I ended 2007 feeling a little filmy, more than a little occupied, and slightly annoyed with the Universe, if I’m being really honest. I felt far away from the presence of a Caring Intelligence, like staring into the night sky, knowing the moon is somewhere, but feeling thin with shadows.

I was dismayed: After all the personal work I’ve done, books I’ve read, classes I’ve taught and attended, how could I feel so removed? I was frustrated that the Divine Presence wasn’t making more of an effort. It was obvious I could use a little comfort or encouragement, a wink or a divine Twinkie, a burning bush or even just one lousy burning pinecone, divine intercession from the rumble and fugue of hormonal imbalance, something to rekindle my flat faith again.

But no, the skies were uninterested and heavy, the divine phone line kept ringing, and I felt a thousand miles away from the good and the true. I didn’t feel totally betrayed, just kind of small and unattended, as though I’d been left in a big department store all by myself and I didn’t know how to get home.

But I found that way home, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Every year on New Year’s Day, I have a tradition of writing about the past year: the events, milestones and lessons, and how I imagine my future. Secretly, I dreaded the ritual this year, because I just wanted to write “blah, blah, blah and I’m still not where I thought I’d be” instead of recording all the events and scenes I could recall. But as I wrote through the year, I slowly began to stuff my satchel with activated memories of kindness, convenient coincidences, new friends, the deepening of relationships, and many shiny beads of insight. As my ink filled page after page, with deliberate enunciation, this became clear: I’d been running so fast that I’d missed the milk and honey hidden in plain sight.

Proust said that “Writers get to live life twice.” And it’s true. The first time, I just kept pushing and moving through my experiences. The second time, I let my experience move through me--and move me. In slowing down, I felt this compassionate perspective emerge. It turns out I wasn’t being tortured after all. The Heavens hadn’t bypassed me in its stampede to lavish, gift, and favor all the others, as I had originally suspected. Instead, I began to see that every event in my life seemed to have its own significance sewn right in. Even my bumps, bruises, and detours had prompted me forward into a current of healing and good. I felt this wash of love come over me. There had been a presence and a preciousness in everything. But it would never have been revealed without slowing down to observe and absorb my own experiences.

Witnessing to this past year, I felt whole and reassured. I felt like Love had walked with me throughout it all. Then it hit me. The Universe hadn’t snubbed and ignored me. The Beloved hadn’t disappeared from my life. Infinite Goodness wasn’t a faraway moon orbiting out of reach from my patchy stance on earth. I was the one who was orbiting instead of landing. I had ignored my life. I hadn’t tended to the meanings tucked into the crevices of every day.

I realized that I didn’t feel the presence of the Divine, because I couldn’t feel myself. It’s as though I’d been in a garden all along, but I’d lost my sense of smell and sight. I think many of us experience life this way. The unattended life is a life of poverty. Attention is the temple in which the holy abides. As we begin a new year, this is my wish for you. May you attend your life and take in the moments with reflection, rather than just reaction. Some of you may do this through journaling, others through meditation or hiking. Take the time to receive your time. Don’t starve yourself of meaning. Live your life twice: get to know yourself, what you feel, think and desire. Where you find yourself, you’ll find the sweeping, generous presence of the Beloved.

I wish you a Happy New Year. Be good to yourself. You matter more than you know.

Copyright 2008 Tama J. Kieves, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Awakening Artistry is based on the work of Tama J. Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, who left her practice with a large corporate law firm to write and embolden others to live their most meaningful self-expression. She is the best-selling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love/ How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All! (2003 Tarcher/Penguin) and is an international teaching catalyst, sought-after speaker, and leading career coach. Download her free report on “Finding Your Calling Now” at www.AwakeningArtistry.com.