The Bigger Picture

Depending on How You See a Thing

The Helix Nebula,

New Year’s Resolutions, 2017, and Beyond

I don’t do resolutions. I gave up the practice a long time ago. Maybe it’s just me, but by the time February rolls around, I’m too consumed with surviving the public shame of not having a proper Valentine to remember a promise to improve some aspect of my behavior that I made after three glasses of champagne on New Year’s Eve. I can’t recall exactly when I tossed the promise to lose weight long. It doesn’t really matter as I’ve kinda become accustomed to my new cherub-bod. It’s growing on me. Literally.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat; But No Do-Overs

Our collective journey around the Sun is both cyclical and linear. We travel through the cycles of minutes transitioning to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, months to years, and it starts all over again … you get the picture.

But at the same time, our journey is also linear in that we are all moving forward through time; like it or not, with no do-overs. Despite the lure of Marty McFly’s adventures in Doc Brown’s DeLorean turned into a time machine, no one’s going back in time in the near future.

Our individual journeys are shaped by the specific incidents we encounter, and memories of those events are formed by how we interpret those events. Take Christmas, for instance. In the December edition of Writers to Follow, seventeen writers told of their encounters with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. No two stories were similar in tone or content. Granted the topic was broad, but the point is that the same point of reference can mean completely different things to different people. Even twins raised in the same household often have divergent recollections of the same events.

Objects in the Rearview Mirror

When many of us look back at 2017, we bemoan the year. The low points—global, national, and personal—crowd our mind’s rearview mirror. And that’s understandable as negative events tend to cause more emotional upheaval than the good.

But when we quiet our minds, events of another kind come to fore: moments that brought encouragement, beauty, accomplishment, laughter, and contentment. When I take the time, memories of a relatively new friend (who shall go unnamed as I don’t want to blow up his spot) going out of his way and unknowingly fulfilling a secret desire of my heart with what he thought was a simple gesture. I think of those many times when people have blessed me with the gift of sharing themselves with me; like the writer who filled my cup to overflowing with many lessons in the fine art of fiction writing. Moments of expressed happiness when I’ve been of service to others complete the picture.

Depending on How You See a Thing

When you look at it, every year is similar to its predecessor in that they’re all riddled with lows and highs, tragedies and triumphs, large and small. But what truly makes each one different is—

  1. the lens through which you choose to view them
  2. the lessons you choose to take with you
    To me, the only time that’s wasted is that in which you can’t find meaning.

I’ve always liked this ditty by Deee-Lite, not only is it easy to dance to, the simple lyrics are quite profound.

Depending on you see a thing
The ship is free, or is it sinking?
Depending on how you see it
You cage your mind, or you free it.
Depending on how you see the times
The world divides or it closely binds

So Getting Back to the Future…

What will you take with you into 2018? The loss or the love? Someone’s deliberate decision to reject you due to their misconception or someone’s conscious decision to accept you as you are without precondition? Exclusion or inclusion?

I am in no way advocating wearing rose colored glasses, but I’m all about celebrating the moments of joy and holding them deep within your heart. What I’m proposing is finding the meaning and lessons in life’s angsty, deeply painful moments and moving forward in gratitude for them. You don’t have to figure it all out now. Glean what you can and keep moving forward. As my grandparents used to say, eat the fish and spit out the bones.

As for me, I’m choosing to enter 2018 not only with a sense of gratitude for 2017 (even the dumpster-fire parts, because in time a lot of good will grow from that steaming pile of excrement), but with expectations for copious manifestations of hope, love, joy, and peace in my life and the lives of others.

Happy new year!

Love one another.