Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflections on a New Year

[Note: I have made a personal promise to myself to start handwritten journaling again, which I refer to below. This is a transcript of that journal entry.]

Another New Year! I’m beginning this one with no voice. Third day of laryngitis, which is driving me bonkers – though I have discovered that, like singing, if I speak from my diaphragm instead of my throat, I can get a lot more sound out. 

I was feeling better last night, but then we had the world’s worst experience at China Pavilion and I got upset and raised my voice – and soon lost it again.

Lesson: I can’t afford to get stressed anymore. It takes too much of a toll on me mentally, spiritually and now physically. If I have any goal in 2013 it is to take positive steps toward alleviating stress. They may be baby steps, but they have to start somewhere. I must walk before I can run.

It’s hard to start journaling in longhand again. It feels so slow. But slow, I think, is what I need. I hope to maintain this discipline, though if history is any indicator, I won’t. It’s like those fatties who start gung-ho at the gym in January and are back in the candy aisle by February 1.

The New Year is always a time for looking ahead and planning to “change the things we can.” But mostly this New Year, I pray for the wisdom to know the difference.

2012 was a good year until the fourth quarter when it all unraveled. But truly it is a fallacy to try to compartmentalize a full year into one neat package. Each day, each event, has the potential to be good or bad. As my friend Don says, “Thinking makes it so.” And yet, there is such a thing as pure evil, and we have seen that in recent weeks.

In past years, I believe we humans have collectively exercised a certain degree of magical thinking around the New Year – that at the stroke of midnight, the bad stuff of the year gone by would be washed away and the freshness of a New Year’s potential would take its place.

This year, I don’t feel that. Instead, I sense a collective relief that 2012 is over, but only a tentative hope that 2013 will be different.

Were there fewer fireworks last night or was it my imagination? Were there more tears, or was that my assumption? Is there less optimism, or is that my fear?

I have adopted one phrase for the New Year in lieu of my usual list of resolutions, REVolutions or goals. That is to spread peace and to live joy. How those are accomplished is up to each of us.

Happy New Year!