2016 was a tough one for many of us. I know it was for me. The pop icon death toll was heavy. Bowie’s passing took me out at the knees. Prince and Leonard Cohen rocked me pretty hard as well, but we lost a bunch of others who further made last year one of the heavier years in terms of loss that I can remember. Just a few short days after Bowie, we lost Alan Rickman, and from there, it just never seemed to end.
Leon Russell, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake both of ELP, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Merle Haggard, Ralph Stanley and Sir George Martin.
Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, Tom Hayden, Elie Wiesel, Harper Lee, Edward Albee, Morley Safer, Garry Marshall, Carrie Fisher followed by her mother Debbie Reynolds the very next day!
And then of course we have the mind-numbing ascent of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. That’s a lot of bitter pills to swallow in a relatively short window of time.
In Chinese Astrology, 2016 has been the year of the Red Fire Monkey, and the Monkey has been a busy boy – manipulative and mettlesome, dismissive and reckless. I understand that many of your might consider anything astrological to be a nonsense, and that’s fine…but I’m not done.
For me, an Ox, 2016 was supposed to be a year where I planted seeds of radical change. Indeed, in taking a good inventory, it has been just that. In January, Patty and I purchased property in Joshua Tree – two dwellings on 5 acres, one of them attached to an enormous garage, a space that will eventually become a desert studio of sorts. Our home of the last dozen years was put on the market and sold, so that we could have the money to begin work on the place in JT. We are now renting a condo, which is in itself, a new set of things to get accustomed to.
In 2016, I made the decision to go sober. Some days are easier than I would have ever expected; others, not so much. Clear signs that my (relatively new) job will not last too far into this new year have become abundantly clear. I should be upset, but I am not. I will simply look forward towards better opportunities where my talents can be better utilized. I have always landed on my feet. I cannot imagine living my life any other way.
I have an old friend Camille, a lovely Leo with a wonderful mind who posted some wise words to reflect on:
“The silliest thing we could possibly do right now is be that old dying generation [who] laments reality and is blinded to the possibilities before us… Magic is all around us. Listen for it. It wouldn’t hurt you to believe in great things….Life is living all around you.”
She is on course, spot on. We cannot live in the past, and when we do, we deprive ourselves of the magic and beauty of everything we should recognize and embrace each and every day. These words from Alan Watts sums it up nicely:
We have lost a lot of iconic figures, yes, but their passing should serve as reminders that we need to up our game; we need to stoke the fires of our creative selves to further edify the lives of those that are the closest to each of us.
We are facing a political morass that portends some rough years ahead – absolutely. So stay vigilant and stand strong against that which you know is wrong. Refuse complacency. Reject evil intention.
We can, and should make a difference in whatever ways we are capable. We need to lead with love and compassion, but don’t be mistaken – we can still be fierce.
If 2016 is the year to begin laying foundations, 2017 is the year to commence with the actualization.
2018 will be about fruition. I am up for the challenge and ready for the ride.