I've never really been into New Year's resolutions. To me, the energy this time of year is still too quiet, too dormant to get me motivated to make big life changes. I tend to make my resolutions around Spring Equinox instead (which happens to be the old European agricultural New Year) - when the seasons are growing and "springing" and I feel inspired to get moving.
So what do I do in January? I pick a Saying of the Year.
I know, it sounds dopey. But it works for me at this contemplative time of year, and then it keeps going all year long to help me find deeper meaning in life.
I started this practice ages ago and it has been quietly, subtly life-changing. To be honest, I've never been very good at the sort of sit-down-every-day-in-silence kind of meditation. I'm a walking meditation kind of person. And my Saying of the Year is a long-term walking meditation, in a sense.
How it works: Each year as the holidays approach, I put out the intention to receive the upcoming year's saying. It can be practically anything: a well-known proverb, a snippet of song lyrics, a quote I've read somewhere. Whatever it is, by the first of January it will have stuck in my head and made itself known (except for that one year when I asked my readers to help me choose).
Then I let it do its thing for a whole year. Sometimes I sit quietly and contemplate its meaning. Sometimes it pops up in conversation or in a TV show I'm watching. Inevitably, it helps me see life in new and different ways, a deeper and broader view.
Over the years I've had a wide variety of sayings. The first one was "All life is one life." The one my readers chose for me was "Wherever you go, there you are," which turned out to be pretty profound in spite of how trite it sounds.
This year's saying popped into my head a few days ago and I haven't been able to shake it: Peace be with you.
What a very appropriate thought to focus on for the next twelve months, considering what the world looks like right now. So I'll be walking with this saying, and sitting with it, and contemplating it. I'll enter into and find out what peace feels like, what it really is, what it means to wish it for others. I'm sure I'll be surprised at all the angles I find, all the experiences I have. And as always, I'll be thankful I went to the effort.
Will you choose a saying to contemplate for the upcoming year?
Peace be with you.
In the name of the bee,
And of the butterfly,
And of the breeze, amen.