It’s tradition that on New Year’s Day we contemplate what we want to be different in the coming year. We reflect on the past – its victories and defeats – and plan for a future full of abundance and peace.
Like most of you, I love this tradition. It is important to have aspirations, and it helps to learn from past mistakes, especially when we can mindfully reflect and not beat ourselves up for not being perfect.
New Year’s Day is a chance to begin again. But what we so often forget in our hectic lives is that every moment, every second, is a chance to begin again.
Because New Year’s Day comes just once in 365 days we view it as precious, and most of us write off the idea that any other day – say March 13 or August 24 – has the same potential for self-reflection. The same potential to help us begin again.
And what about minutes? There are 525,600 of them in a year. Break it down to seconds – we have 31,622,400 of these in any given year – this is 32 million chances to resolve to be whatever or however we choose to be in a single year. Imagine if we took each of these seconds and resolved to be at peace! Heck, even twelve times a year could be a victory for most of us.
So what I am realizing is that New Year’s Day – in relation to the year as a whole – gives us a macro view of what happens on the meditation cushion:
We start with an intention or aspiration for our “sit” (this is like the “New Year’s Day” of our 30/45 minute practice) and then tiny particles of time arise and fade away like the other days of the year. Each one is an opportunity to begin again -a chance to simply be right here right now. If we are awake and present, we can be in that moment without all the baggage from our past – without all the hopes and fears of the future – with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
This teaches us to be at peace with whatever is happening. We find equanimity.
Some of us spend so much effort on New Year’s Day reflecting and planning that we forget to be present to the day itself. I invite you to spend at least a portion of your New Year’s day in mindful awareness. Look out your window and see the light reflecting on the trees and grass. Feel the breath in your body.
Let go of the past, take break from planning for the future. Give yourself permission to enjoy this moment.
Happy New Year, Happy New Moment.
Heather Stang, M.A. is the author ofMindfulness & Grief and the Frederick Meditation Center founder. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner. She has led mindfulness-based grief workshops for organizations such as the National Fallen Firefighters Association and Hospice of Frederick County, and is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Heather’s mission is to help people who are grieving to stay healthy and benefit from the transformative experience of grief, using mindfulness-based practices, relaxation, and expressive arts. She has an established practice offering Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions, day-long retreats, and 8 Week Yoga for Grief groups. She is based in Maryland. You can find her on Google +
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