I have always felt that having a December birthday right around the time of Christmas prevents me from fully appreciating either celebration. However, New Year’s is another holiday that is near my birthday (12/15), which I have come to appreciate its proximity. Whereas birthdays represent the beginning of a New Year of an individual’s life, New Year’s is a time of collective continuing in our journeys as individuals in our interconnected web of existence.
Over the last few years, I have begun taking very seriously the phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions. Growing up, I half-heartedly believed in the pseudo-obligatory but truly superficial purpose of New Year’s resolutions. The resolutions usually lasted a couple of weeks and then life returned to business as usual. I have been reflecting on what it would be like if New Year’s resolutions were more than just empty promises, but full hearted affirmations, proclamations of our innermost dreams for ourselves and the world.
Just as the path to world peace begins with inner peace, perhaps individual New Year’s resolutions are pieces of global resolutions towards universal transformation and wholeness. When thought of this way, I can’t help to think of the hundreds of millions of people who are starting another journey this year, with new and old resolutions, and feel connected to them.
I wonder whether our resolutions and our destinies along these journeys are interconnected. Or perhaps even more intriguing is questioning whether or not these resolutions are interdependent upon one another. Are resolutions in the individual sense predicated upon their existence in relationship to a wider, global understanding of New Year’s resolutions?
Regardless, the idea of resolutions has sprouted in me a newfound curiosity about their spiritual aspects. Not just about their potential interconnectedness and interdependence, but about how resolution is achieved in the first place (or last). Losing 20 pounds, reading more, getting a promotion…are these resolved after the scale flashes the right numbers or the last period is reached in another novel?
Or are resolutions timeless, continuous, ever unfolding, refolding, and unfolding again? I think of resolutions as opportunities to evaluate one’s life and to dream of what this New Year could bring.
Resolutions could even be thought of as collective prayers whispered throughout the world, where maybe there is no intercession from higher powers, but there is hope that resolution is possible, someway, somehow. If this is the case, if we are presently in a moment of interreligious, multicultural prayer of new beginnings for new resolutions, of a world yet to come, yet to be co-created, then my resolution is that we continue to dream and make this world a reality.
Yes, I would like to drop a few pounds and eat better, but I also know of a world that I am confident is not found solely in my dreams, but prayed for by hundreds of millions of people. This is a world where gun violence is no more, where love is a legal right not a privilege, and where people work together amidst diversity to create foundations where peace and justice can be pillars of strength in society.
This is not a dream, but a realization manifesting with each passing year. Thankfully, every year, if we have come up a little short, which is in our nature, we have another opportunity to collectively recommit and continue on our journeys of making this New Year, another year worthy of living.
Image courtesy of WikiMedia.