another new year . . .

by mulberryshoots

low tide . . .

low tide . . .

Isn’t the concept of a new year refreshing? especially in our American society which celebrates second chances and a makeover culture?

Every twelve months, we get to make (or think we can make) a new start. That’s where resolutions come in. Or just taking  the luxury of a few moments to take stock, look around and to wonder if life is what we want out of it.

I like doing it, truth be told, because for a little while, I visualize that my life could be different in ways if only it were under my control. That’s the folly of it all, though, because mostly the things that make me sad are not under my control, like other people’s behaviors or attitudes.

Of course, there’s the old adage that it’s how we respond and react to those things outside of our control that mediates how miserable we choose to be as life putters along for another year. Knowing this, however, doesn’t stop me from typing for about five minutes the things that I would change about my own attitudes, habits and behaviors for the coming year: forty of them, in fact. Many had to do with NOT doing rather than doing:

– not eating sugar, not shopping for food unless having finished what’s available in the house, not responding to certain repetitive situations that make me unhappy, not nagging people, not worrying, not buying to make up for the potholes in life that appear along the way, not being with or thinking about people who treated me badly, and so on.

On a more positive note, here are some of the things that I would do more of:

-practice the piano and learn pieces I have always wanted to play (Bach, Scarlatti, Schubert, Rachmaninoff), read a lot all the time including Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch” and having finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things”, experiment with meals like an Asian breakfast of brown basmati rice, an egg on top and seasoned seaweed along with a large teabowl of steaming lemon-ginger herbal tea, take care of my canary, continue to grow poinsettias from year to year so that they branch out and look like a mini-tree like the one from last year on the kitchen table. Put everything away and if there’s no space for it, give it away, drive the car sparingly and be careful going up and down the stairs. Live simpler with less extravagance of thought, bearing and activity.

2014 also includes the Chinese Lunar Year of the Horse which begins on January 31st. And guess what Chinese Zodiac sign I was born under? It will be interesting to see how these almost parallel years will unfold.

January 1, 2014: This Zen saying came into view today, an apt one for the first day of a new year:  “when you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”