It’s Day 2 of the New Year. 2013 is already strengthening its foothold, but I still chirp “happy new year” at the beginning of each sentence. You’ll hear me say this for at least another week…as long as I can get away with it, really. I love the optimistic nature of this humanity-wide holiday. (I know…frivolous optimism isn’t my strength, but with the help of a useful annual ritual, this human primate can get there almost as easily as the next monkey.)
Planning for New Year’s Eve can be kinda stressful though. We don’t have a tradition we honor every year, as many do, & I really do enjoy celebrating this intentional turning-a-corner-of-time (almost as much as I dislike the immediately-previous holiday). Two (relatively) recent memorable New Year’s Eves were in Japan & Switzerland, & also one with good friends at the local Harbor. This year the two of us had a bonfire in the backyard with detritus gathered from recent home improvement projects – wet & random, a few shots of tiki torch oil helped the fire along…we even made it to midnight to hear the firecrackers & clanging pots. It was great – thank you R…the grilled mackerel was delicioso.
The ritual of new year, of turning a corner, is nearly universal in the world these days. Some cultures still celebrate their own calendars’ new year too, but the new year of our common worldwide calendar (thank you Pope Gregory XIII) is a time for humans around the earth to put the past behind & affirm admirable intentions for our coming cycle around the sun. We do this as humans together, without regard for religion or class or nationality or political party or sexual orientation…as humans, together. Wow.
Apparently most of these admirable intentions, a.k.a. new year’s resolutions, don’t have the desired longevity, but the one I really do make an effort to keep is offering kindness. In the Buddhist tradition it’s called loving-kindness, & tonglen practice helps. I’m also working on the concept of reframing…as in reframing the past. Wish me luck!
& speaking of the past, in 2012 President Obama was re-elected and the Santa Cruz branch rail line moved into public hands. I don’t need to reframe these; along with a huge sigh of relief, I feel a great deal of satisfaction at my dedication to & role in these matters, in particular the latter. So, good-bye to the past year: thank you for the good it brought us, & farewell to the hard times.
I wish you all the best, or at least more sharing, smiles & satisfaction, in 2013. & go Obama! – our greatest president in modern times.