Friday, January 1, 2010


Uninvited, my guest was waiting for me when I finally opened my eyes at 7 am. My wife and I celebrated the arrival of the New Year with some friends, so I knew I would sleep a little late. And I knew it was possible for my usual New Year’s Day guest to arrive, but I had pushed the very thought out of my mind, saying, to myself, “Not this year.”

I shuffled into the kitchen for my morning ritual of grinding beans and starting the addictive I.V.-drip of coffee. From the bay window came sufficient light, filtered by the pine trees, to keep me from having to flip on the recessed spots overhead. Then I glanced around, half-smiled to myself, and thought, “Well, you showed up anyway.” Smugly, but lightly dancing on the morning rays was the little sprite Newstart, which before I could blink, leapt and raced along my optic nerve, slipping defiantly into my frontal lobe.

Logically, there’s no reason a change of calendars should elicit resolves to improve or initiate changes. The package of responsibilities, habits, and necessary tasks you set down on December 31 is the exact same load waiting to be shouldered the next morning. And yet, barefooted and unshaven in the kitchen, I actually felt something different. I felt a Newstart within me, and before I could clobber my thoughts with cynicism, I was entertaining a list of goals for the new year. The most disgusting aspect of it all was my reluctant admission that the feeling, full of possibility and hope, had “rightness” written all over it.

With the bitter warmth of the coffee finally pushing me into alertness, I began looking for some compromise. I was determined not to be lured by the tradition list of resolutions, those tramps that smile seductively promising to be your savior right before they morph into spectral stalkers. But something was needed. Newstart had dug in, pinging my synapses with that fresh feeling I could not, and honestly would not, shake off.

So I have resolved that my resolution this year will be to keep Newstart with me. I’m not sure how I will accomplish this, but I plan to greet Newstart in my daily morning rituals. This morning Newstart was my uninvited gift, but I know most mornings, perhaps even tomorrow’s, I’ll have to hunt for her. I have a sense of the places to look, readings and reflections, prayers and perspectives, yoga and yogurt, to name a few. The important thing I suppose, is to own the search. And with practice, maybe I can prompt others to find her as well.