2016 was a year. That's for certain. Of course, 2016 was a year if we are going by literal, ever-so useful descriptions of units of time. But really, 2016 was a year in which we shed some burdens, things placed upon us that caused stress. 2016 was a year where we meandered a bit, looking for a clear direction, waiting, and waiting, feeling impatient for something to end or something to begin.
And then 2016 was the year where we began to feel settled, to find comfort in the uncertainty. I think 2016 was the space where we truly began to rely on each other in the only thing we could know, and that was, the moment. That we needed to ensure that the moment was a kind, gentle space for all that whirled around us, the doubts, frustrations, stresses.
I think of it as my brother-in-law speaks about training his horses. Round pens are used to bring a sense of connection between horse and person. So long as there is no connection, the horse is bent to the outside with its ear and eye looking at all there is beyond the pen, loping, calling, there is a bit of confusion and uncertainty.
But as soon as that ear turns inward to the centre of the pen, its head cocks ever so slightly inline with the concave rail and the eye rests on the trainer, the pressure to keep moving stops. The horse can stop, rest, turn to the inside and walk to the centre. The centre is calm and rest.
And that was us in 2016. Blowing hard, tired and unrested. Until we kind of just moved our eyes from what was all out "there", what we were dealing with for what seemed like years, to a single spot. Each other, in the now. And it all became beauty.
Don't be fooled though. Our eyes and ears can easily drift to the outside again, and there we find ourselves, loping along the rail, using up our energy on all that is outside, out of reach, not really at all in our lives. It's a constant reconnection. It's a constant exercise to keep the focus. We can't always have our collective you-know-what-together. But that doesn't mean we've failed. It just means we need to shift, find the ground we know provides comfort and peace.