Thank You 2013

closing-doorDear 2013,

Time came for us to part ways. It is nothing personal, really. Just the nature of things these days. We had a great time together, for a whole year. Every day, every night, and oftentimes, every hour. It is time to move on now, and perfect timing to look at what you have taught me – either directly, or through many other messengers that have been crossing my trajectory while I was with you.

I am pretty sure I will not remember everything, or even close to it. My promise is to do my best, about the important events and lessons. Those that left a deep, rich, juicy, and lasting impressions.

You taught me that my insecurities about facilitating, primarily in the corporate settings, really have no basis to stand on. I’d get all in knots, in advance of a gig. And you would smile, probably whispering to yourself, “Here he goes again. Has he already forgotten how great the previous one went?” And you are always right, because the gig ends up being great. Thank you for continuing and working with me on this one.

“Light will someday split you open.” – Hafiz

It shows up even stronger when I conduct the Right Livelihood Quests. You and I had 3 of those this year – March at the Whidbey Institute, July at Yellowstone Park, and September at Esalen (Big Sur, California). You kept showing and teaching me about that need to get myself out of the way, allowing the magic of the process take over. I did see that when that happens for me, the magic indeed shows up – as a deep and profound transformation for the participants.

But here, with the Right Livelihood Quests, it was not enough for you. My beloved partner, Alison, ended up participating in the March one as well, and has been joining me as an assistant and co-facilitator since. This was a beautiful blessing, to work with her, learn to dance together a whole new dance, and see the impact of our similar, different, and complementary approaches for the participants. Throughout it all, though, you apparently decided that I need to learn to share, and not just “anything.” I learned to share “my baby,” the process of the Quest, that I have been birthing into my work for the past 13 years or so.

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love. But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colors that never before existed.” – Hafiz

There has been this theme in my life, of avoiding diving deep into the realm of emotions and expressing them fully and authentically. This one has been an ongoing journey and learning for me, and you have definitely kept an eye on this theme for me. Whether through my relationship with my beloved, through the attention and presence to my four-legged companion and guide Tobi, through my work with many students and clients, and through the community of incredibly authentic and heart-centered men of the Mankind Project, I can say that it has indeed been a transformative year for me. The beauty and richness of connection that occur when I do step into these places fill me with gratitude for these learning moments that you oh-so-graciously created for me.

Apparently, there is that need to periodically send the superman clothes to dry-cleaning. This has been a tricky lesson, primarily because this has been a way of life for me for a very long time. And you, dear 2013, decided to really have me face it, and learn that there are other ways. Naturally, because I am so stubborn, you had to deliver a few hard and painful lessons. I admit that I don’t do well with this particular one (I’d say B- at best), yet am definitely learning to embrace my humanness, ask for help, slow down, allow myself to be fully sick when I am, and accept the fact that I can’t always force my way through life.

It became quite obvious to you that I, apparently, am mature enough and ready enough for a whole new phase in life. A phase of co-habiting and co-existing with my beloved. This lesson involved several steps, which included selling the loft I lived in for over 14 years (all because of the movie “Flashdance”), losing my “man cave” for several months (I am happy to report that I survived), and entering a 3-months long renovation process for our new place (everything they tell you about renovations is true – there will be surprises, budget overruns, changes and compromises, and mess). The beauty of this lesson is that we are now settling in to our new place, and have moved through this process with lots of love, some fun, some increased ability to navigate challenging topics and conversations, and I am looking forward to the evolving and unfolding of this next phase of our relationship.

“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.” – Hafiz

Thank you, 2013. You have been a wonderful, powerful, at times annoying and frustrating, teacher. I wonder what your older sibling will bring forth.

PS: Any time you want to send me a similar letter, from you to me, please feel free. I’d love to read your take on our year together…




Simon Goland