How Are You Ushering in the New Year?

Last night, my husband and I took a swim under the evening sky, with the waxing moon glowing gloriously and tiny stars slowly appearing. It was a beautiful warm summer evening, the kind that rekindles one’s childhood sense of wonder. The kind that draws one’s playful wild essence out to the fore and makes you laugh at silly things while grazing up at the summer stars. What a beautiful way to pass time!

It’s the first time in a few years that I won’t be ending and starting the year out in the bushveld. Usually by now we are driving through long dry grasses, spotting herds of eland, zebra and wildebeest galloping across the land. Unfortunately, my hubby’s work schedule doesn’t allow for it this year since we already took a family trip to the Karoo and the Cape 2 weeks ago. So we will probably only return to the bush in February or March.

Instead, we’ll be spending our NYE with our dear friends at an intimate dinner party. These are some our longest friends and we haven’t spent time in their soul soothing company in several weeks. So I am looking forward to a relaxed and fun evening of catching up, silly stories and dreaming of what we want to attract 2015.

Although I chose words and core desired feelings for the year, I don’t really make resolutions. This year, I decided to try something different. I got a special box for myself, and one for the friends we’ll be spending time with this evening too. It will be called the “Wild Blessings Box”. The idea is that from January 1st, each time something nice happens – a moment of happiness, something that makes me smile, things that make me grateful, blessings or miracles that come my way, moments of simplicity, peace and stillness – I’ll write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the box. Then at the end of 2015, on New years eve, my hubby and I will revisit our box and gather all our wild blessings into our hearts. I read about this idea in Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore a few months ago and fell in love with the concept of her “Happy Box” immediately. I’ve awaiting patiently for the right time to start my own.     

Nevertheless, to give a little idea of how I usually spend New Years, I thought I’d share an excerpt from the first chapter of the Wild Essence book. Hope that you enjoy it:

I look up at the star studded sky over the African bushveld as diamonds twinkle against the black blanket of night. There is no moon tonight, only the primal call of lions and jackal that echoes from unseen places in the dark. The palpable sense of mystery suspended in the warm evening air leaves me with the impression that this is the land that Spirit made at the beginning of time. Some pieces of wild Earth feel as timeless as our souls when they are unaltered by the hand of man. In my mind’s eye, I conjure up images of the ancients roaming these grassy plains in a period long past and forgotten. I see their phantom silhouettes sitting and dancing around the crackling fire, telling the stories that time has passed down through their bloodlines. Perhaps thousands of years ago they stood looking up at the same sky on a moonless night, writing the stories of the land in the stars – Orion’s Belt cast in the role of three zebras and Pleiades playing the daughters of the sky gods – as Bushmen mythology tells.

“There is nothing more beautiful than this,” my thoughts whisper as I listen to the sound of noctivagant creatures.

It’s been a wonderful evening. Just hours ago I watched the last sunset of the year melt across the tranquil grasslands and the sun dissolve into its slumber before we headed down to the communal boma of the game lodge for an intimate gathering to honor the festivities of the occasion. For a couple years now, I’ve had the privilege of seeing in the New Year with my husband and a close circle of cherished friends in the ‘cathedral of the wild’ as conservationist Boyd Varty calls it. The ambience is so relaxed and we’ve enjoyed great food, conversations and lots of full bellied laughs. Since we’ve been coming here, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Usually I am so focused on ushering in another year and wondering what it will bring my way. This time, as the sun set on 2013, I took a moment of solitude to honor what has been, both the blessings for which I am grateful and the struggles that I’ve failed to accept. I exhaled and released it all. What has been has been. “May what is lost be forgotten or returned to me in a new form if it is meant to,” I said quietly in my heart. I felt a sense of relief as I did.

New Years Blessings