The author of Writing Down the Bones recalls taking time, on New Year’s Eve, for what matters.
I snapped my Yaktrax to the bottom of my snow boots and trudged under a full complement of stars in a black sky to Upaya Zen Center across the road. There seventy of us sat for two hours, then listened at midnight to 108 bells ring out the night, a short talk by the roshi (Joan Halifax, my dear friend) and had tea and cookies in the kitchen.
I ate way too many but insisted this was just what I needed. At the time I meant the cookies, but really it was sitting still in the dark zendo, breathing with others, coming together in this sober way on the last night of the year. More than deep or spiritual or any of the words one would associate with Manjushri, his sword of wisdom slicing through ignorance, his statue on the altar and candles flickering, what I felt was relief. To stop at the end of a hectic year that I was trying so hard to rein in, then surrender to, then wonder what this human life is all about.
–Natalie Goldberg, from “Another New Year,” from the Shambhala Sun. Click here to read the whole piece. And for more, visit our special page of all of Natalie Goldberg’s writings from the pages of the Shambhala Sun.