Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ringing out the old year....

New Years....

Of course tradition says that New Year's Eve is supposed to be this grand event -- a predictor of the entire year to come in fact.

Bah humbug.

Or, in honor of my mother, (bull) shit.

Like all other holidays nowadays, it's a manufactured thing that just puts a lot of stress and strain on the time, in this case, the end of the year....

Certainly New Year's is a good excuse to reflect back upon the year that just passed. To acknowledge our mistakes during the year, and focus on what lessons we can learn from them. To celebrate our accomplishments from the year, and focus on what lessons we can learn from them.

For many people, all of this is summed up with making "New Year's Resolutions". Capitalized of course because some people really do think of this as some grand concept. Unfortunately though, since most people who do resolutions do not put the required time and thought into their actual resolutions, it's not a grand concept at all.

The most important thing for all of us to understand is that we do not control and can barely impact "external" factors -- we can only control and impact "internal" factors. And even then, our actual influence upon these internal factors is considered rather tiny.

My acupuncturist recently told me that in Chinese medicine, they believe that we only control perhaps  5 percent of ourselves. We are simply not in touch with the other 95 percent. That means there is a LOT out of our control...

That also means that any New Year's Resolutions hoping to control this 95 percent, no matter how well intentioned, are bound to fail. But, what does this mean?

Does it mean to not make resolutions? No. Not in the least. It just means to focus on things that are a bit more in our control. Such as we cannot even hope to "be happy" -- but we can hope to focus on being a better person, and in so doing, find ourselves a happier person.

Indeed, that is the point: so many times our desired end results are achieved through what may seem like circuitous routes. We cannot just make ourselves happy -- but we can focus on making small changes within ourselves that ultimately make ourselves happy, and our lives better.

We can also focus on what is truly important, not what may seem important in the moment. For example, ourselves, our friends, our loved ones.

It is a lesson that was certainly emphasized to me tonight. I was absolutely ready to feel sorry for myself since I was spending New Year's eve alone, in front of the television. Instead, several friends from across the country decided we could all spend New Year's Eve together via Skype. So I did not spend the night alone at all -- I spent it with dear friends, feeling loved and cherished, and offering the same in return. Exactly how one should ring in the New Year -- exactly the sort of predictor of the new year that one should hope to achieve.

So, as the new year begins, remember to offer thanks and love to those who made the past year bearable. To those who were in the foxhole next to you, and who loved you not just despite your worst moments but even because of them, to those who offer equal and mutual friendship....

And say "buh bye" to 2011, and hello to a year filled with possibility.....

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