“Honor to the earth,” the abbot said, “honor to the dead in the passing of the year; honor to the living, in the coming of the new. A Great Year passes tonight. A new one begins. Let the good that is old continue and let the rest perish….”
~ C.J. Cherryh, Fortress of Owls
It is a new year and there must be something that I want to say about it. In this post, I already disclosed that my word for 2014 is ‘courage,’ and believe me, there is much to say about that in future posts. A Facebook friend posted a quote about the New Year written by Neil Gaiman. Initially, I thought it perfect, but still I hesitated to use it in this post. Lest there be any misunderstanding, I love the quote. In fact, here it is:
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some find books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful. And don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or create or sing or live as only you can. And, I hope somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself.
As you can see for yourself, it is an inspiring and uplifting quote. I particularly like the first sentence, especially the reference to ‘good madness.’ Generally, one thinks of madness as a negative or undesirable state of being; such as, “That woman is mad,” which is a less offensive way of saying, “That woman has lost her f***ing mind!” When I think of the phrase ‘good madness,’ I think of one taking affirmative steps to let go, have fun, engage in raucous laughter, and to live fully and happily.
I suppose that I should add that in my mind, all New Year wishes and offerings are, in actuality, blessings pure and simple. When one blesses you, as the Oxford dictionary confirms, they may intend to invoke “a prayer asking for God’s favor or protection.” On the other hand, the word ‘blessing’ is also defined as “a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being….” A sincere well-wisher is expressing in mere words, a gift of his or her’s desire that you experience the very best that life has to offer.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Much like the phrase “good madness,” “making mistakes” is a call to action. The opposite of action is inaction and although it ensures a lack of risk and, I suppose one can argue, a sense of security, it does not allow for growth or the opportunity to engage in our lives. Personally, I think that it offers a lifeless and boring existence, lacking happiness or excitement.
Life provides us a series of choices and decisions. Which path do I choose? Which job do I take? Is this the man or woman of my dreams? Don’t search for certainty where there is none to be found. There is no certainty in any decision that we make. In fact, there is a 50/50 chance that the choice that you make is right, and an equal chance that it is a big, fat mistake. Such is life.
The answer is not to shield ourselves from our ‘mistakes’ by refusing to act. The very act of choosing is life affirming, and it is a fact of life that some of our choices will be mistakes. The thing is that mistakes are the stuff of life that, if responded to properly, offer opportunities for growth and inner wisdom. They offer life lessons that certainty will never offer. It takes courage to act in the face of uncertainty. Just do it and prepare for a rich and exciting New Year filled with abundant blessings. I’ll toast to that!
All will be well. ~St. Julian of Norwich