The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions. If you have seen depictions of him, you know he had two faces that looked both backward and forward. Thus, the transition month of the year bears his name.
Most of us look forward to this time and wonder what the new year will bring. Whether your personal year last year was easy or difficult (or, more likely, a mix of the two), the new year usually brings with it renewed hope and fresh energy. Like Janus, we can benefit from looking both backward and forward at this time of new beginning.
At all times, life contains many possibilities: falling in love, accidents, illness, winning the lottery, happening upon old friends, making new ones, or healing old wounds. We have control over some of these but not over others. Looking backward to look forward can help handle each new event that life brings to the best of our ability. Looking forward helps -- to focus on where we want to be and what we want to do, instead of getting tangled in the problems of the past. Looking backward is an opportunity to learn from the past, but only in terms of what we can do in the future. When I look back and review, I can see mistakes I made; but that is only useful if I
consider how to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Looking back, I can see ways in which I triumphed; seeing that motivates me to do more in the future. "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" may have been overused, but it is still true.
What are you beginning today? What new energy will you bring into your life? What will this new year be about for you? How will you use the gift of a new year? This coming year is a most precious gift, and once it's gone, none of us will ever see it again. How did you use last year's gift of time? Are you proud and pleased? Good! Use that energy to begin another year to be proud of.
Are you grateful for many gifts and much help from your Higher Source? The best way to show your gratitude is to take the help and make the most of it. Are you discouraged and despondent? Now is your chance to wipe the slate clean and begin anew -- seek help if you don't know where to start. Anything can be healed or turned around, even if it’s just because you adjust your attitude.
Most of us will feel a mixture of these reactions to the past year, and a corresponding mix of anticipation and worry about the new. Give yourself a New Year's gift: spend a few hours in contemplation of what has gone before, what you would like to keep going, and what you would like to change. My New Year's gift to you is the following exercise, intended to help you take charge of yourself and your year from the beginning, and to help you take advantage of the renewal of energy that is possible now. You can do this alone or with friends, whichever feels better to you. You can make it as elaborate or simple as you wish. I’ve made this as non-denominational as I can, but feel free to modify it to suit your own faith.
New Year’s Meditation