“Please Remove. . . ” acrylic on canvas, (c) Cat Charissage, 2022

Dear friends,

May this New Moon in this New Year bring joy, health, and abundance for all of us! Do you do any rituals or make any resolutions for the new year? For the past couple of years I’ve chosen a Word of the Year. I selected a word that encapsulates some important quality that feels like it’s time to nurture. For last year it was FOCUS (and I did get the first draft of my book done). The previous year was INNER SPACIOUSNESS. And this year, I’ve chosen RELEASE. As many of you know, I’m always battling with the feeling that I don’t have enough time to do what I feel I’m called to do and what I want to do. In addition, I suffer from an unhealthy dose of FOMO (fear of missing out). And then fibromyalgia slows me down quite a bit, and on top of that I spent two months this year healing from from some very severe burns. I often feel quite frustrated that my days seem so short. But I don’t want to live my life frustrated, nor do I want to feel as if I’m always behind on a To Do List that only grows rather than diminishes.

I’m moving into Elderhood, and well know that there are not an unlimited number of days left in my life. I want to come to peace about this feeling of never quite getting enough done, especially because it’s not the truth: I get done the most important things I want to accomplish and I almost never waste whatever time is in my control. I’m learning to reframe my “not enough time” into an awareness that, in fact, I’m blessed with many interests that call to me to explore. But how to choose? Which interests will resonate with what is most truly “me”? What is it that is mine to do? I actually don’t think that we are assigned certain tasks before birth that we’re “supposed” to accomplish in our lives (that’s a story for another day), but given that we all have different skills, talents, and interests, and different opportunities in our unique life situations, what is it that I’m best positioned to do, to be, and to enjoy?

A few years ago at one of Dr. Estes’ trainings, she encouraged us to not run after every shiny distraction that is thrust into our lives at the rate of a firehose shooting water. She suggested a little prayer to help us to remember who we really are: “Please remove from me everything that is not myself.” And so, as this all has arisen for me in the last few months, I’ve chosen that as my 2022 intention along with the word “RELEASE”. I also love that “release” sounds much like “real ease”. Yes! That’s what I want!

I painted this image to hold that intention. The background of a gold-rimmed red rose blossoming reminds me of the Mystery of Life unfolding around me all the time, just waiting for me to pay attention to what I see and what I know. The figure is me, with the purple feathered cloak as the boundary between myself and all that is not mine to do or to be. I want to discover more deeply what is already within me, and to share whatever may be of help to others, offered as a small golden rimmed purple rose. The asemic writing includes my intention in the form of an unreadable future.

What about you? The New Moon is a good time to think about what it is that we want to nurture in our lives as the moon gradually becomes full. At Full Moon we can be thankful for all that has grown, and let go of whatever we don’t need anymore. I often think of the time from full moon to new moon, when the visible moon is smaller and smaller, as cleaning up whatever was too much in what we created: I organize the mess, I throw out or recycle the real and symbolic leftover pieces, and I ready the studio (and myself) for whatever is coming next.

And that’s what I did this past couple of weeks. I gathered my journals for the year and re-read what I wrote in 2021. I’ve put some things away, kept track of promising ideas and inspirations, and expressed gratitude for all the wonders and kindnesses. One big gratitude was the love I felt from so many people who contacted me when I was healing from my burns in July. Thank you. Your love was needed, and your care kept me going in my “a little too close to death” experience.

Even if you don’t have special rituals or do resolutions, take a few minutes to go over that second pandemic year we just finished — 2021. Congratulate yourself on coming out the other side, and recognize your strengths that you tapped into this year. What is it that you want to bring into 2022? What is it that you will leave behind?

May we all have “real ease” in 2022!

Cat