Happy New Year . . . two weeks late. And right on time.
My thoughts this new year are all about what isn’t. A new year isn’t.
It’s a figment of our collective imagination. A construct. We created calendars and new years to organize our time and activities, to help us identify and sort.
And sometimes, the idea of starting fresh is enticing and exciting. It’s like the pull of a blank page, inviting words.
Other times, starting over can be an enormous burden. This is the case when facing repeated mistakes. Or making New Year’s resolutions we can’t seem to keep. Or re-starting a novel or book or creative work that didn’t meet our expectations.
I used to be unable to keep a journal. I would tear out the pages in frustration, endlessly starting over. I had to scratch out the past, have a blank, clean start, find square one. (My video “Journaling as a Creative and Spiritual Practice” tells more.)
If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions and feel them crumbling already, know this: there is no such thing as a new start. And it is not needed.
Your life is one seamless, beautiful moment, from birth to last breath. Think about it: did you experience a blank screen between December 31, 2015 at 11:59 and midnight on January 1, 2016?
It’s simply your critical mind (“Dr. Codger,” I call it), that relies on tools, calendars, and timelines, in order to assist you. But you are not being assisted if that critical mind is hounding you, over and over, about what you haven’t done within a certain time frame.
Get this: you are right on time. Everything is happening just as it is supposed to. You can keep every page in your journal, even the ones with mistakes. You can accept, too, the imperfectly painted canvas and the broken resolution.
And so we learn from our mistakes, and tell stories about them. Next Saturday, January 23, I’ll be joined by three beautiful storytellers as well as the stunning art of Erin Leichty. “Fumbling Forward, Personal Stories of Awkward Grace,” happens 5 pm at Waterstone Gallery, with myself, Carisa Miller, Sage Cohen, Gypsy Martin, and Susan Domagalski Fleming.
Come and be reminded that you are exactly where you belong, here and now.