January 14, 2020

A New Vision for the New Year

By Brigit Atkin


VISION: Clarity, imagination, wisdom; the ability to think and plan for the future.

The ancient Roman calendar featured mythical King Janus. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events as well as look forward to the future. For this reason, Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and forgiveness as Romans began each new year. This ancient tradition of reflection with its resulting forward vision can be helpful in creating a happy and successful new year.

In the spirit of “looking back to look forward,” let’s reflect on the past year. What was hard, and what did you learn? What did you do really well? What did you learn about yourself? What challenges do you feel you have overcome? Which ones are you still working on, and what can you do better to master them? These are several questions to ask yourself as you look back on this past year. Having these questions answered will help you take measure of your life and will bring clarity to what’s next on this journey of life. It will bring you perspective that will assist you in moving forward.

Perspective is the way you see something. Perspective has a Latin root meaning “to look through” or “to perceive.” All the definitions of this word have something to do with looking. How we see things has a great impact on our actions and what we bring about in the future. 

If you had difficulties in this past year, maybe a change in perspective will help you see life’s challenges in a new light. With a camera, switching the lens can bring in more light or magnification; on a hike, moving to a higher or different vantage point can bring in a whole new view. Seeking personal inspiration and the counsel of others can allow you to stop reacting in the same old ways and help you create new patterns going forward. 

The following is an interesting Buddhist tale to inspire:        

One day, a very wealthy man took his son on a trip to the country to live for a few days on a farm with a very poor family. His goal was to teach his son a lesson about what it means to be poor. 

Upon their return, the father asked his son, “So, what did you learn about what it means to be poor?”

The son answered, “I learned that we have one dog. They have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden. They have a creek with no end. We have imported lanterns. They have an abundance of stars at night. We have a small piece of land to live on. They have fields that go beyond sight. We buy our food. They grow theirs. We have walls around our property. They have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

“Yes, dad,” said the son. “You showed me how poor we truly are.”

The lesson to be learned: With an open mind (new eyes), you can create a new reality.

I invite you to sharpen your vision by reflecting on this past year and then adjusting your lens of perception as you go forward into the new year. I have no doubt you’ll hear a lot of “2020 vision” themes for a while, and that’s okay. Just keep your sights on what’s important for your best year as you move forward. I hope that you will be wiser, more creative, more successful, and more aware than you were the year before. May you “look back then face forward” with clarity, imagination, and a new ability to plan your future. 


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