I have this thing about Dec 31st-Jan1st. Maybe it’s memory from my early childhood of going to sleep with my friend among layers of coats while our parents were downstairs (maybe playing cards) “ringing in the new year”. Maybe it’s the remembrance of ham and cabbage and potatoes, what I remember as “the smell of Gramma’s” on New Year’s Day, which I try to replicate as a tip of the hat. Maybe it’s the smell of a new calendar (whether or not I’ve already go events on it). Whatever it is, there is something almost superstitious about my intention (and often actually accomplishing) changing the sheets, cleaning the house, finishing the laundry, tidying my workspace before the stroke of midnight. And being a “deadline” kind of person, it’s usually the last day or two that it happens.
What gets me most is that I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person. What is it about turning a page on a calendar that compels me to act thus?
But it doesn’t feel like superstition; it feels sacred. These idiosyncratic rituals feel like an offering of myself, of gratitude, to the Source of Life. Sometime during those two days, I recite a Jewish prayer that contains the phrase “who has kept us and sustained us in life to experience this time”, not because I feel personally picked out, but in recognition that I am here to bear witness to this moment. That’s not something I was intentionally taught as a child, so I wonder where does it come from?
Is it the human spirit’s need to notice times of transition? Is it a recognition of our smallness but importance in the universe? Acknowledging our/my part in the great cycle of Time Turning? I don’t know. It feels like a ‘thin place’ in time, an opportunity, if I pay attention, to feel extra connected with That Which Is Beyond Our Self. There is something that affirms life, that offers a new start, that is downright grace-full about the ritual of marking the Georgian calendar’s New Year. About turning the page.
How do you face the transitions? What do you do to mark it?
I am ambiguous about the ritual of making resolutions. Do you make them? How is that work for you? Does it keep you accountable, or is a burden abandoned (like most of us) within six weeks? I like idea of making an intention to live in grace and wholeness, so that I can love myself and others who touch my life in a variety of ways. I also hope that I can make it to midnight this year.
So before I run off to go change those sheets, and put up the new calendar, may I wish you Happy New Year, my Friends.