trees. Something clicked. Oooooh, that's what that's all about?
Listen: if you think years of practicing yoga doesn't change you, you're mistaken. It gets inside you and does its thing even when you're unaware of it, and then shows itself in unexpected and delightful ways. That's what makes it seem like magic. For reals.
So, suddenly two days ago the lightbulb went on and I realized that I was entering Year Three of a three-year cycle. I had absolutely no idea I was in a three-year cycle, but as soon as I knew what the theme of this year was going to be, then I remembered the Navaratri workshop with Douglas Brooks and Sianna Sherman last September, and boy oh boy, did it all fall into place. [Navaratri is a 9-day Hindu festival dedicated, three days each, to the goddesses Kali/Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, really one goddess fractalized into three, three ways of looking at reality, three stories that star you and me.]
Kind of spooky. Check it out.
2010 was the year of Durga for me, my self-proclaimed Year of Intention. I stuck a big image of her on my red Moleskin and carried her everywhere I went, riding her tiger, wielding her weapons to cut down obstacles and bullshit in my path, to free myself at last from a situation I had been stuck in too long. It was a powerful and ferocious year, in which I said Yes to so much. By the end I was exhausted, but also jubilant: I had found the courage to give up safety for something more beautiful. And yes, I was exhausted, bone-tired and ready for the big change I'd created for myself, to a simpler, less crazy life.
2011 was for me, as above, the Year of Discernment. My notebook bore the image of my favorite animal, the wolverine, symbol of wildness and innate strength, my signifier to myself that there was no more need to wield a bristling bundle of weapons 'cause I had it all built in. All I had to do now, now that I'd cut the head off the demon, was get clear. Where would I draw the lines? Where would I devote my time, my energy, my passion? Until two mornings ago, I hadn't thought of Lakshmi ever in connection to that year, because I hadn't realized yet the final piece, the theme for 2012. But once 2012 popped into my head, I knew it. I returned to my notes, I saw these words and breathed, "Lakshmi invites you to the greatness of your creative potential, to turn your klesas [wounds] into lakshmis [boons]." It was her all along -- the year in which I realized with a jolt that I am a creative person trapped in a barely-creative profession, the year I grew my writing, the year in which I simplified everything, eliminated everything unnecessary, washed away everything until only gleaming little nuggets were left in the pan. And with these in hand, I step into 2012.
In all my musings, my dreaming of the year and my constant interviewing of Joe, getting his input on our shared plans, asking him about his own goals and my own, what came up over and over again as an overarching theme for this year for me as for him is "making things nice, making things beautiful." While it may seem like fixing up the office at the shop or upgrading the website or finally getting a cushion for the window seat at home are disparate To Do items, they all support a general theme of shri, or beauty, of making our lives more beautiful. They share something essential with my goal of stepping more fully into my writing this year -- more self-expression this year, in short: more art. And if it was intention and Durga in 2010, and discernment and Lakshmi in 2011, then boom, if it's shri then it's got to Saraswati in 2012-- and getting down to the business of knowing what our lives are for and making them as beautiful an expression of who we are as we can.
2012: The Year of Shri!
With so much gratitude to all my teachers, to my sister and Yogateau, and to the countless friends who make my world shine with joy: get ready, this year is going to be SO good!
The Sutra, you ask?
Shri. It. Up!