New Year’s Eve has tended to be a holiday I am never quite prepared for.
I generally have put so much time into Christmas that I never really plan for New Year’s Eve.
Some exceptions were in the 1980’s when year after year I and family members would participate in Boston’s first night celebrations. First Night would kick off with a parade of dragons and large Bread and Circus style puppets processing down Boylston Street in Boston. It was a little known secret but the people who made the puppets needed folks to volunteer to be the ones to be in the dragon or carry the puppets down the street. It was unbelievably easy for us to simply show up and get a terrific puppet and costume and be central players in this exciting pageant. We did this many years in a row. My good friend Deborah and our son and my brother and his wife and children all joined in. It was great fun but it only lasted a couple of hours and the rest of the evening was a bit anti-climatic at least for me.
When I moved to Colorado in 1992 that mini-tradition ended at least for me and my fellow puppet-teers.
In general my tastes have changed over the years. I have never been that interested in traditional ways of celebrating New Year’s Eve such as having a large party or going to Times Square in New York City to watch the ball drop, although I did tend to watch the ball drop on TV.
What I would like to do in the future is to have New Year’s Eve be a time for sustained meditation practice either for that day or as the end portion of a long Christmas retreat.
I do not know others who have similar interests but I know that others do and I hope to meet more such people before too long.
This year, as I did two years ago, I will be on a long private retreat over the 12 days of Christmas, which includes New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
In silence and in solitude, perhaps taking in a service at a nearby convent, I will continue to be open to letting my meditation practice deepen in the quiet cold of winter.
Should you also be inclined to spend New Year’s Eve in sustained prayer and meditation cast your thoughts to the rest of the silent sentinels around the world. Whether our vigil is tinged or drenched in loneliness, or deep serenity, know that there are many of us in our little out of the way places around the world. In the heart of major cities, amidst the dessicated conformity of affluent suburbs, in monasteries and convents and retreat centers around the world, in lonely University dormitories, isolated army posts and jail cells, housing projects and penthouses, many if us will be sitting in silence alone or with others with our reverent hopes for a more peaceful world.
May this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and the days of the year to come be a time when your practice reaches new experiences of peace, acceptance, compassion, and sacred beauty.
May tens of millions and then hundreds of millions of people in their own way and in their own tradition find ever more creative ways to offer their love and forgiveness towards themselves and all others.
What was your New Year’s Eve like? What do you want to do differently in the year to come?
Do you want to get together next New Year’s Eve for a time if patience, silence, and meditation as our way to say good bye to the year just past and to say hello to the New Year to come.
Whether together or far apart, let us be joined in the quiet army of the silent revolution.
All constructive comments will be posted.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” host of MeditationPractice.com