Saturday, 31 December 2011

Visions of yesterday, today and tomorrow

From Paul J. Balles:

Have you chilled your bubbly for the New Year's toast? Thought about resolutions you want to make, and will probably break?

Before getting carried away with tomorrow and what can make the New Year a happy one, give a few moments to the year only hours from passing.

Twenty two years ago Taylor Addison wrote in Blue Mountain Arts, “Time for New Beginnings”: 

"This is a time for reflection as well as celebration.  As you look back on the past year and all that has taken place in your life,

Remember each experience for the good that has come of it and for the knowledge you have gained.

Remember the efforts you have made and the goals you have reached.

Remember the love you have shared and the happiness you have brought.

Remember the laughter, the joy, the hard work, and the tears.

And as you reflect on the past year, also be thinking of the new one to come. Because most importantly, this is a time of new beginnings and the celebration of life."

In his reflections, Addison includes only general reference to the things many of us have focused on—but not specifically on the violence of protests, the death and destruction of wars, the hardships of failing economies and natural disasters, and the injustices of occupations.

These should not be forgotten as we look back, but they should be put into the perspective of what can be gained from reporting and commenting on the bad news.

If your vision of the past has been to recollect the ills, now is the time to reflect on the gains, the achievements, the satisfactions, the learning and the happiness brought by the struggles endured to improve someone’s thinking or behaviour. 

We're only hugs away from making and sharing our wishes for a Happy New Year. A timely anecdote for the event is this “Recipe for a Happy New Year”:

Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancour and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness.

In short, see that these months are freed from all the past—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time.

Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.

Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavour of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing—don’t do it), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution.

Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humour.

That's about as good as recipes get.

In closing, William Arthur Ward’s poem “A New Year” merits some thought:

Another fresh new year is here--
     Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
     To love and laugh and give!

This bright New Year is given me
     To live each day with zest--
To daily grow and try to be
     My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
     Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
     And sing more joyful songs!

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