By Kellie Schorr
I looked forward to going to my friend’s house for dinner.
I said yes, found a time that worked for us, and responded with a hearty “can’t wait to see you!” I said it. I meant it. I put a star on my calendar and picked my clothes. Everything was ready, steady and happy until…that morning.
“I have so much to do.”
“This isn’t a good day.”
“Maybe she’s busy too. Maybe she’ll cancel.”
“I could tell her I’m a little tired.”
“Maybe the dog ate something she shouldn’t, and I should stay home to watch her.”
Dragging around like it’s the day I need to turn myself in to start a hard-labor prison sentence, whining and moaning, I check my phone repeatedly praying for an amazing, “Sorry, something came up” text—the perfect “get out of jail free” card. Cathy hands me the car keys and motions toward the door.
“I don’t want to go,” I mumble.
I know what she’s going to say. It’s what she always says.
“You’ll be fine once you get there.”
By the time the initial hugs are done, and smiles are exchanged, I sink into happiness like a warm bath, listening to stories, eating, laughing and loving the people I’m with. I know myself well enough to realize this isn’t a unique occurrence; it’s a pattern. Right now, I’m not just feeling it when It comes to visiting my friends; I’m experiencing it about a whole year.
After the abyss of 2020 and the longer trauma of 2021, I can honestly look at my brand new 2022 calendar and say, “I don’t want to go.”
How do we make it across the threshold into a year that is dragging the baggage of its predecessors in one hand and promising nothing with the other? With a cup of tea.
Tea with 2022
“Tea with demons” or “feeding your demons” is a well-known Buddhist strategy for dealing with the things in our life that trouble us beyond our ability to control them. Instead of fighting or avoiding your torments, sit down with them and cooperate, communicate, open up and learn from them. Once you have a better understanding of who or what you’re dealing with, a path forward will often emerge.
This year instead of bravado (“This is gonna be my year!”), delusion (“It’s gotta be better than the last one, right? That’s how years work.”) or derision (“Batten down the hatches, another sucky trip around the sun awaits.”) take some time to sit down with a nice cup of tea (or coffee or water or wine—whatever works) and invite 2022 to the table.
You can write it out, talk aloud or stare off into the horizon and project your thoughts silently. Envision 2022 with its 12-month expanse clumsily sitting down beside you. Let your mind open and make space for a conversation. Then…
1. Be Gentle – Don’t spend this moment beating up the new year for what the other years have done. The reason New Year’s Eve is such a mythic and powerful day (even If you spend that night in your Pj’s watching movies with your cat) is the chance at midnight to start with a clean surface and do something new. That doesn’t mean you won’t have memories, lessons, smiles or regrets from the past but it does mean this is not the time to beat the year or yourself up about them.
2. Be Honest – Tell the year how you really, truly feel at this point. “I’m a little nervous.” “I’m afraid you won’t change anything.” “I’m terrified you will change everything.” “I’m excited because I really think we can do this thing I’ve got planned.” “I don’t even know what to say at this point. I’m numb. Just, numb.” All of those are fine things if they represent the honesty of how you feel. The more you can bring your truth out and sit it on the table, the better it will be for you to take the first tentative steps into 2022 with clarity.
3. Be Open – Truth is, 2022 doesn’t know what it is going to bring you any more than you do. We are the makers of this tapestry with every decision we put forth, reaction we experience and prayer we lift. Be open to the fact that there is no map, just a series of possible directions for your very next step. Let go of concrete planning that attempts to control the unknown and be open to a journey that may surprise you but will, at every turn, put the path markers in your hands.
4. Be Willing – Be willing to learn, to change, to grow and to let go. Most importantly, at different points throughout the year, be willing to sit down and have another cup of tea. Be aware of your choices in 2022 and take time every once in a while to reflect and redirect your steps.
I don’t know what 2022 is going to bring and it is a strange comfort to realize that it doesn’t either.
A journey is beginning. What better way to start than with a cup of tea?
And remember, you’ll be fine once you get there.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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