I love the New Year and the promise it holds. Literally sweeping away the old and welcoming the new is a task I look forward to every year as I clear away the Christmas decorations, clean the house and make space. Now, don’t get me wrong…I also enjoy seeing the “halls decked”, the garland strung and the lights shining. I am comforted by the presence of Christmas ornaments that have been around since my childhood. But, come January, or earlier if I can get away with it, I also have a great time boxing up the baubles and bric-a-brac and clearing away the clutter. The house looks so fresh without red and green ornaments in every available nook and cranny.
Likewise, I feel that I too clear away clutter from my mind and my soul. It’s much like taking off a heavy woolen coat. While I am grateful for the comfort and warmth of my winter jacket, as I take it off I breathe a sigh of relief, shrug my shoulders and do a bit of a stretch welcoming the freedom and relative weightlessness. Everything seems possible in January. I have twelve full months to look forward to filling. I like the sound of that, so I think I’ll say it again. Twelve full months! Fifty-two weeks. Wow! The possibilities are endless. Now that the past year has been cleared away and boxed up, whatever will I do? This sense of opportunity thrills me every year. Now, I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions which seem more like penance for past wrongs.
“I will save more money (because I am a wretched squanderer and now I won’t be able to retire until I’m 84).”
I will exercise more (because I’ve basically been a sloth for the past year).”
“I will volunteer at the Food Bank (because I’ve been incredibly selfish and have done nothing for humanity for the past half century).”
No, no, no, resolutions are not for me. Repentance and rectification were never my style. Perhaps I just box the sins of the past year along with the Christmas tree ornaments. Instead, I like to look forward with hope, make some new goals, include a bunch of fun projects and generally welcome the New Year as a blank slate. So, I got to thinking that it would be fun to start with an actual blank slate, or maybe a piece of tag board. And perhaps, if I found pictures or words that illustrate my goals and interests I could paste them on the tag board to make sort of a ‘vision board’ for 2012. This idea sounded much more fun and exciting than listing a bunch of resolutions that would seem to weigh me back down. Once I got this idea I couldn’t stop thinking about what it would look like. Where would I find pictures, and of what? What do I want to do, anyway? What will 2012 look like? I’ve always been a planner and a list maker preferring to not leave everything to luck. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t welcome chance, serendipity and fate. But, I do like direction. And I often remind myself that every thing begins as a thought.
I remember making a list of life goals on the back of a boarding pass when flying somewhere years ago. I wrote down ten items and then promptly forgot about it. A couple of years ago I found that boarding pass, wondering why I’d ever saved it. I happened to turn it over and found the list. Eight of the ten goals had been accomplished. Now, I hadn’t looked at that list since I’d made it, but in the act of thinking about the goals, quantifying them and setting them down on paper I’d set everything in motion. I’d launched rockets of desire that had found their mark. You know, sometimes I think it’s better if we don’t think about our goals too much because we don’t have the chance to screw it all up by doubting and second guessing.
This year, though I’m going to try launching those rockets through pictures. My vision board has been a fun exercise already. It’s kind of taken on a life of its own and I think sometimes I’m just a witness to the whole process as dormant desires nudge and jostle their way onto the tag board. I wondered if there would be a focus or if a theme would emerge. Sometimes desires were triggered by chance meetings. I saw a lady walking down the street wearing a lovely hat and I remembered that I really want to learn how to make hats. I was surfing the internet one night and saw an article about a row boat, which made me think about the wooden boat kit I’d bought several years ago gathering dust in the garage. Both of these wishes made it onto the tag board. I jotted down ideas in a variety of places as they occurred to me; I collected notes and pictures and thoughts and ideas. Then I got out the scissors and paste. And my hopes for 2012 came to life on the page.
Now, I don’t know if I’ll accomplish all or even some of these goals. Perhaps I’ll box up a whole bunch of unfulfilled desires with next year’s Christmas ornaments. But, I do know that I’ve had a great time planning and scheming and dreaming about the year. It gives me hope. It makes me happy. And it urges me to get out of bed in the morning a little bit earlier just so that I can witness all that unfolds. And as the world gets a bit lighter with each passing day, so do I. As I look around me in this glorious country which I call home I can’t help but see the touch of divinity that graces each tree and rock and mountain peak. And as the New Year opens before me I know that if I can just stay alert and aware I will see the touch of divinity as it graces my soul. And with that thought I sigh, and then I smile.
You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.
~Brihadaranyaka Upahisyad IV.4.5
What will 2012 hold for you?
May the most you wish for be the least you get.