Jan 01 2008

The Best Year Yet?

Published by at 4:06 am under Holidays & Special Events

Every year my Irish dance friends have a New Year’s party, but since my memory reaches back only a minute or two, I’d forgotten about that when I registered for the New Year’s Eve happening at Spirit Rock.

As I think I’ve written here before, I’m very weird about New Year’s Eve. I always imbue the ritual transition with significance beyond all reason. As the countdown begins I go into a true panic about what I should be doing, what I should have done by now, and where I should be other than where I am. I think, “If I’m doing the right thing at the stroke of midnight, I’ll have a good year.”

Obviously I’ve been doing something wrong for the past forty.

So I saw potential in an event that Scoop Nisker and a couple of other cool Buddhists were offering: Another Year? We Just Had One!

I signed up. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother reading the fine print until today.

Let go of the old, bring in the new with an evening of meditation, drumming, chanting, dancing and ritual.

I should tell you something about me: I don’t drum. I don’t chant. I’ve never sung along. I’ve been known to try medication — whoa! my first Freudian slip of the year — I mean meditation and ritual, but only if people aren’t taking it too seriously.

Come in colorful costume, hats, glitter, boas — be creative!

Did I mention I don’t dress up? Truth is, it’s sad I’ve lost that sense of fun. Last time I wore a costume (not including that black velvet minidress with the rhinestones and gossamer pink cape that I leap around in Celtic-ly) was in the mid-seventies. It wasn’t even a costume, but an accessory: black plastic glasses with a nose, except instead of a nose it was a penis, and if you pulled off the end it became a pig snout instead, for when you were in polite company.

I attired myself as festively as I know how. I looked in the mirror. I looked like a bruise.


I dragged myself kicking and screaming into the car. But you know what? I had a blast from the second I arrived, and against all odds experienced minimal humiliation throughout the evening’s program:

  • During the meditations my stomach’s growl pierced the silence only twice and I didn’t fall asleep once.
  • My assigned percussion instrument was a small blue plastic Easter egg filled with sand. I could shake it surreptitiously, without compromising my dignity. The only trouble came when I got too relaxed on the upbeat. Luckily I interrupted the trajectory of the airborne egg by capturing it between my breast and my armpit. (I’m very dexterous-breasted.)
  • The Om Mani Padme Hum wasn’t too bad.
  • The dancing was the hardest. Everyone seemed to know everyone. They all got up and just started dancing, just like that, right on cue, without having four beers first or anything. I opted for a walk in the as-yet-moonless, starful, crystalline night. I fell into a groundhog hole and decided to give the dancing a try after all. As though I was diving into glacial melt, I took a deep breath and just charged into the throng. It was unnerving but before long I pried my hands from my sides and wiggled body parts that Irish dance judges don’t want to know about. I never realized that that dancing can make you feel intoxicated. (I always thought it was the intoxication that did that.)


The teachers were funny, playful and inspiring. As the new year rolled in we were all seated silently, eyes closed, thinking good things about the universe. It was lovely.

Later we burned bits of paper with our wishes written on them.


On the long drive home I entertained myself.


It was my most fulfilling New Year’s Eve ever. Do you think … is it possible … might this be … the beginning of a GOOD year?

Oops. “Expect nothing…” “Accept what comes…” Didn’t I learn anything?

. . . . . . . . . . .

To the three of you who read this thing, I send fond New Year’s greetings and hopes for health and happiness and maybe some dancing.

One response so far

One Response to “The Best Year Yet?”

  1. Syd says:

    Dear Ginna: So glad you aren’t taking yourself too seriously, and that your ushering in of the New Year was acceptable–maybe even hopeful? I laughed out loud at least three times reading your blog (and I don’t laugh out loud!)–your pictorial illustrations add hearty chuckles, too. (suggestion for even more blog enjoyment: a ginna illustration of the shaker pit-breast recovery…you’re so talented!) Peace and love and much laughter to you…don’t break that chair! I’m coming back!

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