Faith seeking understanding #026: Seeking a contemplative, countercultural new year

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash.

Happy New Year! I sincerely hope that your new year is off to a good start, that you are in a good place mentally at least and have some hope for the coming year.

New Year’s Day always finds me in a funny place. I am somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of another year gone by and the opening of 365 days of promise that stretch before me like a blank canvas awaiting a first brush stroke.

But I often find that—although I am quite ready for the old year to be over—I’m never quite ready for the new year to begin. I think I’m not getting what I need to clear my head and my heart, so I can begin with that clean slate. I think I need a holiday after the merriment of the holidays are over.

Perhaps it is because I identify as an introvert, I find myself dreading the double-whammy of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It seems that just when I want to be alone to reflect, society is gearing up to make noise, get merry and be social. Granted, I don’t run with a crowd that needs to pack itself into Times Square in the freezing cold or search out the nearest fireworks display, but I feel the pressure to endure an endless round of socializing on a scale unmatched by any other season of the year.

To be honest, if I manage to be present, I find something to like about most of the gatherings. Nevertheless, during this season where the gatherings seem to pile up against each other and even overlap, I find myself impatient to get home, to get away from people and silently reflect on what kind of year I have left behind and what kind of year I might like to have.

Next year, perhaps I’ll schedule time away at a monastery for the days surrounding the New Year. While the rest of society engages in enforced merriment and disrupting of schedules, I will be following a rhythm that is timeless and unbroken. While the rest of society lifts its voice to herald the new year, I will quietly go inside and consider the state of my heart and my soul. While the rest of society scrambles to make resolutions in order to impose some order on the uncertainties of life to come, I will ask the Universe where it wants me to go and what it wants me to do.

I want a countercultural new year’s observance, partially because I want a countercultural new year.

I want a year filled with reflection and silence and good, sustaining rhythms of life.

I want predictable and intimate and nurturing.

I want a space to heal from the past.

And I believe I can have all of these things by being attentive to my spiritual practices.

So, perhaps, what I want is not for the new year to be delayed, but rather to rush ahead into a contemplative new year, an ordinary time of mindfulness and compassion.

I am grateful for this coming time: the time after the holiday season, a time when the world seems asleep, dark, and reflective. I will use it as a time to nurture my roots, marshal my energies, prepare for a burst of new life the comes only after a seed dies and is planted in the ground.

As I write this, I realize that I am thankful for this time now, this quiet time after the merriment, this silence after the noise, this reflection after the world’s proclamations.

It is time, right now for things to be exactly as they are.

And time for me to be present to whatever lessons have been prepared for me to learn.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

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Faith seeking understanding #026: Seeking a contemplative, countercultural new year

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