Monday, December 29, 2014

Annus Mirabilis: May You Have a Year of Wonders

Annus Mirabilis is Latin for year of wonders. If you look it up on Wikipedia you can see a list of years that were considered to be spectacular enough for historians to label them annus mirabilis. The term first appears in print in a poem by John Dryden in the year 1666. He used it to describe his relief that the year that contained the devil's numbers (666) hadn't included any greater disaster than the Great Fire of London!

I do love arcane words and the nuance of words in other languages. I love words that encapsulate big ideas in just a few letters. I love words that come out of the past and take on new meaning and usefulness. I like words that may be passe but are worth saving just because they are different and  make people stop and listen. I like made up family words that are like a code or short hand. Words like agamai (loosely translated from Ancient Greek meaning astonishment, wonder and delight, shared with me by Georgia Angelopolous), susseration, whilst (a word my husband is trying to save), succulent, gription, petrichor....

Last year I was introduced to the idea of choosing one word to encapsulate my intentions for the year to come. I was intrigued by the idea. I'm not much for resolutions but choosing one word seemed doable. I chose reconnect. In the busy, busy world we live in it is easy to become quite isolated doing stuff, to not find time for actual people. We started to have more people in for simple dinners and time to talk. My husband got tired of suggesting I join Facebook and just signed me up and my, did that get me connected in a hurry! I took time to go back to exploring and playing with my art toys and managed to reconnect with the joy of creating just for fun. Having my husband around full time for the first time in our marriage has been one of the reconnection bonuses this year! Altogether it has been a year of ups and downs, changes in the family and challenges. As Zora Neale Hurston said, there are years that ask questions and years that answer. This has certainly been a year that asked a great deal of me but all that reconnecting helped. It was the perfect year for that word.

So now it is time to choose a word for this year. I've thought of lots of them but haven't settled on just the right one yet. There hasn't been one that just clicked, that said it all. I want a word that means digging deeper with the expectation of joy and discovery. What about you? What word would you choose?

For the world, I want an Annus Mirabilis. And I want the miracle to be peace, understanding and acceptance. And if we could all have our own Annus Mirabilis at the same time that would just be icing on the cake!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Wish For You Is A Little Peace

I've thought a lot about peace this fall. It is a theme that has been ever-present in my mind. The world is awash with turmoil. I'm not sure if it is worse than it has been over the centuries or if we are just more aware of it because of the relentless news coverage or the fact that it is being served up on our own doorsteps, but I am feeling it more this year. So my message over this holiday season is "Peace". I want us to find ways to insist that our leaders find non-violent ways to settle international disputes, I want us to find ways to take leadership roles to make race a non issue, I want women to stand up around the world and make their communities safe with the help of the many men who honour and support that cause.
But I also want something simpler for all of you, something that is easier to attain. I want you to find time in the hectic weak ahead to experience peace within yourself. Time to have a quiet cup of hot chocolate or a wee dram of good Scotch, whatever would give you pleasure. Time to put on some quiet music and read a good book or time to lace up your skates or go for a long walk with a good dog - again, whatever would give you pleasure. I hope you have time to snuggle up with a small child to read them a story, or with a teenager to watch a good movie or with your favourite  fur baby or with your significant other for a long kiss. In other words, I want you to experience a bit of peace on your home turf. My sense is that if we can find peace for a little bit each day for ourselves we may find ways of offering it to others as we move into 2015.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!  Blessed Winter Solstice! Happy Holidays! But most importantly, Peace be with you and yours!