Masks and Transitions
In this Issue Fall and Halloween A Thought for Your Practice Death: a New Perspective…
A New Year and Decade are upon us and once again it is time for that lovely tradition, the New Year’s Resolution.
Personally, I do not like making resolutions for a couple of reasons. First, I seem to make too many at one time and it throws my ability to fulfill any of them out-of-whack. Secondly, I would rather make changes as they appear throughout the year; when I quit smoking it was in mid-December and my personal weight loss program has been an on-again-off-again issue for a while.
Instead of resolutions, I prefer to start little projects that go through the year. Last year I started a “Read the Bible in a Year” project, but I only made it through the Major Prophets before I stopped and traded it out for something a little more current, like Paramahansa Yogananda‘s “The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You” (a commentary on the New Testament). Yes, I went back to the prophets and finished the Old Testament, eventually…
I find New Years are far more productive for me if I spend a little time looking over the past year and seeing patterns of behavior or lessons I may have missed. I will re-read my journal entries, my blog entries as well as anything else I have written or said over the year. It never ceases to amaze me what I miss in the moment, but see in review.
Here’s wishing you a Happy and Joyous New Year; may it bring all you could possibly ask for and then some!
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We are SO close to the day-to-day occurrences of our life that it becomes ridiculously easy to miss what is really happening to and around us. We are so “into” the moment it’s like not seeing the forest through the trees.
One of my teachers wrote a metaphorical interpretation of the first verse of the Bhagavad-gita which basically says we should end each day in review and seeing what lessons were put before us, where we succeeded, where we could have done better or something different and sometimes where we outright blew it.
One important thing to remember is that even when we think that we seriously f’ed up some event of the day, do not judge yourself to harshly. It is just a lesson, you may not have passed it but if you learned from the error, you have not wasted anything, it had a purpose.
I recently realized that I have had a recurring theme of journaling in the newsletter and I am going to do this one as well. If a New Year’s Resolution is required, here’s mine; to follow through on this just as I am asking you to, mine is at
So here’s a little homework assignment:
Take whatever form you prefer, a Diary or Journal you have purchased from the local stationers, an extra spiral notebook (I have WAY too many of these), a blogging service and make it as private as you wish or even set up a vlog (video log/blog).
Write/Record/Document at least one thing a day. You can make it as long or short as you want, there is no real right or wrong way to do this.
The idea is just to begin creating a record of your life, what strikes you as interesting (or not), things you thought about or activities you did.
When you have been doing this for a bit, feel free to go through it and re-read your entries, you might even want to create a summary entry of what jumps out at you. Obviously the more you put down, the more material you have to work with.
If you have any particular issues that you want to deal with, feel free to include them as well. I have been on a weight-reduction program for a while and have lost 40 pounds and been pretty consistent at going to the gym three days a week and riding my bike every day. I may stop tracking this on my calendar and make it part of my journaling as well as insights and activities.
There is a reason why several programs use journals to help people deal with their issues; simply if used honestly, they work. Try it…
One of my favorite books of all time, Frank Herbert’s “Dune” has a line that I have always pondered, “A beginning is a very delicate time.” Beginnings may include the creation of first impressions, new thought patterns and/or expressions of self, amongst other possibilities.
When you think about it though, to have a beginning, something else must end. This is the beginning of a new year and decade, an old year and decade have ended.
Often we overly concern ourselves with the ending and forget that every ending also creates a new beginning as well. It’s like the Tarot deck and its card “Death” with a picture of the Grim Reaper, often this card worries people though it usually represents an ending of something, not a physical death.
If the idea of resolutions for new behaviors are too daunting, then use the other side of the coin, do not try to add something new, but remove something old and clear the space for something new to fill that newly created void, see you did create after all.
By the way, not all endings have to stay ended. If you determine that there is some ending you have created that is not really what you wanted, end the ending and restore it. One benefit of living in a world like this one is that we can make decisions, but we can also reverse them.
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
‘Where there is a will there is a way’.’ is an old true saying. He who resolves upon doing a thing, by that very resolution often scales the barriers to it, and secures its achievement.
Tradition is like a great old tree. It usually looks beautiful and serves a purpose, but unto itself, it cannot take you anywhere. So like a tree, use it as a starting point or marker on your journey.