Praise Song for the New Year

Praise Song for the Day                                                             

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

 praise song for walking forward in that light.

                                                     by Elizabeth Alexander

Your waning energy can be a marvelous invitation . . .

Are you heading into mid-life and noticing that your energy levels seem to be waning?  Noticing that you can’t just reach into that deep reserve of physical energy that used to be so readily available? This is a reality that most of us fight against. I certainly did!

But what I've found is that this ebb in energy is actually an invitation to step into a radically different efficiency. Once the reality becomes inescapable and we finally begin to turn our efforts away from recapturing lost youth and towards the future, a new vitality comes online. Many of us injure ourselves repeatedly, or get sick, before we recognize and accept this invitation. We humans have a tendency to move into grace kicking and screaming.

What does accepting this invitation mean in practical terms? First, it means admitting that there has been a dip in your energy levels. Once you get real with yourself, you can start caring for your physical body differently: adjusting diet and exercise, focusing on the body's brilliant design, its virtuosity. Start relying less on brawn. Then it means softening those youthful ambitions enough to listen for what is important to you now.   It involves actively downshifting and finding engagement in a deeper, wider sense of meaning that then provides you with an unassailable updraft. It’s not easy, especially at first. It is essential to your well being. It is after all an invitation into one of life's gnarly, necessary and marvelous transformations.

Making the most of the updraft involves developing the ability to attune to your body, reckoning with a natural sense of loss, and recalibrating to the needs of your spirit. It may lead you to courageously planning and implementing graceful exits and well-considered entrances. This is the work of transformation. It is not magic, though the results can seem magical. It requires being realistic, developing new strategies and garnering significant support.  Contact me, I'm not offering you any quick fixes here (No 3 Keys or 10 Secrets) but I can help you accept the invitation of this natural ebb in energy and, using some of the latest intel, move into grace.

Your waning energy is an invitation to soften into a new productivity, to activate a radiant eldership. Turn towards your future and join the party. You will be in good company.

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments

But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst . . .

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

Rainer Maria Rilke, From The Book of Hours