The New Year has arrived quite abruptly, yet again, but the striking thing is the time leading up to it. This week of expectation; the week before we start a New Year, is liminal time – a time in-between what was and what is to come. The word liminal comes from the Latin word limen meaning threshold. The air is heavy with expectation and an almost hushed silence prompts us to reflect upon the year in retrospect, while we plan and invest our hopes in the coming year. Then we embark upon a new year and find ourselves being challenged to carry these things with us through to the end of the year.
As human beings, our basic concern is being alive. In the midst of running frantically on this giant hamster wheel called Life, we are single-mindedly fighting to keep up with life’s demands. The problem is that in the midst of trying to keep up, it is so easy to not only fall into a trap of being in a mad rush to complete life and achieve various goals, but especially, to allow these things to redefine ourselves and what we stand for – I am no longer defined by who I am, but by what I do or by what I have accomplished.
Allowing ourselves time to pause could possibly lead us to being able to fill the spaces between our frantic activity with moments of self-appreciation and self-celebration. But until then, we are at risk of suffering from a condition where we are only concerned with our fear of dying without having accomplished everything that we have set out to do, while not fully understanding ourselves or grasping the things that truly matter to us; things that make us feel alive and make us grateful to be alive.
Time is the only commodity in life that cannot be replenished. Once it is gone, it is truly gone and there is nothing that we can do about it. It is in these moments of beginning a New Year, that we are reminded that every squandered moment is time that will be forever lost to us. We all have moments of not knowing. Times when stillness can become paralysis, and movement can become chaotic drivenness. Finding our way in those times has something to do with faith.
Faith is about the ground we stand on in every present moment, regardless of changing conditions; no matter what hopes or evolving beliefs have our attention today. Faith is the thing in us that chooses life with every breath, even when we have lost hope or feel our beliefs have failed us. Faith is our connection to life. Our business is to keep a place at the centre of our being, to know and provide that which cultivates our felt connection to life; the people, places and practices that help us say ‘yes’ to the gift of this day. Faith motivates us to create pockets of stillness in-between times of frenetic activity.
We often mistakenly interpret our deepest longing as being for something less essential and more transitory. Our faith encourages us to trust our longing. If we connect with it, it will guide us in our lives and allow us to offer who we are to the world. When we lose touch with our souls’ longing, we lose our way. We stop dreaming. We start surviving and eventually we are ambivalent about even that. Until we reach a point where, if someone asks us what we really want, we may not be able to tell them.
As we put our New Year’s celebrations behind us and return to the business of completing tasks and meeting deadlines, may we take the time to be fully present to right here, right now in this very moment…and remind ourselves that our lives have been choreographed for joy.
Happy New Here (and Now)!!