A Wish on the Eve of the New Year
from a Guy Approaching Fifty
As the New Year dawns, it's easy to hurry forward, called by an ever-growing list of ambitious resolutions, worried and impatient for what comes next.
We peer out at the future, literally and figuratively plotting our path to the next professional, spiritual, physical, financial, emotional point on our personal horizon as we prepare for another 12 month horizontal journey through time and space. And yet, all this pursuit of external things misses the truth that the quality of our lives rests on our inner heartbeat – on knowing, believing in, and yes, even loving oneself.
This is life's truly never-ending, always-surprising, unexpectedly-rewarding adventure.
Our journey of personal growth is excavation, not accumulation. We build meaning by distilling the "everything" around us into the "essence" of what matters most to us - a process of discernment best accomplished in the quiet humility of reflection.
This week I woke early on Tuesday morning and read Pico Iyer's latest book/essay entitled, The Art of Stillness. It is a less-than-70-page call to action from one of the world's foremost travel writers; a plea to trade horizontal trips across the Globe for a deeper inner journey to Nowhere. And as Iyer explains, "Going Nowhere isn't about turning your back on the world, it's about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply."
So as the New Year begins, I encourage you to pause briefly in the Nowhere of the Present Moment (maybe even taking the single hour required to consume Iyer's lovely book); and before making too long a list for next year's accomplishments, consider deeply what matters most to you. In his book, Iyer mentions the story of the explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd, who after spending nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, emerged convinced that "Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we actually need."
Many years ago, my dear friend Tom Suddes taught me a similar lesson, explaining "True wealth comes not from an abundance of valuable things; but rather, from an abundance of the things we value."
Which is my wish for us all — May the New Year be filled with opportunities and challenges that enrich us in ways we could never predict; and fill our lives with the people, places, animals, feelings, work, art, music, food & experiences we value most.
CAC / New Year's Eve / 2014