Patrick placed the sage stick below us and it stood tall on the pavement without our support. Our heads bowed in together. Arms drew one another closer into a bear hug, sealing our circle with nothing but love. Hands clasped. Eyes closed. Smiles across each of our lips. We took turns saying the same thing: I am so grateful to have you in my life.
The smoke rose up to greet us like an old friend. Jackets and hand-knitted scarves wrapped around us. The warmth of friendship — friendship that has aged like a fine red wine — filled the spaces in between our intentions. Our hopes, dreams, and wishes for the New Year. The smoke signified the departing words as they burned below us, merged together in a heap of ash. Once written on a piece of paper, now smoke that hung in the white sage air. The release of our words signified an act of surrender. An act of trusting that whatever happens in our lives will be and the best we can do is show up for it.
- “Dude. Pink?” Kim said to Patrick when he handed us each a piece of paper, half the size of a blank note card.
“Pink? Who cares about pink. How am I supposed to write my intentions for an entire year on a space that’s the size of my palm?” I laughed.
Kim and I had been creating intentions with and without each other for the better half of a decade. At 32 old habits die hard, and now her husband was joining in on the fun.
- “Time to get creative.” Patrick said as he handed us each a pen.
I peeled myself off the couch and went over to sit at their dining room table. Hanging a piece of sage over a candle and watching the smoke rise into the baby blue walls, I noticed the space in between. Not just the space in between the mist of smoke that swirled and danced, but the space in between the moment I was in. The spaces in my life that I fail to give notice to, because I’m too busy planning my next adventure. I could write anything but I slowly started to panic as the list of wishes, hopes, and dreams filled my mind. It was only 8:30pm. We had roughly two hours before we crawled into bed, well aware that we wouldn’t make it to midnight.
“Breathe. Breathe into the spaces in between,” our yoga teacher had said as Kim and I lay on our yoga mats in an old room with brick walls and hand-stained wood floors earlier that day. I hadn’t done yoga in months and was afraid of what would happen when I finally let my body open and melt. White sky lanterns hung from the ceiling. I couldn’t stop staring. They were blank like a piece of paper. Like the year before me. Like every year before me. Before us. It was up to me to fill in that piece of paper, but it was also up to me to leave room for the unexpected, as isn’t that what we do as travelers? To detach from expectation? To live fully in the moment with no attachment to the outcome?
White. Back to white. A blank slate. A new beginning. Like a get-out-of-jail-free. It meant that in some way I get to create the space in between. But I couldn’t just write about my life, my wishes, and my hopes without thinking of every beautiful person I’ve encountered in the last year. So I bagged writing my own personal intentions and wrote wishes for everyone else.
- Dear World,
I wish for us to be, have, and experience this in 2013:
To have more space in the in between spaces
For us to be present and supportive towards the ones we love
To commit to life so that life can commit to us
To live with open hearts: no matter what. Let me repeat. No matter what.
To allow ourselves to be expressive even if it may make people uncomfortable
To never lose hope
To believe in love
To get creative
To always say yes
To jump even if that means we have to pray for a parachute to magically appear on the way down
To be brilliant independently AND collectively
To know that our independent voice is powerful
To know that our collective voice creates change
To trust that this year, no matter what it brings, will be full of magic
To continue to be fully open to all of life, even when it’s too painful too bare and too beautiful to ignore
To know that this moment is enough
To know that we are enough, but if we choose to, we can be more
To be calm and supportive beings
To make a positive difference in the lives of others
To have self-respect so that this respect radiates into our families and local and global communities
To tread lightly on the world we step on and into
To not fight the world and everyone in it, but to love the world and everyone in it
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Katie works to bridge the gap between international communities, organizations, and mainstream media through photojournalism. She is an explorer, painter, musician, children's book illustrator and publisher, photographer, rebel, day dreamer, writer, and throws a mean horseshoe. Katie currently resides on the road but calls Colorado her home.
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