In the Western hemisphere, it’s Winter. The days are short; the nights, long.

As I sit and write at dusk I can see the darkness descending outside, the landscape enveloped in a fog so dense, so deep, that familiar landmarks have been lost. It seems appropriate, somehow, given the year many of us have had.

dead reckoning
n. to find yourself bothered by someone’s death more than you would have expected, as if you assumed they would always be part of the landscape, like a lighthouse you could pass by for years until the night it suddenly goes dark, leaving you with one less landmark to navigate by—still able to find your bearings, but feeling all that much more adrift.

Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

2016 has lost a swathe of landmarks to navigate by. Not just celebrities, those figures of shared meaning who can snap us back to our earlier selves, of course, but also of beliefs. Ideas of truth, kindness and compassion, and of being stronger together for a greater good, have fallen by the wayside. Fear, anger, intolerance and hatred abound in broad daylight.

In their shadow it feels darker than ever. But then, perhaps it’s supposed to.

If you add the digits of 2016 together, they reach the number 9; the number of completion, the end of a nine-year cycle. 2017 will be a 1, the start of something fresh and new.

We stand on the threshold of an opportunity. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the last nine years and to actively, intentionally, release the painful patterns revealed by a longer overview.

Sit down and cast your mind back through the years to 2007; notice the patterns of behaviour and experience, and the unhelpful beliefs they feed. Write them down. Thank them. Burn the paper they’re written on to set yourself free.

We can do more than simply release things, though; we can choose what we want to bring into the world over the next nine year cycle.

“The future is not something that will come to us; the future is built by us, by how we speak and what we do in the present moment.”

A Buddhist monk explains mindfulness for times of conflict

What can you bring forth? How can you be the change you want to see in the world? Write it down on a fresh piece of paper. Leave space for a next action to come to you. Be willing to be surprised.

And if you’re feeling ‘all that much more adrift’ right now, unable to know what you want to bring into the world, please know that you’re not alone. If you’re feeling that you’re being enveloped by the darkness, by the fog, again there are many of us out here. And if you can’t see the lighthouse by which you’ve always navigated by, may I invite you to become one in 2017;

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King Jr

It’s up to all of us to be lighthouses now.

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