Trusting and a New Word for 2023
6 May 2023 | BY ANDJELKA JANKOVIC | Life
I want to go where the rivers are overflowing
A year is a very long time and nothing at all.
Some things certainly feel like a thousand years ago, or only yesterday.
I am still living in the unfolding.
2022 was split into two.
It began with bans and blacklisting. Amongst the confusion and uncertainty, I resolved to swim in the ocean every day at dawn and dusk — as I told myself: you can’t mandate the sunset. I never lost reverence for ordinary pleasures. I found incredible comfort and solidarity in friendships and realised that deep convictions require a lightness of spirit. I always trust that everyone knows what is right for them. Now, we all know.
I can no longer meet other people’s expectations of me that I never agreed to. — Marlee Grace
The world turns, as it does. In the second half of the year, I started working “full-time” again to fund my Celtic pilgrimage. I now know exactly why it is called that — because it leaves you mostly empty. Work is still not working for me.
To be brutally honest, I never want to see a marketing plan again.
My soul is here to do other things. My best friend Kylie texted me: “Free idea: we stop everything and just make miniature versions of every object that exists. For cats. And for cats only,” and I might just take her up on that.
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.
The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.
— Greg Kimura
Shifting gears, I became a morning person again (hello 5 am). My cycle synced with the moon. I stopped writing lists to improve my memory and it really worked. This is crazy talk for a Virgo. And I was bitten by a spider on my face seven times while sleeping on the eve of my birthday. Please help me figure out what this means?!?!
I got full-blown OBSESSED with Outlander, and why yes I do have a basket collection and wish to clutch a beautiful Scottish man on horseback — just call me Claire. I am the world’s slowest binge-watcher, but even I made it to Season 4 in ONE YEAR. Go me.
It was a year of longing and beautiful questions. You yourself are a beautiful question. For every answer, there is another yearning.
I also reclaimed all the years I didn’t swim in the ocean because I didn’t like how I looked and felt (bloated) in bathers. Nora Ephron was right: ‘Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.’ In my case, a black one-piece.
I have become less and less interested in my phone. I oscillate between stepping away from online life and coming back for the rush of connection and sharing. This very wry New Yorker article hits a truth nerve and reminds you that the point of Reels and TikTok and whatever is invented next is advertising. This line is gold: ‘As you continue to overwork, be underpaid, and understand the people around you less and less, we know that the hit of dopamine you get from a like is the only thing keeping you warm at night. And we won’t be content until everyone, and everything, is content.’
The truth is, I’m at capacity with content.
We all just want to see our friends’ posts, but the algorithm won’t allow it. I want to grow a salad, write a book, and meet a wild animal. I want contentment.
To be happy, doing a thousand things no one ever hears of. — still my mantra
I read 73 books in the year and ate just as many coconut carob bears (addicted). I devoured Migrations in one night while staying in an Unyoked cabin by myself for a ‘think week’. Sex at Dawn delivered on its promise of being very good, while The Dawn of Language – not so much. I have high praise for Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul which tells the story of Celtic spirituality and Pelagius who was a monk from Wales and the first historically recorded writer in the Celtic world. The Celts were an oral culture until the second century who worshipped without temples – and said that the wild, forests and the mountains were their “church”. In short: my kind of people. I can still taste the Korean noodles and deep quest for self-knowing in Crying in H Mart, and pretty much will talk to anyone about The Red Tent who wants to hear about it (bring me mead and plait my hair while I bleed). The Great Alone broke me nearly as much as A Little Life did (the unputtable down book of 2022), The Fruitful Darkness is a must-read for spiritual seekers, and Love and Other Words was such a satisfying romance read (Love and Other Poems equally so). Books, as ever, are my solace.
I adopted two elderly cats at the start of 2022 – a mother-and-daughter duo called Evie and CousCous. I loved them instantly and immensely. These two queens live in a sunlit treehouse retreat with me as their worthy servant. Precious 14-year-old Evie soul passed away after a year together on the second day of 2023. It started with Googling “How do I stop my cat from vomiting all the time” and ended with liver cancer. Darling CousCous is weary of most things but not me, and is my little sidekick sitting with me during tea every morning and thriving.
To love more is to discover the truth sooner. — Sri Chinmoy
Tea is my refuge and has held me immensely this past year. I seriously can’t image my life without it. Serving tea is a great love of mine, and bowl after bowl alone on a rainy day is ultimate heaven. Reading a page from the Tao Te Ching, I am reminded: do your work and let go. My friend Matt and I hosted our first tea gathering in the round (themed to black and white) exploring duality and wholeness in silence. I have listened to this Cloud Hidden tea playlist more than a hundred times. I wrote two articles for Global Tea Hut magazine: sharing my coming-to-tea story and a piece on the practice of chaxi. I also learnt two Japanese mindfulness practices – ikebana, the art of flower arranging (or ‘the path of flowers’) with my friend Kira and taught myself kintsugi, the art of golden repair. KINTSUGI IS HARD GUYS. Both seem simple but are infinitely deep, which is always the way with a Way. In the process of handmaking a ceramic bowl for my ikebana arrangement, the teacher said: “If you rush any step, it just doesn’t work” which is the best accidental life advice I’ve ever heard from a lump of clay.
As you get older, you want less from the world; you just want to experience it. Ordinary things become beautifully poetic. — Richard Linklater
I didn’t quite master being a Projector last year, although I am leaning into ‘wait for the invitation’ more than ever. I just want to be fully alive with a bone-deep level of ease and flow. When I am depleted and exhausted, I am not me and have literally zero to give. I discovered cosmic rest and the seven types of rest you need, and have learnt I NEED TO PAUSE or I will burn out and miss a lot of magic. Being busy is easy. Anyone can fill up a calendar. The challenge is to be well-rested and I don’t want to die tired.
As I wrote:
Life is very big. We all need to prioritise small moments of rest for self-preservation. We also need to change our language. ‘Time off’ does not have to be ‘spent’ well. It cannot be ‘wasted’. Time is not something we ‘use’ – we exist within time. If your life is full, it is going to go very fast. Our lives, like the seasons, need downtime.
My word was 2022 was: trusting.
This has been the hardest word to live yet by far. Sheesh AJ a year ago, you picked a big one.
Trusting is a practice and a sense. I now have a PhD in waiting. Trust doesn’t keep time, or care about your plans (but it does have a playlist).
Trusting is accepting something is not for you even if you want it really bad.
Trusting is not getting what you want because it’s not meant for you.
It is living in the mystery and darkness – feeling around for a solid shape and something to grab onto.
Trusting is subtle – it has a voice but doesn’t speak a language. It’s a feeling, a hunch, an ease, an excitement, a nudge, a knowing. It is not your ego.
The one thing I know for sure: trusting is a process.
Trust that when you don’t know what to do, do nothing.
Trust your body so your body can trust you.
The price for not trusting your intuition is high.