|Janus, Roman god of beginnings and transitions,
who gives his name to the month of January
So, a new year has begun with all its promise and uncertainty. I do hope 2013 will be a good year for you, but then none of us know what it will hold for us.
Like Janus we may be looking back to the old year, while also looking forward to 2013. I hope you can look back with satisfaction on what you have achieved last year and are not filled with regret. If you do have regrets, perhaps you can do something to put them right, either by doing this year what you regret not doing last year, or by making amends for things you wish you hadn't said or done. If neither is possible, then it is important to forgive yourself for your human failings and learn the lessons from your mistakes that will help you do better this year. Things like regret and guilt are good when they alert us to what might be wrong, but once we've put things right or gone past the point where we can put things right, we must move on. All we can hope for after that is to do things better next time
Equally we could approach this new year cautiously, afraid of what it might bring, or we can embrace it with joy and the thought of a new beginning and all that might entail.
Being generous has to start with ourselves. We need to have self-respect and be able to have compassion for ourselves if we want to be able to respect and have compassion for others. Sometimes life doesn't deal us what we want and then it will help to learn to accept our situation, but if we each want to be the best person each of us can be, then it will help us if we can make our lives as close to the way we want them to be as is possible.
What do you wish for in 2013? However impossible your dream, ask yourself what is the first step to making it come true? If we are to be generous to others we need a certain amount of fulfilment and joy in our lives otherwise we risk becoming filled with fear and resentment. In fact learning to love ourselves, to enjoy life and above all to be true to ourselves, our hopes, our dreams and the principles we hold dear is a good way to become more generous to others. If we are fearful of new experiences we are likely to be fearful of new and different people. If we don't think we deserve to enjoy life we are likely to be resentful of others' enjoyment.
Each human being is a wonderful creature, including you. Every person deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion, including you, and the best person to practise on is yourself. So, have respect for the person you are and think of all that you have going for you, including your health, your ability to walk, all the things you can do with your hands, you skills in sport or sewing, writing or woodwork. Never mind if you aren't the world's best singer or a great footballer, think of all the things you can do. Learn to value what you can do even if it isn't 'sexy' or likely to earn you a lot of money. Everyone is useful to someone. Think of what you do for others and what they would do if you didn't do those things. Perhaps someone else could do them, but would they care in the way you do, would they have your warmth or your smile? You are unique and no one else can give the world exactly what you do.
So getting back to those hopes and dreams you have, you see you do deserve that they come true as much as anyone else does. Rather than make a New Year's resolution why not decide to start the year right and take the first step to being the new you and to making your dream come true?
Amongst other things I'm hoping to grow more and better vegetables this year. We didn't quite get around to sowing and planting everything we had planned and then the weather didn't help everything to flourish. I can't do much about the weather, but I can try to get fitter so that I have more energy for all that gardening involves. Now I know that I still have to keep an eye on my iron levels I'm hoping that I will have the energy to walk more and be more active so that I can lose some weight and get fitter this year as I didn't make much progress with that last year.
What would you like to achieve, and what steps towards doing that can you take in 2013?
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." - The Buddha