A brand new year! We went to a great New Year’s party last night with some new-to-me Latin American traditions (walking around the block with a suitcase for good travel vibes, eating lentils and grapes for prosperity, etc.) and though we had to leave early to get K to bed, it was loads of fun. This morning we will celebrate in traditional Japanese style with mashed sweet potatoes, mochi soup called ozouni, lotus roots and daikon, perhaps even a dash of sake.
I have a good feeling about this one – I consider 13 my lucky number (I was born on June 13th).
And I got to thinking about what’s ahead. When I started my first job after college, I enthusiastically set about to decorate my cubicle. My young and naive self plastered the cheap, grey walls with motivational poems and sayings and throughout the years, two quotes have always remained with me, nestled in the back of my mind. I dug them out again, and these are the words I intend to focus upon this year.
By Martha Graham:
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
And Desiderata, of which I especially love the first two lines.
Desiderata by Max Erhmann (1927)
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.