“Change the way you see things, and the things you see will change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Let me begin with a Japanese folktale, known as: “The House with 1000 Mirrors.”
Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often." In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."
This simple story profoundly illustrates that our emotions determine our perspective, which in turn influences our worldview. Indeed, perspective is everything and since the year 2020 was such a challenging year that marked us with an emotional scar, it would be good to heed the wisdom of our ancestors as we forge ahead into the new year.
Our modern celebration of New Year’s Day in January, stems from an ancient custom, the feast of the Roman god Janus, who is usually depicted with two faces: one face looked back into the past, and the other peered forward to the future; also known as the god of doors, choices, beginnings and endings. Over the centuries, historic texts have recorded a large number of rituals invented during Wintertime, on the darkest of days, to turn the new year into a prosperous one. In the rituals, they put the past behind and welcomed the new year with hopeful anticipation. They chanted and danced to the stars, prayed to their gods, and lit ceremonial fires, which sent sparks and embers into the sky, to warm the night and to bring forth light. Explosions were added, by means of roasted hollow bamboo, to scare away the demons and to turn misfortune into good fortune. These rituals grew and developed into annual festivities because these festivals worked over, and over, and over again! Indeed, the sun returned, the days lengthened, the crops grew again, and the people thrived. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus stated: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
So, let us face this New Year 2021, just like our ancestors did: full of hope, optimism and creativity, and be the change you wish to see in the world. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!