The Case for New Year's Resolutions
It’s inevitable, it’s January 1st, our friends and family are circled around a table, and somebody perks up to ask “so what are your New Year’s Resolutions?” Some people will eagerly talk about how they’re going to get healthy, get back to the gym, eat better, and try to have more balance in their life. But there’s always one or two people at the table who will roll their eyes and say they don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions because “if you want to improve your life, you shouldn’t wait for the new year, you should just do it all year” and “what’s the point of doing resolutions if you’re just going to revert back to old habits come February.”
If this is you, my dear eye-roller, I feel you, and you’re not wrong. We should take advantage of every moment and we should look at each day as an opportunity for change. Nevertheless, there is something to be said about using this time of year to reflect, let go, and look forward to what’s ahead with a revived perspective.
Since the dawn of human culture, we have looked at the observable characteristics of each season and place symbolic emphasis on it. Spring is a time for cleaning, rebirth, and planting. Summer is a time for playing, adventuring, and passion. Autumn is the time for gathering, harvest, and preparation. Winter is the time for stillness, reflection, and hibernation.
Today, many cultures still believe in the wisdom of living in harmony with the cycles of nature and time. Many earth-based spiritualities refer to this way of living as living in accordance with the Wheel of the Year. The sages of ancient Asian culture and Taoism live in accordance with the relative balance of yin and yang through the seasons, and use these energetics to guide their lifestyle into balance and harmony. Even the Abrahamic religions, to some extent, align their festivals with seasonal symbolisms.
This time of year, we observe the closing of one chapter and the start of a new chapter. In nature, we see many things go dormant. The trees have shed their leaves and stand bare across the land. Animals have gone into relative states of hibernation, living off the gathered harvest of the fall. However, nature is ever in a state of dynamic motion; even though the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, it also represents the turning point in which the light begins to return. So, as we bid farewell to old energy, we welcome new energy, new opportunity, and new life. Earth-based spiritualities celebrate this time as Yule - a time for celebrating darkness by releasing negativity - thought patterns, beliefs, pain, disease, trauma, memories, even relationships. But they also celebrate Yule as a time for welcoming the returning light.
Abrahamic Religions also have similar themes at this time of year. Despite the fact that Christian Theology estimates Christ’s birth to be in the spring, it is this time of year that his birth is celebrated - a dark night that gave birth to new light. This is also the time of year (albeit a little over a month ago) that Islam celebrates the birth of the Prophet Muhammed, a celebration called Mawlid. Channukah is also a time for celebrating the light that persevered through the darkness resulting in the rededication of their temple.
Regardless of your spiritual practices, this is a time for deep reflection in the darkness and deciding how you want to shine your light. This is a time for release and forgiveness…and alternatively a time for manifestation, for empowerment, and for breathing new energy into your life. It is a time to give gratitude to darkness, remembering that seeds are planted and rooted in darkness. It is the time to light your creative fire and even start over if that’s what you need. There is power in symbolism if you choose to embrace it.
So, I invite each of you to do this little exercise sometime between now and the New Year. It’s a two-part process, and will probably take about 30min. Use this time as an opportunity for some quality time alone, or with a few close loved ones.
That's all for today, my friends. I truly wish you the Happiest of Holidays and wish for you an abundance of light. Until next year
May you find peace in the darkness and life in the light. In the silence find rest, and may all the days that flow be abundantly blessed.