Welcome to Innisfree's first greeting of 2021! What are your thoughts for this brand new year? Would it be relief, perhaps, to have left 2020? Without a doubt, it was a year that had its challenges as we adapted to new circumstances, not the least being social distancing. Yet, hopefully you can draw upon gifts that resulted in new growth experiences. Zoom was new for me, with gratitude for many friendly conversations, meetings and webinars, not the least being when it snowed and I didn't need to brave the icy conditions. Setting up my silver Christmas tree, playing music of the Season and watching Hallmark's Christmas movies were joyful experiences. On Christmas Eve, unexpectedly, a young friend offered to bring a turkey dinner with all the trimmings next day, so my BBQ chicken was happily put in the freezer, to be resurrected on New Year's Day. Zoom also provided my nephews and me with a special family visit.
How about you, what happy memories come to mind? Last night I listened to Irish tenor Daniel O'Donnell singing Until the Next Time: "We have made some more memories and nothing can take them away". Memories can warm us, and we can choose to keep their magic alive, and not just for special occasions. Whilst putting away decorations on January 1st, on a sudden whim I kept back two small items from my sister to enjoy all year. Perhaps you did something similar?
Now into 2021, did you set new intentions, or a new focus? My friend, Rev. Carrie Hunter, the Spiritual Director of CSL Victoria in her first message of this year suggested we come up with a word and write it on a pebble. I had already chosen 'Meaningful Boundaries and Joyful Moments' as my overall theme (in a desperate attempt to be more realistic than that set for 2020 (Serenity, Simplicity and Flow, which became a pipe-dream). Opening my eyes after listening to Carrie, I saw in front of me a tea-light holder labeled 'Joy', and now have a tiny white shell from a beach at Inishmore on the Aran Islands in Ireland, inscribed with 'Joy" that sits inside the tea-light holder as a focused reminder.
Is there a word or a new experience that is nudging you for 2021? While attempting new experiences can be daunting, I read in my 2020 Friendship Book (May 26) that an 8-year old boy couldn't do something, and before his teacher stepped in to help, another boy said: "What you mean is that you can't do it yet! Here, let's try again." So, whether 8 or 80-plus, let's know we can attempt something we couldn't do before. A friend's new venture is learning to play the Ukulele, and my latest is memorizing poetry, with my mother's Book of English Verse currently open to William Wordsworth's poem about daffodils.
While choosing new learning can be stimulating, great wisdom can lie in eliminating non-essentials that no longer fit. So this year my intention is to continue with Innisfree's newsletters but, for now, discontinuing the podcasts, as many were edited duplicates from prior writings.
The title for this first newsletter of 2021 came about from lines in a tender movie, 'Christmas Everlasting', that life is like a quilt where its pieces have some joy, some sadness, some laughter, some tears, but in stitching it together, if we do it with love, it will turn out to be a beautiful thing.
While it seems that the things in our lives keep on changing, let's be grateful for all the good things and take a lesson from the birds, as no matter what sort of a day yesterday was, they always start each new day with a song. Please love and be kind to yourself, help others whenever and however you can, and congratulate yourself on your many gifts and achievements.
I wish you a special 2021, as you stitch together a patchwork quilt of treasured moments that are uniquely yours.
Until next time, blessèd be to you. Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada