Brand new year and a fresh start. Every day offers us this very same thing, but something about the New Year, the connected combined energy of minds worldwide joining together to claim our hearts’ desires, that puts extra energy behind the newness.

What do I want this year? I want the truth to be told, even when it’s hard to hear and even harder to say. I want to practice, in this and every moment, staying true to myself. Holding steady at my center, like the relay racer, poised and ready, or like the Buddhist monk, still and centered. I want to hold my heart gently, in my hand, squeezing out a strong, steady rhythm, knowing I can hold my own, staying open to everything and anything and filling my heart with bliss in this and every moment.

Yet even in this place, as I sit, listening to gentle music playing, the rhythmic flow of traffic downstairs sounding slightly like the ocean, the flatirons shrouded in morning matte tones, there is a part of me that longs to give myself away, abandon myself, get up from this seat and peak at the text message that has chimed in “here, there is something outside of you that will have meaning in your life today. There is something outside you that will lift you up or tear you down, set your tone or mood for the day.”

And so it beckons. And so I sit. Still. And still, I sit. The sun’s rays are reaching the flatirons and the urge to empty my bladder is increasing. I want to will myself to cross the room and go to the bathroom and back again without reaching for the phone. I will myself to honor myself in this way, to honor this sacred time and space. I put down my journal, my pencil tucked neat inside and walk across the great divide between here and there, avert my eyes when they furtively dart to the surface where my cell phone beckons, make it safely to the bathroom, then route myself completely around the condo on the pretext of getting a warmer shirt, then into the kitchen to get a warm drink, make some espresso and return to my journal, safe and sound. Mission accomplished.

I honored myself, chose to stay present to this moment. Success!

I take these small successes to heart. Because it is the little things that are my undoing, just as it is the “it’s only one bite” that keeps my friend Shirley chained to being overweight. I have been chained to being “over-outerfocused.” It’s not the perfect phrase, but it sums it up pretty nicely. I have given myself away to another, trying to get something, I thought I lacked. I have victimized myself instead of vessel-izing myself.

So today I am taking the next right step toward reclaiming myself. I am committing to this moment being fully present to what I want and where I am and what I am doing, because it is where I want to be and what I want to be doing. I am boldly stepping forward into today, releasing any story and meaning I am assigning anything, like it says in the first weeks of lessons in A Course in Miracles, moment by moment. Lesson 15 sums it up perfectly: my thoughts are images that I have made. I “see” nothing. I “imagine” or make images of everything. How refreshing to know it’s all in my mind! My ego longs to play with me, to look outside, or create conversations in my head, projected as images. In each now moment, I pause to turn my thoughts around. I encourage you to do the same.

Spiritually fed by my work? Tithes and offerings are gratefully accepted and passed on to do additional good work in this world. You can easily tithe online by sending a tax-deductible tithe via www.paypal.com to my ministry at The Village Gathering. Just send it to tammie@artofabundance.com; or if you prefer to send your gift via mail:

Paula Langguth Ryan
The Village Gathering
1121 Annapolis Road, Suite 120
Odenton, MD 21113

Please remember our work when you’re doing your tax and estate planning! When making donations of appreciated stocks, property, and other large items, please list the recipient as The Village Gathering. Many thanks and richest blessings, as my colleague Rev. Catherine Ponder would say!