Year-End Inventory: Taking Stock of Your Life
Reflecting on the Whole Business
The end of 2011 is fast approaching with 2012 looming on the horizon. It's a time of reflection as we usually establish a line of demarcation between the "old and new." While many choose to face the new with anticipation, others may embrace uncertainty or worry. New Year's resolutions nonetheless will be made.
This reflection began for me the other evening at my favorite Chinese restaurant, I scanned a placemat which presented dates represented by animals such as the horse, rat, dog, dragon, pig and monkey. Chinese folklore teaches that your birth-year animal would give you that animal's traits or personality. My thoughts wandered as I looked it over, eventually focusing on how conditioned global society is to follow certain traditions, teachings, or customs without question. Nancy Willard, an American poet, made this great observation:
"Sometimes questions are more important than answers."
Relative to a teaching, I was taught in school with absolute assurance that there are exactly nine planets in our solar system. We have since lost one as Pluto was demoted. Other planets were recently in the news. With the aid of NASA'S Kepler telescope, they've discovered Kepler 20e and Kepler 20f which are earth-sized and roughly 1,000 light years away. Scientists apparently are baffled with this solar system since it doesn't fit the criteria previously understood on how planets are formed as well as other considerations. When you start looking at distances, the Milky Way galaxy is figured to be 150,000 light years across and the Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.3 million light years away; it would seem that there's some room for error and much yet to be discovered in the vast universe. And, who can discuss matters of the universe without quoting Albert Einstein:
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."
Customs are quite interesting as well. As a matter of fact, I recalled a thick, hard-cover book that my mom had in her library when I was growing up entitled "The Customs of Mankind." It was an engaging book revealing the earliest recorded origins for the things we do without question. For example, someone sneezes and another says "Bless you." Apparently, the custom began because the people at the time felt one's sneeze caused the person's soul or spirit to be forced from the body and would be prey to the demons. A blessing provided protection until it was able to find its way back. Learning that superstitious origin, I would feel quite silly saying the typical "Bless you!" when someone had a cold or inhaled a respiratory irritant of some sort. At times some individuals sneeze multiple times in a row, which would constitute a lot of ins and out to be blessed following that custom.
Perhaps for any making New Year's resolutions, 2012 would be a blessed year if we called it "The Year of Questioning." Why not delve into finding what is truly reality? If we're taking stock of our degree of personal satisfaction or the fulfillment end in this life, questioning is always beneficial. Personal development requires avidly considering why and how we do things, why it's not working, then searching for time-tested strategies and solutions to achieve optimum results.
On a grander scale, we interface with the world around us. It empowers us to identify and peer behind the smokescreens put there by others and see things as they really are. Things are not always as they appear to be. The twentieth century gave us such a notable example as Edward Bernays who has been dubbed the "Father of Spin", quite adept at propaganda in forming public opinion. That's an interesting subject itself to research.
For the "Year of Questioning," a great resolution would be to embrace accurate knowledge based in integrity, ethics and truth. That's where epiphanies and enlightenment abound. Perhaps that would propel us to be living our highest purpose and impacting for good our fellow man.
So, whether you're thinking about improving health, relationships, employment, finances, spirituality or other important facets of living in the coming year, clearly identify the bottom-line problem or circumstance you want to change. Let the questions begin. Why do I do what I do? What do I need to change? What do I need to let go of? What resources are available to me to propel me forward to my goals? What is the bigger picture here? Start digging for treasure, and see all the options available to you.
Choose blessings through faith and prayer which can lead to very fulfilling, truthful answers. Health and life, afterall, encompasses feeding the body, mind and spirit. May your next year prove to bring peace, contentment and huge satisfaction in knowing and living your purpose.