It has been a week since the new year has started. After the fireworks and the food during the holidays, we return again to our routine realities. We may have boring things to do again in our jobs and households, new year still marks an exciting point of transition in our lives. We choose interesting changes in many of our usual ways, breaking the monotony we have always followed. Some of us stick to fulfilling a popular tradition – listing down our new year’s resolution, formalizing the ritual of living out our new decisions. And we embody Janus, the double-headed Roman god of beginnings as symbol not just for this month but of facing our doors with faces of certainty and uncertainty as we step onto the next side of our renewed timeline.
New year is always a significant celebration of new beginnings. There is so much to start with. From new ideas to new ventures, we are given so much opportunity to recreate our lives in fresher ways. We give birth to our new selves, searching and finding our sacred paths, rearing our hearts into growth, and taking a bold step to begin a new journey. New year holds a time-oriented beginning, yet as months pass we continue to prepare ourselves as we anticipate the rituals of beginning among us, our families and friends. Traveling, new career, wedding and pregnancy are some of our joyous and perhaps equally painful moments which all become part of the rituals of our life transformations.
Few of us associate new year with endings. Endings are abhorred for they picture bleak moments such as death, farewell and loss. We anxiously ignore the endings in favor of beginnings, which is more favorable and understandably positive. We consider them as unsolvable problems, built within the very destiny of humanity. We are fated and doomed by how we and the people we love may die one day. We are saddened by goodbyes from our old friends and old worlds. We are devastated by losing the possessions and power we have acquired through sweat and blood. Nobody wants to meet the end. It is always a dreaded taboo in celebrating a moment of beginnings.
We need to end the life of meaninglessness so as to begin finding a life of meaning.
The irony bites us, since this year 2012 is the beginning of waiting for the end of the world. Images of apocalyptic and dystopian world are looming ahead and doomsday sayers announce them with their own vehement claim of accuracy. Films, stories, religious teachings and even scientific research have tried to depict and explain the possibilities of how the world ends, and we are warned to better get ready in ways we can. We have lost in this illusory portrait of our future. We are driven with more fear than excitement of radical change. The end is too terrifying thing to wait for.
But I feel that as we face our new beginnings, we must begin facing our new endings. Not the endings that scare us, but the subtle endings of our life. We begin gratitude as we end sulking about the inequities of life. We begin peace as we end being at war with ourselves. We begin friendship as we end enmity with others. We begin growth as we end holding on to our weaknesses and past misgivings. We begin life as we end death of apathy towards our existence. What could be wrong with endings, if we only see them in such optimistic paradox? Endings ring us moment to moment, telling us to recognize our true beginnings.
Our dear teacher Regina Dee frequently hears people fearfully asking her the same question: “Will the world really end sooner?” And she would always reply, with a glee in her eyes, “Yes, thank God! Definitely, the world really ends…the old world of greed and anger ends. A new world of peace and Love begins.” I believe this is more than just a positive answer to quell anyone’s anxiety. It is a wise answer from a soul who understands the wisdom of new endings. This is the wisdom that enables us to see a butterfly being born from a dying caterpillar. Endings signal beginnings.
This new year 2012 might be the most remarkable year of the millennium. This is the year that challenges us not to start working out our new year’s resolutions, but to return to the loose ends of our deepest intentions. We do not really intend to change our old habits and neither do we intend to develop new ones. These are just surfaces of what our hearts are up to, small actions to make up with the busy lifestyles we have chosen. At the end of each year, we have always wanted greater transformation, something that encapsulates our true meaning and purpose. To survive is not enough reason to live. We need to end the life of meaninglessness so as to begin a life of meaning.
Happy 2012 to all!