Today marks the beginning of the year Two Thousand Thirteen.
Two Thousand Thir-TEEN?
Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were all partying like it was 1999?
I swear, there’s an impatient mad scientist stationed somewhere out in space who has flicked the rotation of the Earth into double-time.
Some people are undoubtedly happy that 2012 is over. Others today may find themselves lamenting the end of what may have turned out to be the best year of their lives.
Yet, here we all find ourselves again. Back at the beginning. Back at Zero.
“HAPPY NEW YEAR”, we call out to each other, filled with enthusiasm at the unlimited prospects that the new year holds.
I’ve been thinking about that salutation: “HAPPY NEW YEAR”. Happy New YEAR? A whole YEAR? Of HAPPINESS? I don’t know if I could handle it. Think about it. That’s a really big deal to have a whole, happy, new YEAR; especially, when my experience with happiness over my whole lifetime has been fleeting at best.
Sometime over the past several years, I abandoned the idea that happiness ought to be the main aspiration of my life – or, of anyone’s life. It seemed too lofty. Unattainable. Unrealistic. Immature, even. And because I stopped believing that “happiness” was supposed to be my final destination, I have opened myself up to more happiness than ever before.
For me, being happy is about being able to meet whatever life brings with an equanimous spirit, instead of waxing and waning along with whatever external or internal circumstances I may find myself in. Sometimes I succeed at this. Sometimes I fail. But, I find that the practice of equanimity builds upon whatever that thing is that I now call “happiness”.
A couple weeks ago, I texted to my 13 year-old nephew, “How was your day at school?” He texted back, “I had a same old, same old day at school.” I texted back (in my usual longhand), “Life is sometimes like that. It’s a good thing you have a brilliant and creative mind to liven it up.” I didn’t have the heart to tell the kid that life can bring excruciatingly-extended periods of predictable, unexciting, unfulfilling routine.
So I don’t want a “HAPPY” New Year. ‘Cause if I set myself up for a HAPPY new year, I will most certainly be disappointed. I want an EQUANIMOUS New Year. Since I’m not concentrating on happiness as my goal, it frequently shows up – all by itself – as a by-product of all that equanimity.
While I can’t say that this year will bring you happiness, I might venture to guarantee this: within Two Thousand Thirteen, you will experience joy, sadness, anxiety, peace, heartbreak, success, failure, difficulties, ease and anything and everything else in-between.
Therefore, my friends, I wish you an Equanimous New Year. I wish you the knowing that you have everything inside of you – right now – to meet each and every circumstance life will bring to you. My wish is that you meet it all fully. Resist none of it. Embrace all of it.
I, myself, have found that all of this is easiest if we simply Show Up, Open Our Hearts and Trust; then, Surrender to all the endless opportunities we’re given to expand our lives, to learn about ourselves and others, to use and share our gifts and to be of service.
And, if along the way, you find yourself immersed in a moment of happiness, then, my fellow travelers, I share in that happiness with you.