I just finished my holiday cards so naturally rather than Happy Holidays, I wished everyone a “Happy New Year.” As I was saying it or writing it this year, I thought more about the words and wondered, what does that really mean?
Who can predict what a year will be. Does that mean there will be no sadness, no grief, and no loss? I know this past year was hard for many of our friends and acquaintances. One of our best friends had heart surgery. Another friend lost her husband only 6 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer and then her mother died just a week after her husband’s funeral. We know several people who lost their jobs and many who lost their health insurance. The government shut down didn’t help 2013 very much and although Obama had the best intentions, 2014 will still be a struggle for many.
So does that mean all those people did not have a Happy 2013? What does happiness mean anyway? Certainly we will all have something go wrong this year, but I bet a lot more will go right. So when I say Happy New Year, I remind myself to find the happy throughout the year. To me happy means being mindful of what I am feeling and experiencing. Even if it’s sad or anxiety provoking, I can still find peace by allowing myself the space to feel without judging it as unhappy or bad.
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “ You have 24 hours to live. Don’t waist your time.” He teaches that in 24 hours we breathe several times a minute, we notice all kinds of things; we experience our experiences if we are mindful.
For me I am happy when I take the time to practice meditation and mindfulness regardless of what is happening good or bad. If we get too excited about something good we will certainly be disappointed when things don’t turn out quite as we would like. If we get too down when things are bad, we may not notice all that we do have and how fortunate we are in so many ways.
So if I wish you a Happy New Year, take it to mean, notice every moment or as many moments as you can this year. Let go of judging and simply be in that experience. Take a deep breath. Be grateful for that breath and then watch what is going on around you and sit with it. Be curious about it. Smile and let it be. And if things are not going so well, remember tomorrow is another day so just wish yourself a Happy New Day.