So much of any year is flammable

At a time when many of us are reflecting upon (dissecting?) the year just ended and now find ourselves struggling to live up to a new set of resolutions, I’m reminded of the words of the poet Naomi Shihab Nye:

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.
So much of life is impermanent. So much is out of our control, despite the illusion that often holds us, twists us around.

Very little of what consumes our thoughts, fills most of our days and fuels our resentments matters one little bit over the long run. Some of it doesn’t even serve any purpose right this very second. We don’t need another resolution. We need better perspective, mindful awareness, radical acceptance.

So rather than beat myself up about the small stuff or lament the things that only the creation of a time machine would allow me to fix, I’m looking ahead, without a long list of impossible to meet resolutions, mindful of the important things that I didn’t do, where the crackle still calls.


h/t to the Reverend Dr. Daniel Kanter

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