Let’s say you fell asleep on September 2nd and when you woke up the next morning, discovered it was September 14th. How would your addled brain make sense of this revelation? The aftermath of a particularly wild party? Spontaneous recovery from a 12-day coma? TARDIS-like time travel?
It really happened. Nighty-night on September 2nd followed to rise and shine the next morning, now September 14th, took place throughout the British Empire (back when it included the American colonies) in 1752 in order to make the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.
I think their ignoring Pope Gregory XIII’s 1592 decree for 170 years would have made Henry the VIII proud.
I also think that our celebration of the start of the year a few weeks into winter in the northern hemisphere because of an over 400 year old decree is, in the greater scheme of things like, oh, natural science, kind of arbitrary.
Still, my contrarian ways don’t mean I’m not celebrating the New Year when the clock strikes twelve on December 31st.
I love the relaxed feeling of this holiday week, and I truly love the celebrations. Reflection. Vision board. Intention-setting. Food, drink, music, and company on hand to toast the new year. I’m keeping them all in my New Years plan this year.
Here’s what I’m dropping: the thought that it’s imperative to greet January 1st with big audacious year-long plans and that worry that if those plans fizzle by mid-month, the whole year is shot.
This year I’m following the first track. And every right-feeling one that follows.
Which is huge for someone who, upon landing a teaching job in mid-August one year, was nearly incapacitated by the thought every single lesson plan for the whole year had to be complete before school started. And who has pretty much lived in hyper planning mode ever since.
In a world of such rapid change and massive, chaotic disruption, big, long-range plans become folly even as following first tracks becomes essential. Here’s the follow the first track alternative:
- Start with continuous, calm presence that allows you to easily notice what’s happening all around you without judgment or freak-out.
- Cultivate and refine your clarity regarding your values, strengths, and priorities.
- Allow your presence and clarity to support the courage you need to follow those first tracks.
My wish for you is that you get to celebrate the New Year in whatever way you choose. Big party. Small gathering. Intentional alone time. Bayberry candles. Gulping down grapes. Day-long parades.
And that you celebrate every day by noticing and following the first tracks.
May we all spend 2020 cultivating softly-focused presence, becoming clearer and clearer about our values, strengths, and priorities, and tapping into the courage to follow the first track and every subsequent first track toward ever more ease and joy for ourselves, our communities, and the world we share.
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