Beautiful, blessed end of 2013 and welcoming to 2014!
Let's talk a bit about the new year coming.
You know that there are many different times which are considered the start of the New Year, from different religions and cultures. We have a calendar we use that makes the New Year start tomorrow on January 1st. But there is no special requirement for the new year to start at any particular date or time of the year. It is true that there is an annual cycle as our planet orbits around the sun, so it makes sense to acknowledge another cycle. But circles have no starting place. We simply need to pick one.
But once we do pick one and give significance and honor to it then it is empowered by that. It really is empowered. The New Year celebration can be so useful and a great tool for us.
A new start. In the Jewish tradition the New Year starts with a call to assess the past year and then set goals for the next. This is a useful approach. Take a look at what you intended and hoped to accomplish this past year (I hope regular meditation was part of that). Some things you did accomplish; some only got started; some you abandoned; some you just didn't get to. And there were things that happened that you never intended.. some great and inspiring, some quite challenging. There were people you wanted to be close to or better your relationship with. How did that go? How far did you get toward accomplishing the goals you set?
It is worth reviewing these things. You see how much you accomplished... which was a lot. Sure there are many things that you did not complete. Make note, but mostly, at this moment look at all that you did accomplish. Take some time for acknowledgment and appreciation.
Then you can look at what you didn't get done. As you look now, some of it will be important and you will want to include it in the goals you set for this New Year. Some you can just let go of.
Let's consider goals. Swami Satyananda explained that we need to set goals. Otherwise we don't go anywhere at all. Goals give us direction and help us move forward. But he explained that, even though the goal is worth working toward, it is important to realize that being on the path is what shapes our life, not attainment of any particular goal. In fact, when we reach a goal we don't stop, but instead create new goals and continue on our path.
Again, in the Jewish tradition there is a wonderful thing that takes place at the New Year time. We are released from all of the vows we made in the past. We get to start fresh. Sometimes we promise to do something and then find that either we are unable to do it or that it doesn't seem important or appropriate any more. But we promised, and it is right to keep our promises. So, each year we are released from these personal vows. These are really the vows we have made to our self and God. The New Year gives us a fresh start. Let go of the past. What do you want to do now?
Swami Satchidananda, my Gurudev, would encourage us to aim big as we started these new years. It may feel good to complete a goal, but how long does that last? Unless we aim big our goals won't help to draw out our strengths and gifts. Aiming big will, and that remains whether the goal is attained or not.
When you set goals, mean it. Make a commitment. Work at it. Keep it before you. Aim for it and work for it. Stay on course. All the teachers tell us that writing down our goals is important. Writing them down helps us state them clearly, and then as we read them again and again to help keep us working at it. And holding it in our mind is part of how things take shape for us.
Goals can be about your spiritual walk, about relationship, about stability, wealth and generosity, about health, about taking time to play and relax, about absolutely any and everything in your life.
Of course, there is a big push to have your New Year's resolutions all done by midnight tonight, but that really is not as important as taking an honest look at your self, what you have been up to and what you really would like to accomplish during this next trip around our sun.
When we do things together we create a group energy that supports everyone participating. We are helping each other. There are a lot of folks playing this game together now. Join in if you'd like.
May this be a year of joy, love, growth, bounty, generosity, service, awe, community, connection, peace and love for you.