The wheel of the year goes round and round, round and round… Looking out at the emerging leaves and watching the song birds gather bits and pieces for their nests it is with some amazement that I have to realize that it is already May. Spring always seems like it ought to be the beginning of everything. What is the first day of the year really?
If you are Irish you might choose Samhain, the descent into darkness that happens after the last harvest in October. Persian? Why Naruz marks the “New” year at the Spring Equinox. Vietnamese? Korean? Chinese? The Lunar New year marks the spot, from a spot that changes year to year, on a particular full moon somewhere in January or February. I am guessing that there are yet more from around the world that I know nothing of. Of course the arbitrary gregorian calandar that dominates the world sets January 1st as the all important day, a cap end to the holiday season. A season which by the way used to extend until January 6th.
Acknowledging January 1st as New Year’s Day, while certainly having a lot of weight behind it, is quite lacking in providing time for a focused consideration of your life amongst all the hoopla. There are no rituals associated with this secular version to guide you within to seek clarity, and yet we are expected to spit out a New Years resolution by the end of it. Resolutions which mostly serve as a tool to hate on yourself.
I have always been partial to my birthday. Of using it as a time of both reflection and celebration. Once cancer enters the scene it offers up an assortment of possible turning point anniversaries. Really any transformative event can become an anchor day- a date we measure from, started in that moment when things changed and everything became different. The place we have drawn a line between before and after. The death of a loved one, a near death experience, a natural disaster, a child’s birth. Any date can become a personal New Year’s Day of sorts if we have experienced something on it that took us into the liminal space of the sacred time out of time.
We feel these sorts of days as they approach. The veil is still thinned for us on these meaningful anniversaries. Sometimes our animal body self remembers before we do consciously, a certain tension, or a string of dreams. As my birthday approaches, and my major cancering holidays slip out of the spotlight for a while, I look forward to some reflection. This is a time of year that is not too colored by anniversaries of deaths of my beloveds, which is ironic as I was born so near Memorial Day. Regardless most of my significant losses happened in the fall and winter. So for a brief window I will try to savor the sweetness, and reimagine the world with the most benevolent possibilities stretching out before me
We arrive at each moment just as we are, with the opportunity to winnow away that which no longer serves us. Not because how we are right now is not okay, not in the spirit of a January resolutions, rather as a sort of uncovering of our hidden shining essence. To honor a personal new year, new day, or new moment is to be fully present. It offers a chance to more fully unfurl the blossom that is our deeper self.
Today my whole household of lovely boys are all out living life to the fullest elsewhere, which has left me alone with the chance to take a bit of time out of time. Today I have been able to recalibrate, and prepare for my personal new year which is coming up at the end of the month. I feel so very much calmer and more centered than I have been in the recent too busy weeks. My weekend decent into feeling really blue is lifting, and I am being blessed with some small amount of clarity about how to attend to the care and feeding of myself in more compassionate ways.
The beauty of the year as a big spinning wheel is that you can really start from anywhere when you need a restart. Maybe it is the ways in which my memory has been altered, but I am noticing that I really do need to catch up with myself from time to time. To take stock and get clear is no longer available to me on the fly. I am hoping that these coming weeks I will be able to hold space with blocks of time in which to really explore creatively and more deeply contemplate things. Time to integrate all that has come and gone in the past year, so I can move forward more freely. It seems possible today in this quiet house, with happy cats and the growls of broody chickens wafting in the open windows.
Happy New Year!