We say it once every 365 days.
Happy New Year!
What we forget is what else is true every January 1st.
It’s also Happy New Day!
And Happy New Week!
And Happy New Month!
Four times to thrill at a new start.
Next year, we’ll add a fifth: Happy New Decade!
It wasn’t that long ago that some of us celebrated Happy New Century and tag‐teamed with Happy New Millennium, too.
Why do we make only one of these happy proclamations then repeat it year after year, too? Are we numb to what the words really mean? Or could mean?
Odd questions follow an otherworldly afternoon.
DH and I experienced the profound New Year’s Day Crystal Bowl Meditation at Houston’s Rothko Chapel. Neither words nor a singular photo can ever fully encompass this sacred space.
Multiply the mysticism by imagining people of all ages and types sitting on every bench with others camped on the floor on yoga mats and meditation cushions. Others crowd in quietly, filling the space at insistence to hear soul‐speaking chimes.
Dana Shamas of Bayou Bliss Yoga offered gentle guidance as harmonies rang out from crystal bowls arranged in the chapel’s center. From the chimes came a year’s intention for release, recovery, resilience, and renewal.
An hour later, DH and I emerged to the glory that is Barnett Newman’s incomparable Broken Obelisk. The reflection of Newman’s sculpture in the Rothko’s pool is only part of its charm.
The art honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who, ironically, our nation will honor two weeks from today.
Today also marks the New Year’s Day birth of Irish writer Maria Edgeworth in 1768. Praised by Jane Austen, the British‐born Edgeworth was noted for her ground‐breaking innovation to the novel form. She also issued an ahead‐of‐her‐time clarion call for women’s rights and children’s education plus pithy and comedic social and political observations.
Edgeworth penned the novel Ormond, a title only one letter removed from my already unusual surname.
How did I not know of this woman writer before? She’s so prescient that quotes from her 1795 Letters for Literary Ladies were recycled by 1960‐era feminists in America.
Edgeworth also penned this quote: “If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
Comforting words on this New Year’s Day. A sort of centering prayer.
As are the words of noted American author Neil Gaiman: “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.…I hope you read some fine books…Don’t forget to write…and I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
I’ll merge the wisdom of Edgeworth and Gaiman to craft my own vision for the new year: caring moments in 12 gentle months laced with magical dreams and self‐surprises, topped off with a dollop of healthy madness, all in service of full‐time storytelling and a life fully lived every day.
Four intentions of projects to embody, complete, and present by this time next New Year’s Day.
You heard it here first.
What’s your vision to surprise yourself?