It is January second, 2023. As I type this, my dogs are barking at a fevered pitch. I can barely concentrate. I am dissuaded and discouraged from proceeding, and I have barely begun to coalesce a sentence, let alone a thought.
I didn’t know what I was going to share to start off this new year post, but of course, there are always hints if we are willing to pay attention. In this case, my annoyance and resentment at my dogs for interrupting my writing time is a profound clue.
Living life, in general, resembles trying to stay centered and focused while a pack of dogs is yipping and howling around you. It is rarely like a social media update, dogs serenely resting in front of the fireplace or sitting at attention holding their own leash waiting patiently for their person to open the door. Oh no, there are more likely than not chewed-up pillows and shoes, bladder mishaps, snacks stolen from the dinner table, incessant pleas to play fetch, and emergency trips to the vet for canine cannabis ingestion or ear infections…
Add to this fray an attempt to manifest a creative life, and your pack of attention-seeking Labradoodles becomes sharp-fanged coyotes baying in the distance, working in tangent to steal your darlings.
We are often told to carve out a writing (or any creative) space of our own and bring ritual into our practice. To make our work a priority. I wholeheartedly support and follow these suggestions. What is often overlooked is how to be prepared for the inevitable onslaught of chaos that has the potential to derail your best intentions the second you center yourself in your serene office with your cup of matcha and your head full of words. Life is messy and the messiness doesn’t go on hiatus when you want to focus on your craft but focus you must.
To this end, my word for 2023 is absorption. My intention is to train myself rather than tame the dogs or try and control other inevitable outside occurrences. I rarely manage to orchestrate the perfect writing situation, which means I rarely write, better to try and practice my response to what is brewing around me, better to try and write despite yips and nips at my best-laid plans.
For 2023 I aim to be engrossed in the moments, absorbed in language, present with my family, and engaged with my students. Despite the potential upheaval and dysfunction that swirls, has always churned, and will continue to agitate, I’m going to focus my attention on full immersion. I will definitely miss the mark, more times than not; this is also part of life, but to practice absorption requires perseverance, and I have plenty of experience dusting myself off.
I hope 2023 is absorbed with peace and prosperity (and perseverance) for you and yours and everyone else.
P.S. Of course the dogs are quite now...