As I sit down to write this, I’ve just emerged from guiding a silent retreat. Couple that with preparing to share the teachings on right speech on Tuesday evening, and I feel the need to be especially succinct. Since I like to do a little recap at the end of each year with themes, truths, lessons and bits of wisdom gathered as a means of chronicling the territory through which I’ve traveled in the past twelve months, I thought I’d share the first draft of my 2021 summary. Perhaps you’ll start one for yourself, as well.

— I said it in the beginning of the pandemic and it’s still just as true: grit and grace. That’s how we will get through.

— What I miss the most from the Before Times is also still the same: the illusion of certainty. Though I know it’s for the best, oh, how I miss thee.

— Love people as they are, and give them lots of grace. You have no idea what the people around you are going through. Plus, you’re not going to change them anyway.

— We are the source of most of our problems. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t problems. Deal with the source or deal with the problem, but stop complaining.

— Whatever arises, feel it. Then let it go. Don’t save it for later.

— Your worth has nothing to do with how much you do. You are worthy of goodness, care, support and love just because you are. Really. Truly. You have value beyond measure just because you’re you.

— Without rest, there is no possibility for change. Stop doing all the things and be still.

— We all talk too much. One mouth, two ears. Talk less and listen more.

— The mind is the realm of suffering. If you aren’t doing the work to retrain your awareness and dis-identify with the mind-stuff, you will continue to suffer.

— When you lose something for which you have a deep and personal love, that loss will leave a tender wound inside you long after those around you have forgotten. Care deeply for your own grieving process. And know that we are all grieving.

— Do whatever practices or rituals you need to do to remember who you are. Who you really are at core. Be that in the world as much as possible. Showing up how others expect you to be is no way to live.

— Your wellbeing (physical, emotional, spiritual) is your responsibility and nobody else’s. Take charge.

— Empty space is better than anything you can put into it.

— Know what you deserve. Make a list. Keep it close. Update regularly. Hold yourself and those around you accountable.

— Everything is transitory and illusory. Surrender into the flow. And while you’re at it, try to enjoy the ride.

It’s just a first draft, but it’s a start. May your year end with gratitude, reflection, compassion and hope.

All blessings,