Year in Review

I confess to a liking for ritual. I have come to see that ritual actions – celebratory or sorrowful; public or private – help me to solemnize significant moments, such as beginnings or endings, as well as longer transitions.

I have designed and enacted personal rituals for my own special moments – taking possession of a new home, or, leaving a beloved place, as two examples. Such rituals honor and externalize my own reactions  – gratitude, sadness, anxiety, delight. And, in doing so, I allow myself to hold them and then release them.

I am reminded of ritualistic actions as I contemplate the ending of 2012 and the start of the New Year. I will not be with the throngs of revelers in Times Square, or attending a party. I will be cooking a meal for my partner and me to share, and reveling in our time together. I hope that this simple act becomes a ritualistic one.

I also want to take a page from my friend, Gio’s, book. His birthday ritual poses two questions:

  • What have I learned about myself this year?
  • What do I hope for the next one?

As I ponder 2012, I am struck by several realizations:

  • I am not my job. That may be a “duh” for many. But, having been thanked and shown the door at mid-year (a first in my 31 years of working), this was an eye-opener for me. And a happy one at that.
  • I don’t need to understand in order to accept, or forgive. This took some time to make itself at home in my heart. The struggle lasted for months, and required a small village to carry me through. A recent line from Andrew Solomon in the NY Times echoes my newfound perspective: “Those who make comprehension the precondition of acceptance destine themselves to unremitting misery.”
  • Certain truths arise in time. Yes, in some cases, it comes at us quickly, like a fierce summer storm. But, this summer, the months of respite from the 9-5 routine allowed realizations to surface that may not have appeared until much later, if at all. Which leads up to my last a-ha…
  • Stillness is the midwife of truth.

And, what of 2013? I am, as of this writing, not prepared with specifics. But, I do wish to live as my Christmas prayer recently expressed:

May we birth the beauty we bear inside us; May we live in love abundant;

May we heal what is broken, within and among us; May we be lights unto the world.




About Soul Intention

"Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with...desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality." from The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. Paraphrasing what Gerald May has said, in his book Will and Spirit, spirituality is our experience and interpretation of our relationship with the Sacred. The intent of this blog is to explore for myself, and to invite others to explore with me, just what is it we do with our desire? What is our spirituality? Mine has been shaped by many my formative years, by the Roman Catholic church. In the last decade, by the 12 steps. Most recently, by the Episcopal Church. And, always, always, by the sense that Nature helped to reveal the Great Mystery, of which we are all a part. So, my spirituality includes concrete practices, like the Steps, as well as probing more philosophical matters. I was certified, in January 2011, as a Spiritual Director by the Haden Institute. During those 21 months of study, which included a broad range of topics from Celtic Spirituality, to the Christian Mystics, to Jungian Depth psychology, I was given the space and time to ponder my own spiritual journey, hear about others' paths, and benefit from participation in an intentional community. My hope is that this blog can engender a similar conversation. Peace, Paul
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7 Responses to Year in Review

  1. Dear Paul,
    Thank you for you, Thank you for your blog.
    I immediately transcribed both the Andrew Solomon quote and your Christmas Prayer to my “Prayer Box.” It’s an index card box where I dip for a prayer as they come up through the deck. It’s most often deliciously serendipitous to see what comes up out of the box to greet the moment.
    Peace and Love to you and your loved ones.
    Bernard Delcourt

  2. Carrington says:

    Beautiful,paul. A thoughtful way to begin the entrance into the new year. It makes me ponder my past one and what I’ve learned.thank you,

  3. George Kimmerling says:

    “Those who make comprehension the precondition of acceptance destine themselves to unremitting misery.” This is fantastic, and so true. The need for comprehension can be like the proverbial brick wall we knock our heads against. Sometimes acceptance comes right after we realize, “Ow! That hurts!”

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