The new is but the old come true; each sunrise sees a new year born.
–Helen Hunt Jackson
In my part of the world, we have just come out of a celebration for the New Year. It’s a time when people look back over the past and make resolutions for the future. Most of the reflections are viewed either with rose tinted spectacles or with a jaundiced view that it had been the worst year ever. Most of the resolutions are made in the expectation – the hope, even – that they will be quickly broken.
Is it really true that something remarkable happens at the turn of the year, is it only then that we have to opportunity to reflect and change?
In this quote from Helen Hunt Jackson, we see a deeper truth.
Every day is a new start and every moment an opportunity to reflect on the past that has just gone.
The resolutions made on New Year’s Eve are so easy to break because they are too frightening to consider doing forever. Once broken, the whole year is considered spoiled, and so there is no point in trying again until the next New Year.
But if we look at each new sunrise as a new start, then the task is no so daunting. This new day I can try a new thing, a new action, a new way of acting. Even if I fail, I can try tomorrow again because tomorrow starts a new year.
We can learn, not only from our distant past, but the day just gone. We can look at yesterday’s successes and failures to make today a better one.
This is what the nineteenth-century American poet and writer is suggesting, but I would go further; we do not have to wait for a new dawn to start again, we can start afresh from where we are.
Let us say that I have made a resolution to always be positive, but find myself sharing a negative thought, do I have to wait until the next day to get back on the positivity train? Should I carry on with that negativity until evening, and then realize what I have done wrong, resolving to do better tomorrow?
I think not. There is much we can do in every moment to reflect and change. We can look at that negative comment as something past from which we can learn. It is past, gone, and we do not need to wait for some arbitrary “new beginning” to start again.
I made a negative comment, or had a negative thought? I can learn from that action just completed, and activly seek to be more positive, maybe even say or think something specifically to negate the negative!
Every moment is a new year born.