2020 was a year like no other in my lifetime. As we begin 2021, Austrian Poet Rainer Maria Rilke provides a path to see the new year in a new way. He writes:
And now let us believe in the long year that is given to us, new and untouched, full of things that have never been. — Rainer Maria Rilke
These profound 24 words are packed with meaning.
And now: Yes, this present moment. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Right now. Today. Focus on Starting.
let us: This phrase conjures up community. We are in this together. We choose whether or not we take action on our beliefs, values, goals and dreams. These actions or inactions have a ripple effect on our family, friends, communities, and even strangers. we cannot escape our interconnectedness.
believe: What is your guiding belief system? Do you believe that you have power to change or to experience transformation? Do you have the power to help others find change and transformation?
in the long year: We have five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes 2 to work with. No more. No less.
that is given to us: This phrase brings up the idea that our lives are a gift. Every moment that we have is precious and rare. I am conscious of friends and family who died in 2015. It is too easy to take life for granted. If we see each day and every moment as a gift, how might our gratitude grow?
new and untouched: This is a beautiful phrase as it conjures up new opportunities and experiences. It’s easy to fall into routine where we think that it’s just the “same old same old” but we really have to wake up and recognize that this is a fresh year.
full of things: This year will be full of many things- how conscious will we be about what we allow into our lives? Will we be intentional about allowing joy into our lives? Will we get rid of the things that don’t bring us joy?
that have never been: Things might feel familiar or have a similar pattern, but we are blazing a new trail.
In 2013 my Dad expanded on Rilke’s message adding this clause
. . . inviting us in 2013 to new and unimaginable possibilities—fighting for peace, social justice, the common good, and assisting those less fortunate.3
So, what clause will you add to Rilke’s quote? where do you feel invited to grow? How would you make a difference? What will you let go of? What will you embrace?
May we welcome the new year with hope and optimism.