Sunday, December 18, 2011

What matters?

A Christmas / winter solstice letter

This year instead of what happened, where we went, what we did, and who we did it with… what are we aware of that underlies the choices we made and how we responded to what happened?

Dear Friends and Family and All,

We did many things this year, including work hard, travel to and stay at beautiful places (Maine stands out); we’ve gone through difficulties and we’ve enjoyed ourselves, each other, and our connections with others. If we went into it, the description would be pretty similar to years past. Rather than describe the specifics (again), here’s what underlies it.

Over the years, we have continued to peel the layers of an onion-like question: “What matters to us?”

Good feelings. One of our psychotherapy/body/mind teachers, Charlotte Selver, was 97 when we first started studying with her in the late 1990s. We remember her saying in her ancient croaking voice, “You can’t go far wrong if you follow what feels good.” It would have felt different coming from somebody in their late teens, but she was going on 100. It stuck with us both. What sort of good feelings? Maybe stuff like engagement, interest, satisfaction, connection, love.

The Outdoors. We both love The Outdoors, particularly natural settings like woods, or canyons, or streams… but our backyard works, too. We love the seven 80+ foot pine trees that surround two sides of our backyard, the community of birds—including many recognizable individuals—that frequent Lana’s five feeders throughout the year, and John continues to love the clear night sky.

Being physical. Moving—hiking, running, biking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing and tai-chi kind of stuff. It feels good doing it, and it supports us feeling good in between doing it.

Relationship and intimacy. Being connected to each other and friends, family, clients, ourselves.

Being quiet. Meditation, retreats, sitting on a rock on a mountainside in Acadia National Park, Maine, lolling on a bench in a nearby park.

Work. Using our resources and skills to help others accomplish their goals, stretching ourselves to discover new abilities and to grow.

Learning more about how to make use of what is difficult in the service of learning more about good feelings.

We wish for each of you a good year and more of what matters. May your responses to the various circumstances of your life arise in a way that supports your increasing good feelings.

        Love, John & Lana