Each of us have choices to make about our lives and New Years Eve Day is as good of time as any to make them.
Today we can ask ourselves the ultimate question: To what will we devote our life in this very short span of time that we have in this world? What will captivate us, be the focus of our life's energy, be what we care most about in the world. In short -- what will we worship?
I use the term 'worship' because we worship that which we value, that which holds the highest place in the pantheon of our lives. New Years Eve allows us yet another opportunity to focus on our lives and make sure we are 'worshiping' the things we really want to be worshiping.
Much of what we worship is, as we all know, not worthy of our time. We succumb to the desire for luxury that is out of our reach, or the perfect body, that will never be ours, or the status of power and intelligence that is fleeting and fraudulent. We can be aware of these unworthy objects of devotion while still spending far too much time bowing down at their altars.
Yet we can replace these false idols. The decision of what is worthy of devotion, and actually devoting ourselves to it, is ours to make this New Year's and every day of our lives.
So, what will I worship in 2014 -- to what will I pay my attention and how generous will I be with my attention to those things that really matter?
I would start with my Christian faith. I love my faith, but too many times I am on auto-pilot -- not truly devoting myself to exploring the deep mysteries of who God is, what Jesus' teachings and life mean to me, and exploring the profound spiritual wonders of my faith and the caring for my spiritual well being. Sitting more in prayer and meditation will always be time well spent as it will open new avenues for experiencing this beautiful world.
I want to truly acknowledge how much I relish every moment in my relationship to my partner, my family and friends. I've lived long enough to know how easy it is to take the people we love for granted and to wish we had done more to let them know how valuable they are to us. The empty spaces at our dinner table at the holidays remind me that I cannot count on 'next year' to be as loving as I can possibly be to those around me.
Being of service was a big part of my younger life as I would volunteer in various agencies, but now I feel like I am so busy that I don't have time and try to make up for it by giving money to causes. This separation from those in need is actually crippling my sense of compassion, and I need to be giving of both my time and treasure.
Today I want to fuel my sense of oneness with the natural world and a commitment to its wellbeing. Some of my deepest moments of awareness of being alive and a part of this great universe have happened when I get out of my head and take time to really be aware of the beauty of nature. This might seem hard in NYC but actually there is life teaming in every park, and even in trees along the sidewalk. Taking time to recognize my kinship with the ant walking up the stem of a blade of grass would go a long way in providing perspective for this life and my place in it.
This year I would like to be more courageous in speaking out on injustice. I often worry that people might not like me if I am forthright on issues of justice that are important to me. However, I don't have much time on this earth and I would like to be remembered for being courageous in standing with those who are in need, than being 'liked' for who I am not.
I want to be more present to what is happening right here and now. Using my senses of smell, touch, sight, hearing, taste and that sense that is ineffable but that guides my soul. I want to present to the people, places and things that surround me and not off into the a future fantasy or in some regretted past. I want to find the beauty and gratitude in this, here, now.
May 2014, and even December 31, 2013 be the time when all of us devote ourselves more fully to that which is truly worthy of this amazing, beautiful, complex and wondrous life that each of us is living.