It’s almost February, but remember December? What a busy month! Busy and energizing, but also deeply restorative. It crackles with the energy of so many opposites brought close together: Darkness and light, cold and warmth, festivity and reflection. So many moments that speak about contrasts in life defining and deepening each other. And it’s not just about contrasts in the same moment, but the contrasts of new and old perspectives on the patterns of our lives.
For instance, some of us are grandparents, and know the special mingling of memories and new impressions that becomes a story of its own when you recall your own childhood, your own children's childhood, and seeing your children become parents themselves. The joy of it feels impossibly similar, but it’s all somehow changed, too.
Now, this is a meditation about New Years that invokes Christmas, and is shared with you nearly in February. I realized that they’re all related when I thought about how unsung this time of year is. I believe this is when the most rigorous personal development work happens. Once the holidays are over, and no longer pulling us merrily toward the finish line of the year, we realize that it’s up to us. Once again we must push ourselves through winter. And we always do!
The short days remind us of both how little and how much can be done in a day. The challenge of it revives our senses so we can make the most of the low winter light and find the diffuse beauty of the weak, early sunsets. We use the long nights to make our plans because we know it takes directed long-term effort to have our lives in ship-shape by our personal and external deadlines. The trip around the sun is a great distance traveled, but it’s only when we’re stuck inside during these months that the seasons give us the cue to take advantage of the fact that so much of what matters is entirely up to us. We make the most of winter and don’t rush toward for spring because we are subject to the calendar, but the hours of each day are ours to make the most of.
I hope your 2015 so far is full of giving and sharing and chances to remember who matters most to you and why. I hope you’re coming to familiar crossroads with totally fresh, transformative perspectives. I hope your new year is informed by all the lessons of the past and free from all its restrictions. I hope you make the most of all the winters in your life.