By Lucy Christopher
I marked the new year on Winter Solstice night. I lit candles and in my online yoga group our instructor led a moon salutation. She closed the session with a meditation pose to enter the new year with intention, which she loosely translated from Sanskrit as ‘do no harm; take no shit’.
The next day I attended the online funeral of someone I knew little, but liked deeply. The celebrant shared the notion of Winter Solstice as a metaphor for endurance and a faith that what follows the darkest point is new light. His words returned to me often as I sat in my final client sessions of the year. I was reminded of the value of offering our embodied presence alongside clients at their lowest ebb – and the rich challenge of not trying to change or rescue, but simply being alongside, trusting in the predictability of movement that things are always shifting.
I have been reflecting on what I am taking from last year, and my hopes for 2021. One intention is to pan out and absorb more of the natural world into my everyday life. In contacting greater, more enduring forces than the minutiae of my mortal concerns, I come to myself anew. After my cat died in March, the pine tree outside my client room filled with birds, and squirrels returned to the garden. This winter, I developed a thing for the dogwood shrub I now see everywhere, its neon red stalks that glow in the winter sun.
A Black friend shared her hope for 2021: for her white peers to get better at talking to each other about race, because she is tired of carrying that burden.
I have entered the new year with her words ringing through my body and hope this public acknowledgement will help to hold me to account. And I realise that my intention for 2021 is to do no harm; take no shit.
Lucy Christopher is a gestalt therapist in private practice. She also teaches at Metanoia Institute and runs a women’s therapeutic weaving group.