by Judith Lavender Dancer
The new year feels refreshing and a starting over again that we repeat often, not just every year, but there are events and times in our lives that point to a refreshment, a starting over that can be restorative and helpful in modern times of busyness and loosing connection to the Sacred.
I love a good soak and a scrub in the New Year, cleaning off the dead skin and allowing the natural glow to become restored. The scrubbing also awakens part of me that may have forgotten that it feels good to be touched and cared for. One year, Kabuki Hot Tubs was the answer, with hot Japanese noodle soup afterward. Yum.
One year, we gathered up all the rocks we had collected over the years, living just 3 blocks from Ocean Beach at the time, and went down to the beach to release them back into the environment they came from. When we got there, someone or ones had made a reclining 8-10 foot woman out of sand, so we delicately laid the rocks all over her body. The surf came up to her, lapping away at the rocks and carrying them back to sea.
When we are back into our lives, Chinese (or Lunar) New Year sneaks in with a roar of a dragon and special food and celebrations inhabit our fair city. I especially like the red envelopes the elders used to give me with a dollar or two inside, good luck for the new year. My colleague is Chinese and he has two young children, so now I get to give the envelopes to them, which I bought today in Chinatown. The cycle continues...
I was baptized 7 years ago this Easter, so the Lenten journey always feels as if it is a gathering of
energy and intention into such a special time in the church year, the death and resurrection of Christ. The poignancy and weight of Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Day are rejuvenating and so sacred. Yes, another form of new year, rebirth and a recommitment to being Christian in the 21st century.
Spring, Summer and then in the Fall we have the Jewish New Year. I am a September baby, so I feel very connected to the timing of this event for my sisters and brothers, my birth starting a new year, plus respecting and noticing the rituals of others. My birthday has always been important to me and I celebrate it with relish (not the pickled kind, Jack!).
Advent—the start of the liturgical year—has become a magical time for me as I explore the imagery, the story and the symbols of light and dark. I cherished this time and felt a refreshment I have never felt in this season before this year, moving away from the party and shopping frenzy and deepening into the understanding of its sacred meaning.
I know other cultures and religions have their New Years but these are the ones that have affected me. What I notice is I am able to start again in so many ways throughout the calendar year and it gives me an opportunity to rejuvenate (we say re- judith-ate at our house), take stock and begin again. My energy does not need to get stuck (although being stuck might be what I need sometimes, too) but I can be on the journey of newness and deepening into a new understanding of myself and how I can contribute to the world.
What are your New Year points and how do you celebrate and open into the journey of this sacred life? Let’s continue this celebration and opening together.