“The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.”
― Maya Angelou
In our writers’ group on Wednesday, I suggested that we consider our writing over the last year and, during our “free-write” time, imagine a trajectory through 2023. I was thinking of exploring direction, rather than resolutions. Regretfully, I used the word “goals,” and the response was pretty humorous. The writers, all in their 80s and 90s, laughed at the idea of setting goals. Their free-writes were biting, if tongue-in-cheek. Better, they agreed, to just see what each new day presents and remain open to the creative opportunities that present themselves in the moment. I thought of Jane Hirschfield’s poem, “The Bowl.”
If meat is put into the bowl, meat is eaten.
If rice is put into the bowl, it may be cooked.
If a shoe is put into the bowl,
the leather is chewed and chewed over,
a sentence that cannot be taken in or forgotten.
A day, if a day could feel, must feel like a bowl.
Wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness,
it eats them.
Then the next day comes, spotless and hungry.
The bowl cannot be thrown away.
It cannot be broken.
It is calm, uneclipsable, rindless,
and, big though it seems, fits exactly in two human hands.
Hands with ten fingers,
capacities strange to us almost past measure.
Scented—as the curve of the bowl is—
with cardamom, star anise, long pepper, cinnamon, hyssop.
I love the idea of the new year as an empty bowl, spotless and hungry. And, though that may be true of every moment, the symbolism of the holiday always strikes me as especially beautiful. So I’ll say this.
May your 2023 be bursting with an abundance of health and love, with personal growth, and creative exploration. May exciting and enriching new opportunities appear the precise moment you are most open to embracing them.
Wishing you a Happy New Year!