There is a noticeable lack of Christmas spirit in my family this year. It’s been a long year as my dad battled cancer and passed away on the first of December. The anticipation of Christmas coming has been replaced with a feeling of; “Is it over yet?” I don’t think it’s Christmas per se’ but we’re anticipating the end of 2017 and 2018 to begin.
Anticipation can be a dangerous state of mind, emotion, and spirit. For all we know, 2018 will be as rough, perhaps more so, than 2017. It’s not a pleasant thought but it is a possibility. This is why wisdom teachers discourage anticipation. Life rarely lives up to what we think, or wish would happen. It’s almost always different and this can be good or bad, negative or positive. When life fails to fill our desires suffering, pain, confusion can occur.
So, my family and many others wait in this no man’s land hoping Christmas will not be too difficult and 2018 will be a better, certainly different, year.
Ah! New Year’s resolutions. A rite of passage for most folks as they walk into the new year filled with the hope and promise of new beginnings, fresh starts.
Several years ago I quit making New Year’s resolutions. I forget what I was reading or whom I was speaking with but it led me to the conclusion that most resolutions are ego, self-focused. A lot of losing weight, less TV, reading more, exercise, quitting smoking, getting more sleep, etc. While none of these are bad or negative in any way it’s hard to see how they improve anything else but ourselves and perhaps other’s opinions of us.
January 1st, after all, is an arbitrary date. It is not different from any other date. The universe doesn’t know it’s a new year, the cosmos didn’t throw a party. Any date can be used to strap on a pair shoes and go walking, choose to eat better, chew gum instead of lighting up a cancer stick, turn off the telly, etc.
If the New Year is to have true, lasting meaning then what we need is self and global awareness. The ability to see the world, its need, our abundance and be empowered to do something about it. A diet for ourselves doesn’t abate world hunger, quitting smoking doesn’t stop smog hanging over cities and global warming, getting more sleep doesn’t help those with no bed or home, exercise won’t put shoes on those with dirt covered feet living in poverty.
Our New Year resolutions are often self-absorbed and myopic because we aren’t globally minded. We live in the richest society ever in history. Most of us don’t want for much. Perhaps this is the year we begin to give some of it away.
Getting Rid of the Clutter –
My workshop has gotten out of control lately. Because of outdoor projects, it’s mostly been used to house tools, scraps and other materials needed for whatever I’ve been working on outside. So, today I spent the afternoon cleaning it up and out. There was a lot of stuff which needed to be thrown away, some went to the burn pile, other to the local junk yard. I picked up tools and put them back in their place, wood went to the wood bin, lawn care to their place and replaced a table in the middle of the workshop with a long shelve on the side. This created a lot more space to work. I’m tired but it was a which needed to be done and one which will benefit me in the long run.
Wisdom tells us a decluttered life is also necessary to possess peace of life and spirit. When there are too many things occupying space in our minds, emotions, lives we seem to always be in a rush, stepping over, shuffling around, putting things where they don’t belong and not paying attention to a life filling up with many useless trinkets. Wisdom also reveals that the more things in our life the less time we have for those things. Our attention, love, relationships all suffer when our lives are cluttered.
Perhaps the New Year might be a good time to discover what is and what isn’t important. Accept the truth we only have so much energy, time and passion to whatever is in our lives and do some decluttering of own.