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The Energy of New Beginnings

I like the new year! It’s one of those beginnings that invites excitement. It’s a little odd, because there really isn’t any huge difference between one day and the next. Yet, there is something energetically attractive about ringing out the old and in the new.

For the most part, last year is going down as one of the suckiest years I’ve known. Not that there weren’t plenty of good moments, because there were, but between the virus, politics, racial strife, and the loss of a number of really great people, I’m happy to be looking ahead.

I know some of you are saying, but the virus isn’t over, the racial stuff isn’t over, the divisions in this country aren’t over. How can we celebrate a new beginning? I get that, but those realities don't negate the potential for new beginnings.

I also understand that some endings are much more painful than others, and it’s right that we respect and honor that pain and grieving process.  Sometimes we just aren’t ready to engage the energy of new beginnings because it feels like we’re not honoring someone who’s just died, or the grief is just too new. That’s ok. The energy of new beginnings will be there for you when you are ready, and whoever you’re missing would want you to live the wonder and beauty of this life to its fullest.

For the rest of us, consider this to be a spiritual pep talk! Right now there is an energy about new beginnings that we can tap into that can liven us up, give us hope, and bring a sense of excitement and positivity to our dreary January days.

This energy of new beginnings is also the energy of creation that we hear in Isaiah 65: 

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth! The things of the past will not be remembered or come to mind! Be glad and rejoice forever and ever in what I create, because I now create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight!

This oozes possibility and potential. It calls us to move forward with joy and forgiveness.

It is said that once upon a time a great Zen teacher asked an initiate to sit by a stream until he heard all the water had to teach. After days of bending his mind around the scene, a small monkey happened by, and, in one great bound of joy, splashed about in the stream. The initiate wept and returned to his teacher, who chuckled and said lovingly, “The monkey heard. You just listened.”

The river is the continuing moment of living. This story reminds us that we actually have to get out there and LIVE life! As human beings we have a propensity for analyzing pain without ever feeling it, for studying theology without opening our hearts to the Divine Essence. We can play music and sing songs without feeling the passion in the music. Or, we stand on the sidelines listening to the music but never dancing. We can visit holy places without feeling the sacredness of the place or ever recognizing our own spaces as sacred. Joy is found by jumping into the stream of life and splashing around.

Mark Nepo tells a story about sitting in a screened in porch next to a lake that had used to visit every summer for 20 years. He and his friend were watching it rain, as they had done countless times over the years. Suddenly, like that crazy monkey, his friend jumped up, slapped open the screen door, tore off his clothes and jumped into the lake.

Mark sat there watching, like the apprentice, feeling the pain of always being dry, and then he, too, shed his clothes and jumped into the lake.

A few days ago we all woke up to a beautiful snowfall. If I could order one for Christmas Eve, I’d order one that looked just like that - big, soft, beautiful flakes floating gently to the ground, turning the world into a fairyland. Truly, I would have been happy to sit inside, warm and cozy, mesmerized by the sight. However, with my dog it is impossible to stay in unless the weather is really wicked. So, I put on my warm clothes and we went out into the falling snow. I became the monkey in the stream! Being out in the snow made all the difference and I found my spirits lifted by the beauty, the tranquility and the wet flakes hitting my face. I sang “Let it Snow” and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” the whole way!

How many of you have said to yourself, when I have time I’ll… learn to play piano, read the classics, put all our family movies on DVD, go through things, or whatever.

Well, now is the time! We can stay depressed about COVID and the months ahead before we can really return to life as usual, or we can engage the energy of creation and new beginnings and find ways to do the things we said we’d do when we had time.

Here’s the question to ask ourselves: What do I want to give myself to this year?

Let’s tap into that power of creation, open the door to a myriad of possibilities and see where it can take us!

Love & Light!