Thank You, 2011

by Simon Goland, January 1, 2012

Today’s Reflection is about the gifts of 2011. Well, some of them.

Another year has gone by, seemingly quite fast. Or, perhaps, it is simply the case because it was such a rich and full year, with many exciting ventures, adventures, and people finding their way into my life. As I have been completing the last year, and peering into the crystal ball of what the next one might bring, I thought about gratitude for the gifts 2011 brought my way. Sometimes gently, and at other times, not so much.

“One of the greatest mysteries of our current state of consciousness is how we can live in a world where absolutely nothing is fixed, yet perceive a world of ‘fixedness.’ But once we start to see reality more as it is, we realize that nothing is permanent, so how could the future be fixed? How could we live in anything but a world of continual possibility?” – anonymous

Dear 2011,

Thank you. I know I have been saying it for some years now, to all your younger siblings, who came and left before you, and you might think that I am “just saying it.” I am not. Thank you, for you have been the best one yet. Perhaps not the easiest or the smoothest ever, yet I think that, by now, I am almost at peace with the fact that this is not how my life is going to look like.

I know I was asking for international travels and adventures, and for some reason thought it would be Japan. It wasn’t. There was a week in Istanbul, which was wonderful. Yet, much more importantly, in a few short weeks, I will be heading to India to teach a 2-week course, and then spend a few days exploring New Delhi – if I have any energy left, that is, after teaching a group of almost 120 MBA students at the School of Inspired Leadership ( You obviously knew of my long-standing push-pull turmoil towards India, and decided that I need to get off this particular fence. Thank you.

I have been contemplating, for quite some time now, as to how my 10 years of work in the area of life purpose and vocation will combine with my dissertation of the PhD in Eco-Psychology. You obviously did not. All it took you is to set me up with one very random conversation with one of my students, in June, and over 15 minutes or so, the clarity emerged – and Right Livelihood Quest ( was born and is happening. Thank you (though, I am curious – how is it that it was so easy for you?)

You, dear 2011, have a sense of the people I need to have in my classes and facilitation work. All these students and clients are absolutely incredible – passionate, committed, engaged, and resistant in just the right areas for me to struggle and learn more about myself. I am deeply grateful for you for this one, as you kept sending the right people on my path.

You obviously talked to your younger siblings before you arrived; otherwise, how could you have known to send me such wonderful friends, new and existing, who kept reminding me of the importance of belonging to a community. And not only friends, but also professional collaborators. You obviously knew that I have been doing my work on my own for a long time, and wanted to collaborate and co-create with others. Well, the people I have been working with this year are incredible, and it is a true blessing to co-create transformational learning experiences together.

And then there is this relationship thing. I know, I know – I said I was ready for one. It is just that, sometimes, theory and practice are quite different. I really could not have imagined the learning I will be facing in this one. It is deep, rich, inspiring, loving, confronting, challenging, and has a way of questioning quite a few of my set ways of being. This next level of “loving as a way of being” is beautiful, juicy, and not always easy. Still, I am truly grateful to you for this one.

“Surely, the function of relationship is to reveal the state of one’s whole being. Relationship is a process of self-revelation, of self-knowledge. This self-revelation is painful, demanding constant adjustment, pliability of thought-emotion. It is a painful struggle, with periods of enlightened peace.” – Krishnamurti

Thank you for bringing me exactly what I need, when you think I need it, even when it might be not exactly how I thought I wanted it. I’d like to say that I am learning to trust, and have no doubt your next-in-line sibling, 2012, will make sure I keep learning this particular lesson. Apparently, I can be a slow learner.

Wherever you are now, 2011, I deeply appreciate all that you brought for me, and am looking forward to your older sibling, 2012.

A sunny week to you all, inside and out.