Reflections on a new year

With all the pre-holiday busy-ness and the subsequent actual holiday even busy-er-ness, it’s no wonder we can all lose sight of the opportunity for reflection available at this time of the year.  For one thing, the winter is a natural time for introspection.  The darkness of the winter solstice lends itself perfectly to curling up with one’s thoughts, dreams, and reflections.  It connects us with the stars and the cycles of the night sky – we see so much more of them in winter if we choose to venture outdoors.   And venturing outdoors is what turns winter from a season of hibernation to a season of witnessing and dreaming.

I have a January 6 birthday, so the new year is the beginning of my year as well.  A dear friend once turned me on to the question of “What do I want this year to be about?” as a way to create a vision for the upcoming full year cycle.  That’s a practice I’ve maintained for over a decade and although the question evolves over time, the sentiment remains the same:  what do I want to create?  for myself?  my family? my community?  the world?

Sometimes my answers are myopic and self-focussed, other years I am able to broaden my view.  Since my son was born I’ve gone through a process of feeling like my world was very small in the first years (very much about him, or just about our family) to being increasingly able to include community and the bigger picture.  I don’t think I’m at the breadth yet that I can just begin to sense on the horizon.  I know one day I’ll dream bigger again, but I don’t yet know what that will look like.  For now, the quality of my days and what I’m able to contribute to those whose circles touch mine, that is my practice.

The one new thing that’s come into my mind these past days of the new year is positive attitude.  I know it sounds simplistic.  To me too.  But there is power in simplicity.  For me positive attitude means being kinder, assuming the best intent, having time to be helpful, having time to connect, being willing to work through some struggle or challenge and believe in myself and the universe along the way.  I could absolutely make this year about that.  A practice of positive attitude could be a lifetime practice that would never be completed.  Just the kind of big dream I like.