NEW YEARS DAY!
Although it is simply symbolic, and in fact, kind of arbitrary to begin a new calendar year on January 1st (the Jewish New Year will be on September 4 in 2013, the Chinese New Year will be February 10, 2013), it is nonetheless for many a pause on our collective doings that I appreciate.
I like to reflect, to take stock, to reset my intentions on certain days. That is really the only use I have for holidays anymore. I detest the commercialism and the pressure to perform obligatory acts on most holidays, but New Years Day doesn't have those elements so much. Today is a day when many people let out a collective sigh.
Fresh starts are important, because while habits are relatively easy to develop, they are very hard to break.
Habits become habits when we take a belief or belief system and suppress it out of our conscious mind and then begin to act automatically according to those now hidden beliefs. Once done, we believe in the power of the "Wizard of Oz" until we have the temerity to draw the curtain back. Problem is, the Wizard, installed during childhood, is looked to for solutions to what seem to be intractable dilemmas in our lives - like why we can't find love with the right person, or fulfillment in our work-life, or sustained pleasure and vitality in our bodies - so we develop fear of challenging "the great and powerful Oz." Yet, ironically, it is our belief in the wizard's power that perpetuates our difficulties.
So, we need help.
Enter the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. The Scarecrow teaches us that our true intelligence doesn't come from our brain, but from a higher, undefined place where wisdom resides, a place we usually discover after the "stuffing" has been knocked out of us. The Tin Man teaches us that love derives not from acts of perfunctory kindness - "having a heart" - but from freeing up our ability to cry and feel sadness and loss. (Without that ability, we do truly become "rusty" and unable to move.) And the Lion teaches us that courage comes not from being fearless but from facing our fears. Like Dorothy on her path to rediscover her way "home" (to her true self), we need the guidance of others, even though we are the only ones who can actually decide to take the journey.
On this day, the first not only of a new year, but of a new era, I am mindful of the many guides I have had, and of the major turning points in my life that those guides influenced. Therapists, teachers and spiritual facilitators, yes, those whose active and specific direction was immensely invaluable to the traveling show known as "My Life," but also friends, lovers, family members, and my own patients and students, whose lives were shared with me in trust and openness and love. Guides all.
Check out New Year's Day posts from the FPL past HERE.