The New Year brings with it a right of passage, symbolizing a fresh start. I have mixed feelings during this time of year. Christmas brings a time of reflection, with the realization that another year in our lives has passed. We take a mental inventory, whether it be conscious or not, which is why many find this time of year disconcerting.
Will we focus on what we didn’t do this year? Will we find that our bank account doesn’t live up to our expectations? Will we spend what we don’t have to fulfill that unspoken duty that comes with the holiday season?
This season is fraught with expectations that can make us feel less than. Much of these expectations were brought about by the industrial revolution that picked up momentum in selling the commodity of Christmas. The message is that the more we spend, the more we are honoring the tradition of the season. Guilt, loneliness, depression, and envy sit beside joy, gratefulness, giving, love and belonging.
With these contradictory emotions bombarding our senses, it can be confusing to sort out what we really feel in the frenzy of this time that is filled with so many expectations.
When we express our sorrow for not being able to give as much as we would like, our friends or family echo the words that we have heard so many times before.
“Christmas is not about getting presents. It’s about family and appreciating the things that you can’t buy.” Yet we internalize the message of the media.
“ Buy, buy, buy.”
It’s a confusing time, no doubt. But we have the New Year to sort it out and try to make sense of it all and prioritize our values. That’s why we have those New Years Resolutions that we rarely keep. But even so, they are important. It is an exercise in looking within to find some clarity from the confusion and frenzy of the season.
It’s always a bit of a let down, when the excitement is over and we don’t have that next specially named day in our radar.
Well, when I’m feeling that let down and the pangs of doubt that come from not being successful enough, intelligent enough, or having as much as my neighbor as I measure the passing year, I know its time to have a heart-to-heart talk with myself. We are what we perceive ourselves to be. We may as well make ourselves someone we can enjoy.
I have a favorite quote that helps me adjust my attitude and remind me to look at things with a new eye. The new year is a great time to pull out this little grain of wisdom and reflect.
“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present – love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure – the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.”
Which garden will you choose to tend in the New Year?
About the author
Kathy Coulston is an author, artist, and entrepreneur, with 15 years experience in corporate marketing communications and graphic design. Her writing works include helpful articles and tutorials, personal life stories of humorous evolution, and business collateral content.