I spent my 2018 New Year's drifting to sleep in a crowded trailer in the middle of the desert. I could hear the heavy rhythm of my husband's breath next to me, and the static buzz of the sound machine used to keep my 3 young nephews asleep. As my consciousness faded, I heard the unmistakable pop of fireworks in the distance. I peered out the accordian blinds only to see midnight blue darkness, and the faint silhouette of the hunchback mountains in the distance. It must have been 12am. A fairly quiet, lackluster beginning to the year. But, in that moment of ebony stillness, it felt OK to not know it all; to not be making great proclamations of how wise I'd be in 2018, or how many goals I'd set, or screaming and celebrating under the flow of champagne and kisses. In that moment, I only knew one thing: God is out there, and he/she is wonderfully mysterious.
I had an "arcane glimpse at the universe," as Ethan Hawke said in Reality Bites, something of a spiritual moment of renewal; something that was usually masked by the blaring kazoos and confetti of new year's, but this year, was refreshingly clear.
I have started to see that we are all victims of our perspective, which we typically do not start off choosing. We evolve our ideas and beliefs solely off what we see growing up. We become experts at knowing right and wrong, and in our 20's, feel like it is our life's mission to let everyone know how they should live. We have no idea that they, too, are simply operating from what they know, and honestly, we don't really care. We are bent on focusing our lenses to make everything crystal clear. Blurry is bad.
A couple years ago, it would have bothered me to be settling into the new year in such a solitary, insignificant way. I made meaning out of everything, probably to make myself feel better. My safety hinged on all of life having a specific purpose. I hated the mystery, and denied myself the wisdom of not having a reason for everything. I clamored for new year's workbooks to help me make meaning out of my life, which often felt sort of listless. As a yoga teacher, I felt like I always had to say something big and important, like I held some sort of transcendent truth that no one else could access. I am sure this made me feel better about myself, but this year, I am not a yoga teacher. I am not working, or in school, at least for the next 2 weeks. I am not sure what job, if any, that I will have later this year, or how I am going to reorient my schedule to accommodate my daughter, husband and dog. I am not sure how we are going to make budget this month. I do not know if we will ever have more kids, and I feel particularly uncertain of our nation's political future. This year, more than any before, I find myself embracing all of these questions, and not having to answer them. I find myself being oddly OK with the slow unraveling of life.
This must be what it means to live vastly. With less expectation. With less resistance. With fewer clinched fists. With fewer walls and fewer 'shoulds'.
When I stared out that small, trailer window, I allowed myself to just behold. I did not try to explain the darkness, or why it exists or feel guilty for not marking the changing of the day with some big event. I let the meaning come to me, rather than be created by me.
A word came rushing out of the darkness that took me by surprise. It felt so solid and sure. It was the word I knew I needed: VAST. This place, this shadowy, cold expanse I was looking at was so unfamiliar and I joyfully yearned to know it. Not to explain it, or deem it good, or bad. I wanted to be inside of it and feel the substance of its mystery. As quickly as it came to my mind, it fell from my mouth in a quiet whisper: "Vast. I want to live into God's vastness."
After making peace with the dark, I slowly pulled down the shades, lay my head onto my pillow and closed my eyes. I allowed myself to be present in how big everything felt, and for those few moments, that was enough.