|Welcome to the New Year!
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?"
New Year's day is also held as a threshold day and the actions we take, the vows we pledge, resonate through the year ahead.
Customs of cooking up luck-filled dishes are practised the world over to draw luck and prosperity through one year into another. In
America, black-eyed peas are traditionally the first food to be eaten on New Year's Day to draw luck and prosperity into the year ahead.
In Russia it is a customary Champlain toast. First a wish is written on a small piece of paper. The paper is then placed in a fire-safe
dish and burned to ash. The ashes are mixed into the Champlain and the mixture swallowed with a toast to encouraging the wish to
manifest in the coming year. In Mexico there is a tradition to pour lentils, beans, rice, cornmeal, and flour over a white candle before
dusting it with cinnamon. The candle is then lit and allowed to burn out. The next morning the waxy mixture is peeled from the plate
and buried to ensure food is on the table in the year ahead. For the Turks it is the pomegranate that represents good luck for the
coming year. In Asia it is customary to eat long noodles, signify longevity. To the Dutch, it is donuts that bring good fortune as the
ring-shaped food symbolize going full circle. The German and Polish serve up pork and sauerkraut. While Italians cook up a traditional
New Year's dish called cotechino con lenticchie, or pork sausage served over lentils to draw good luck and prosperity into the coming
year. They also welcome the New Year by tossing old things out of their windows in an effort to make room for the new to enter.
Create your own good luck custom
This practice of drawing luck forward does not have to revolve around a particular dish, although at my house we always start the year
off with a pot of black-eyed peas, this action can be almost anything as long as it is accompanied by wishes to do better, to be better,
thereby inspiring a person to reach out to the greater good in the Universe and forge a connection. Make your life sacred by
incorporating a little spirituality into your daily life. Embrace a daily ritual. It is through ritual we come to the something more that
waits in the small moments of our lives. Keep an alter, light a morning candle, or whisper a morning prayer. These are simple way we
can incorporate ritual into the fabric our lives. Start your day with a short meditation. The small act of silently focusing on your breath
as you visualize what you want to accomplish during the day is a simple morning ritual fueled with the power to pull your awareness
from the mundane and shift it to the sacred. It is through these small daily rituals we are able to recalibrate our energy and connect
with the Divine.
Embrace a new you
New Year's day holds the energy of the threshold making it an auspicious time to renew and remake your life into the life you desire.
What is it you secretly call yourself? Are you a dancer, painter, writer, actress, cook? Make today a Me day and invest in your passion.
It is time to become the person you truly are. Today's energy is favorable for positive life change. Next time you have a free hour,
instead blinking at a glowing screen, do what you love! Aspire to be whatever it is you call yourself. Are you a writer, a gardener, a
quilter or a cook? Then get creative! Embrace your passion as you do whatever it is that you love to do. Allow the act of creation to
transform your life from dull to inspired. Don't get mired in the concept, just begin where you are. If you have a garden, go dig in the
dirt, weed, and deadhead and be mindful as the experience washes through you, reconnecting you to nature and a way of life that is
ancient and rich. If you are a painter, spend some time in study as you plot out a new project. Allow yourself to hear the whispered
inspirations of Divinity as your muse comes to life.
The art of creation, of delving into an artistic endeavor connects us to our Divine spark, the god within us, the inner voice that is our
direct link to the vast well that is: knowledge, wisdom, love and inner peace. By engaging in the creation process, we not only connect
with all that is, but we shift from a passive existence to an active one providing a true experience that allows satisfaction at the
completion of something created, something formed, a goal attained. It is in this completion we find fulfillment and our lives once
again gain meaning.
Claim the day
So it's your day off. How are you going to spend it? Are you going to waste it on errands and TV programming or are you going to do
something fun? When was the last time you went to the beach/forest/lake/dessert? What do tourists do when they come to your city?
Why not check out a tourist guide and spend the day exploring your community? It is in these moments that new memories are
created, that wonder is found and joy is reclaimed: the walk to the park with your child, the family trip to the beach, the mindful hike
down the forest path with your dog, an afternoon hunt through the flea market with your best friend. There are new experiences waiting
all around you: new places to discover, new events to attend, dishes to taste, new people to meet. Make the most of it by being open,
being present, being mindful as you savor the experience. There is a multitude of new experiences waiting to be discovered. It's up to
you to slip the routine and savor your life.
Greet the year by immersing yourself in nature
When was the last time you immersed yourself in nature and forged a connection with the natural world? When was the last morning
you greeted the day? When we align with the cosmic tides we become grounded in the turning of the seasons and are able to recognize
and understand our role in the workings of the Universe. Energy abounds in nature. Stepping outside acts as a catalyst to open ones
senses allowing the spirit to experience joy and gratitude as it opens a portal and allows contact with the something so much bigger.
There is a reason the pagan, the druid, the witch venerates nature. There is also a reason why these ancient nature-based systems of
worship still persist. One merely has to step outdoors to make a connection. Don't believe me? Step outside. Let your spirit quiet. Hug
a tree. Open to its gentle grounding energy. Sit with your back to its trunk and meditate. Try it. Just unplug and go outside. Find a
comfortable place and sit. Quiet your mind and allow yourself to come awake to the moment. Move your thoughts to what you can see,
to what you can smell, and to what you hear. Notice the creatures sharing the space. Marvel at the beauty all around you. Let your well
of inner peace fill.
Nature holds a sacred restorative power. All we have to do to access it is to go outdoor, tune in and acknowledge the connection. Start
by going outside on a daily basis. By taking time out to tune in to nature, you will begin to notice and attune to natural patterns,
cycles, and changes. As you begin to spend time in nature you will gain insight and feel a connectedness. This year make it a priority
to forge a connection with the natural world. When we align with the cosmic tides we become grounded in the turning of the seasons
and are able to recognize and understand our role in the workings of the Universe. When was the last time you walked your block?
Unplug and go outside. Come awake to the present moment. Move your thoughts to what you can see, to what you can smell, and to
what you hear. Notice the creatures sharing the space. Marvel at the beauty all around you.
Live in the present
There is no moment in your life more important than the moment you are experiencing. If you allow yourself to be distracted, or let
your life become too busy, you will miss it all together. There will always be a million different things going on, the trick is to focus on
where you are in the moment, rather than worrying about what will be happening later or what was done earlier. When you focus on
what’s happening around are you, giving your attention to the people you are with and the things you are doing, you will find a
satisfaction. Don't let the hurry and worry of life take the magic out of your existence. We as a nation have forgotten the art of
conscious living. Unplug and take a conscious breath. This is your life you are missing. Put down that cell phone when you are out on
your walk. Be present in the here and now, and stop multitasking! If you are eating, then push away that paper, book, phone and take
a conscious bite. Be present and enjoy the flavor and texture of your food. Allow yourself to revel in the rich taste, to savor the
decadent scent. Give your spouse your full attention during your conversations and be there in that moment when you send your child
off for school or play. When we shift our awareness back to the things that matter, it honors and allows them to regain their
importance in our lives and makes a way for the magical moments to exist, the moments that make life worth living.
You can have the life you want. You can be the person you aspire to be. Use the auspicious energy today to make a pledge and then
take action to make it happen. Let the energy of the New Year bolster your spirit and aid your journey.
And a New Year Begins...
It has long been held that threshold of New Year's eve is an auspicious time to renew and
remake your life into the life you desire. It is on this eve that we toast as the clock strikes
midnight, each pledging to be better. We pledge to exercise, to eat right, to spend more quality
time with those we love….The clock strikes twelve and we cheer. We turn from the old, each of
us desiring to shrug off our bad habits and transform ourselves as we look ahead with hope.