I really enjoy the New Years holiday. Not so much the big event. (I was in bed by 10 p.m. this year); but the whole experience of looking back on the past year and looking ahead to the next one. Not to get all “Lion King” on everyone, but the circle of life is a fascinating thing. It all rolls around again and again and we get this annual opportunity to size it all up.
I suppose the looking back at the old year and looking ahead at the next year may seem to go against the whole “live in the now” thing, but I think there is room for both. Ekhart Tolle sums it up best in The Power of Now, when he says that, rather than spending our lives living in the past and future and visiting the present, we should live in the present moment and just visit the past and the future.
New Years Day gives up permission to reflect back on a particular chunk of the past, the last year, and to reflect on the next 365 day chunk. For me, 2014 was one of my best years, and one of the busiest. I am looking ahead at 2015 as a time of slowing down and reflecting, I hope.
I used to do specific resolutions and, I am proud so say, I was usually able to hold firm to those resolutions for nearly a week. Now, I am more general. I like to think about the whole circle; and how things might feel as the circle rolls around again. Mostly, I want to focus on not missing out on things; a resolution to try to stay awake, truly awake, for as much of it as possible.
As I stand perched at the end of 2014, and try to peak around the corner at 2015, I am struck by how it all feels so different and yet, how it all feels so much the same. I like how T.S Elliot says it in The Four Quartets:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
Which brings me back to the circle. The late Harry Chapin wrote my favorite song celebrating this idea, All My Life’s a Circle. If you have never heard the song (or you want to hear it again), click on this link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yjxWfyxpqY .
So, this year, I will look back at the last 365; think about the next 365; then come back around to the only thing I really have; today, and I will try to enjoy the splendor of it all. Happy New Year.