We seem to be balanced on a precipice – one year is nearly over and another is about to begin. We have weathered storms, politics, health and financial issues. As individuals, we grapple with the world around us as we struggle to maintain a physical and emotional balance within ourselves.
January is nearly here. January 1st marks a date of many “re” words: review, renew, regenerate, realign, rebalance, recharge, reflect, reset and, of course, the inevitable – resolve i.e. those blasted, ubiquitous New Year’s Resolutions.
JANUS and HISTORY
Janus is the god of beginnings and endings, of transitions and of time itself. The two-faced head of Janus often crowns doors and gates with one face looking back and the other looking forward. Is this not what we are doing at this time of year: looking back over the year that has just passed and looking forward to the year ahead? An interesting aspect of the Janus head that I recently observed is that each face is the same. One is not looking forward with furrowed brow or looking back frantically as if to say “where has the time gone?” Both faces consider what has gone before and what lies ahead with equivalent composure.
I don’t know about you, but I am a firm believer in history. Yes, there is history to be revered, individuals to be honored. There is history made up of dates and wars. There is history made vibrant by inventions and discoveries. The history that intrigues me begins with the development of cultures and communities. What benefits us immediately, however, is our own personal history.
Within the context of the spiral theory of history in which history repeats itself and what came around once will sure do so again, we can look to our own personal history to see what lessons we have learned and what we might do differently. After all, as somebody once said (it is usually attributed to Einstein) “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Within the context of fitness and training, history provides important information of one’s progress. Dedicated efforts result in diminished limitations and increased capabilities. Weakness develops into strengths, skills are acquired and goals are either scored or reached.
Best of all, there is a history of immediate feedback related to one’s dedication, one’s efforts. Become sedentary and our body and health will bottom out. Continue our efforts to exercise, fuel appropriately, live healthfully, and train for our sport or activity of choice and we see positive results over time. We can look back on interaction with others, the evolution of like-minded individuals enjoying the benefits of community. Bodies and minds are enhanced. Enthusiasm is nourished. Energy multiplies.
Confidence, born of experience, gives us a powerful tool upon which to rely.
History allows us to dream, to formulate achievable goals, to make a bucket-list and then to stretch ourselves in pursuit of what we identify as important to us.
There’s something lovely about a brand new year, one that is, as of January 1st, unspoiled, untarnished. Like a beautiful journal open to the first page, the first of many such blank pages waiting for our words to create something new and personal, the new year hints tenuously of promise.
We have passed the shortest day of the year and are now making our way towards tiny increments of light each day. What will we do with that light? Must life go on day after day as it is or can we mix it up a bit, let that about which we are curious guide us to discoveries and experiences large or small, but all pieces of the puzzle that make us who we are – perhaps not a complete picture but a work in progress.
This quote rolled into my inbox this morning: “Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.” (Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B.)
May you look back on 2016 and glean from your memories and observations that which will be useful to you as you transition, like Janus, into 2017. And may you, as a friend generously wished me, “Reach for the stars. Celebrate the starlight within.” Happy New Year. Happy 2017.
Linda Freeman 12-26-2016