Transition from one year to the next is something we all notice, whether because we want to and intentionally seek to, or because we're bombarded with messages about it.
True for every transition: The energy with which we approach it creates the experience and the result.
It's a morning of December 31st and my mind is scanning my world to see what I need to get done, accomplish, complete, clean, plan and list by the end of the day in order to ensure a proper start to the New Year.
The pressure to perform and do things right as the year draws to an end can be intense, but I've done this to myself for years.
It wasn't always that way.
Growing up in Soviet Russia, days leading up to the New Year (pardon me - months!), were all about the festivities of the night.
An old superstition tells Russian people that "the way you welcome the New Year is the way you will spend it", and folks go all out - financially, energetically, emotionally.
We collect precious gourmet foods and drinks, choose best outfits, plan the biggest parties, invite the best guests. As a kid I remember shopping and cooking for weeks leading up to the day, cleaning the house for days, and then spending the entire December 31st in personal beautification and house decoration to present our best, with the TV humming old country's favorites and phone calls to and from friends and relatives in different time zones to wish each other a Happy New Year.
All my years in Russia it was a day filled with high energy and buzz of excitement and anticipation. All conflicts were put aside, all was forgiven, the best was brought forth and promised for the year to come.
We didn't set goals for the year ahead, either.
Instead, we prayed and hoped and trusted. New Year was an invitation to a renewal of hope that all will be well, that things will get better. The newness of the year ahead meant that all is possible and so we collectively released the old hurts and disappointment, forgave what transpired and with an open heart moved into the new calendar, trusting that change from one digit to the next will bring about fulfillment of our dreams and wishes.
We had the strongest faith in the power of letting go and its ability to bring about positive change.
And it did.
As we released the old, the lens through which we saw the world and each other cleared. We once again saw the beauty of our surroundings, abundance of our lives, and the gifts of our however hard circumstances.
With renewed commitment to release and let go, we noticed what we had instead of what was missing. Our blessings instead of our curses. Our abundance instead of our lack. This energy of renewal carried the whole country for days and weeks with strengthened relationships, renewed commitment to positivity, open hearts and minds.
And yes, the harsh reality did eventually hit - life in Soviet Russia and for years after its fall wasn't easy for most of the country. But the refreshed willingness to look for the best in ourselves, each other and the world would soften the blows considerably. And when we would find ourselves bugged down by life again, we would look toward Spring - renewal in Nature, then toward Summer - recharge and rejuvenation, and finally toward the next New Year - an opportunity to release and let go once again.
Growing up, New Year was never a time to get harsh with ourselves. It wasn't a time for tough love and commitments, To Do lists and ambitious goals.
And today I still choose to spend my New Year releasing the old and making room for the new.
Happy New Year!!