I tend to get pretty romantic about the start of a new year (among many other things) and all the promise and potential for change that is embodied within it. But I’m feeling that this year is particularly different. This year carries much more excitement and heart and soul, and I get the sense this might be a sentiment shared by many others as well.
A new year, much like other holidays, provides an opportunity to honor traditions and rituals, no matter the scope. Around 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2013, after listening to Michael Meade speak for a bit at the Portland Art Museum, I was fortunate to receive a new year’s kiss from a stranger after toasting my glass of champagne with the fellow spiritual beings having a human experience around me. When I awoke the next morning, I opened the front door and brought in a small sack of coins I had hidden under the doormat the night before. For lunch, I enjoyed black-eyed peas with collard greens and cornbread with friends.
I have been toasting the new year with champagne for a few years now. And I would like to say I’ve had a new year’s kiss every year of my adult life, but the truth is that I haven’t, although I really appreciate that instant infusion of affection and gratitude in my evening. I first learned of the coins-under-the-doormat tradition in the seventh grade from my friend and her family, but only started it on my own in the last 5 or 6 years. And I just learned today that it is suggested you leave three black-eyed peas uneaten on your plate- one each to signify luck, fortune, and romance. But what are we really recognizing with each of these small traditions or rituals (or superstitions, depending on how you view them)?
I think the root lies at celebrating the notion that a small shift in action could result in tremendously magnificent outcomes. Oops, that was a typo…it should actually read, “Celebrating the notion that small shifts in action result in tremendously magnificent outcomes.” The annual cycle of the earth orbiting the sun inspires resolutions and almost universal intentions of goodwill, good fortune, health and well-being. What if we were to transpose that onto the daily cycle of the earth’s rotation about its axis? Or shifting our thoughts, actions, and/or resolutions with each new hour or even each new moment? Because ultimately, each of these- a new moment, a new hour, a new day, a new year- represents a fresh opportunity to do things differently, to do things better.