Janus: the Roman god of beginnings and endings, of gates and doorways; the first day of his month is the pivot around which we turn.
When the year 2000 approached, I reminded folks around me that this was an arbitrary date, constructed by humankind, and given meaning by the same. Each day is the beginning of a new millennium, a new year. But we hallow New Year's Day if for no other reason (and no other day) than to take stock of our lives and perhaps reorder our priorities.
Many people make a resolution: diet probably being No. 1, get another job, learn a new skill, spend more time with family and friends, take that long awaited trip. The best advice I've heard is to make it something specific: don't just lose weight but set a goal; not just get another job but network, redo the resume, spend some time thinking about what you really want to do; sign up for a class; set aside time every week for family/friends; save for the trip, get vacation time, and buy the tickets.
I once performed a wedding ceremony on December 31 because the bride and groom wanted to start the new year as husband and wife (an ancillary benefit: they could still take the tax deduction for the 364 days that they weren't married). Other people make fresh starts of their own: a journal, an exercise regimen, a new attitude, new sheets on the bed, organize the desk at work or at home, renew an old friendship, repair a broken one, clean out closets, come out of the closet, whatever little prison we've locked ourselves in. It's a time to look at the past, see what hasn't worked and try something new.
Me, I'm going to relax. I don't mean couch-potato-let-the-dust-bunnies-procreate-do-nothing relax. I mean lighten-up-take-my-sticky-fingers-off-the-controls-and-let-go relax, especially as it relates to my vocation and whether or not I'm working. I've spewed a lot of angst on-and-off for the past almost nine years and I can't continue like this.
I came across a quote that shook me out of my warm and cozy navel. It was used in a rather unusual context (the recent Coach Carter movie) in that it's from Marianne Williamson but it works nonetheless:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. ...Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are meant to shine... And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (from A Return to Love, p. 165)
Whatever you do this new year, do it with love and from that place of light within you. Peace be with you in 2006.