Buying a wall calendar is an important ritual for me. Despite the ubiquitous digital calendar reminders available, there is something so real about a wall calendar. It greets me every day in the kitchen. I write my expenses on it. I draw smily faces when I work out and record what I do. I highlight with a yellow marker my work and social engagements. I look to the photos and quotes as monthly mantras. Every year is different depending on my mood. In recent years I have had an Andrew Wyeth calendar, cats, Buddha statues, beaches, Provence region in France and Celtic wisdom. This year I have purchased the 2017 Out on the Porch Calendar by Workman Publishing featuring gorgeous scenes of various tranquil porches around the world inviting me relax. Relaxation, despite all the comforts we may have, is still difficult. While our lives are certainly easier than Paleolithic society, there still is terror in the world. Wars, accidents, disease along with more mundane fears of financial security, relationships, parenting, career can overwhelm us. In other words -uncertainty is still very much present. And it would be foolish to think we can conquer fear of uncertainty and anxiety, despite our best intentions with New Year’s resolutions, spiritual podcasts, exercise and healthy eating. We are after all flesh and blood creatures dropped in the middle of a mysterious universe. But it would be equally foolish to let our our worry and anxiety- often leading to neurotic busyness- rob us too much of experiencing the beautiful and peaceful part of this mystery. If we can learn to be still even for a tiny second, our lives can feel more spacious. There is paradoxically a certainty to presence, even though things are always changing. We can relax into the wind, gaze at the icicle and in summer acquaint ourselves with the bee just landed on the red Bee Balm and to the fireflies electrically dancing in the evening.
Soon the empty white blocks on my calendar will start filling up. The turning of the wheel will begin. I will be another year older. In a blink of an eye, I will be purchasing another calendar. Without a doubt busyness and anxiety will stop by for tea. But in between I hope I will sit on my own porch. The physical one, but also that one within. That place where no matter what is happening the view is always good because you are alive.