In the waning moments of the calendar, I feel like I ought to write pithy, witty, essential words that encapsulate the year that’s been and launch good vibes for the year ahead. And then I remember that social pressures and sentimentality around this time are constructed by humans.
We get drawn into these things. Time can be a useful construct, as can words. They provide common understanding and language for communication.
When we get too lost within our use of these tools, when we build identities and emotional relationships to these basic architectures of human life and forget why they exist, we feel socially compelled to behave in alignment with the egoic flows around us.
We end up clutching at the moments, the sands of time, as they gasp their final breaths and slip through the bottleneck, only to wake up tomorrow to a new hourglass for the year ahead. Just as we do with every “sunrise” (an oddly human-centric term and perspective, don’t you think, to orient the sun around our personal geography?).
In actuality, nothing is different. There is nothing to falsely, reactively clutch at, feel remorse or FOMO for (fear of missing out), or set resolutions against any differently than the opportunities we have with every 24-hour rotation of the earth on its axis.
We become too invested in these man-made and especially social constructs. We allow ourselves to be manipulated into behaving as if they are real, as if they hold us rather than the other way around. They are illusions we have empowered, in fact thoughtlessly give over our agency to.
The calendar we follow is Gregorian. It is one of many that exist and have existed. It is not in sync with the natural rhythms of the cosmos, including with us as beings within the cosmos.
These are heady, abstract concepts. I woke up to these thoughts this morning, not for the first time, and found it was easy to get lost in the ocean of thoughts around them. I am not alone in such reflections, though in the thoughtful minority, I’m certain.
Celebration is worthy, in general. Celebrating the transition from one orbit of our planet into the next could be a wonderful, beautiful, ceremonial awareness we share by recognizing our relationship to the vast natural existence of all that is. Collectively, it’s not what we do.
We miss the mark with our small, egoic, exclusive, human-centric perceptions and socializations around this idea (and many others). We miss the opportunity to recognize deeper truths and connections between us all. Intentions matter.
Staying up until midnight, watching the ball drop in Times Square, feeling social pressures to do something, to make memories we’ll forget in the haze of substances, to do or be more in whatever ways … Context matters.
Today, tomorrow and beyond, a practice I want to continue is gratitude for spiritual connection with the indescribable, inspiring cosmos that brings all its beings together.
That is what I want to celebrate every day: the practices of consciousness, gratitude and oneness with the natural flow that exists beyond our egoic comprehension.
These things supersede our small-minded, human-centric constructs. The constructs are of value, as tools in our hands. The practice then also entails recognizing what is the tool, and how and when to best apply it, to not let it and the popular misuse of it control us.
Poet Philip James Bailey offered this in the early 19th century: “We live in deeds, not years, in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial. We must count time by heart-throbs.”