In a way, the new year started perfectly - I woke up sick. Goodbye all those new year plans of beginning routines and keeping a clean slate. I was frustrated for an hour or two, but then I realized it was a relief. Now I can just get on with it and enjoy the year. After a year of intensive writing, I'm itching to do some other kinds of creating. I got out my old DSLR and decided to learn how to actually use it instead of my usual method of point, pray and click. (Yay for youtube tutorials!) And I have made ONE resolution this year: bake a cake every week. Doesn't that sound indulgent? and wonderful?
Also...tea at 3.
For some reason we ended up being out shopping on the really big buying days before and after Christmas this year. Usually we stay far from stores, but that's how it worked out this time. And my goodness...I was just completely overwhelmed with the massiveness of it all: the quantity of things for sale and the amounts of money exchanging hands and the bags and bags and bags of purchases. And on every street corner, the contrast of those without, shivering and wet, soggy cardboard signs, heads down, hands out - and all of us rushing and rushing by and buying and buying and keeping our own heads down so we didn't have to see them standing there. I felt ashamed of it all, really. A physical, visceral cringing at the absurdity of it. And now I am more determined than ever to keep simplifying and making do and using what we already have (which is so much - for most of us it is so very much that we have to keep "decluttering" and getting rid of things because we have no more room!)
I read Alison Uttley's Stories for Christmas while I was sick and I was struck by this sweet passage in "The Kissing-Bunch", the angels visiting a house on Christmas Eve and bestowing their gifts:
"I will give kindness of heart, " said an angel...
"I will give love," said another, and it threw a handful of sparkling rain which fell over all things, covering them with the dew of love.
"I will give riches," said a third, and it threw a shower of tiny golden coins like sparks into the air.
"I will give poverty," said a fourth, "I will give poverty to balance riches, so that the children remember the earth from which they spring." It tossed a net of pearly light which covered the golden coins and softened their glitter."
How interesting that poverty is seen as a gift that balances and softens. We see mostly the poverty that grinds and cheapens nowadays. But I'm thinking a lot about this, about what she meant. We need to be without, to stretch ourselves and be creative and imaginative, to learn contentedness with what we already have. That's the spirit I want to carry into this new year, I think. One of thrift and creativity, gratitude and peace.
How about you? What is inspiring you this new year?