The Year of Receiving

2 min readFeb 3, 2019

The word to start 2019 is gratitude. A strategic choice to handle the future.

2019 promises to be year of change, of uncertainty. Nothing in my personal life, in my work, in my calling, has any kind of direction. Normally averse to planning, i find it hard to put any kind of goals, any milestones, even any kind of explorations. It is definitely some kind of surrender, and i am ensuring it is not the passive kind; i plan to keep on moving.

Just as a rower rows with their back to where they are heading, i find that by looking back with gratitude, i am able to row hard and let the forces that be steer me.

2019’s ambiguity, its randomness, is to be in a small row boat on a vast ocean. By being grateful for all the events that led me here, i find myself at ease in the vast unknown, even if sometimes alone.

2018 was a year of receiving. Unlike all other years, my effort seems not to stand out, and its good. I may have worked hard, but there was no stress, and so little memory of it remains. What i receieved was so fantastic, that i could not dream of paying it back — i could only enjoy the gifts. At times i did feel slightly prepared as i learned to stand with cupped hands and a bowed head. Not sure of what i was asking, but feeling like a pilgrim, moving thanks to the generosity of the universe. A partial list of gifts received:

  • A grant early in the year to continue my work in water at its own slow pace.
  • Tickets to visit the US for a wonderful reunion.
  • Super hospitality extending into deep friendship in Paris.
  • Hospitality par excellance in Boston.
  • Rejuvenating friendship in Seattle.
  • Inexplicable hospitality and deep support on Lopez Island.
  • Astounding generosity in the Bay Area: homes, cars, furniture, kitchenware, …
  • Neighborliness in Oakland.
  • Meditative company across the Bay Area.
  • A nice vacation at a South Indian hill-station.
  • A pilgrimage in Gujarat.
  • The time to watch sons blossom into adults.

Of course not all the receiving was welcome:

  • Continuous leaking of rainwater tanks, despite the attention and bills from contractors.
  • Deep scrutiny by an official from the Income Tax department.
  • Silence from old friends.
  • Construction in neighborhoods that threaten the future.

Gratitude needs to flow towards the challenges and i am learning to make it flow as freely.

There has been a flood of articles with people pushing their nomination of word of the year. I have started down that path and then wondered, why the rush to compress, condense, codify?

Why not complexify? S p r e a d o u t, enrich, …

Lets work on minimizing material stuff, and let our words, connections, relationships expand. Beyond one word, many words, beyond explanations.

But single words do have power. So i did choose a word, but only to start the year with. Now my back is turned to the future and i am rowing, praying.