RINGING IN THE NEW
A time to begin again
This morning I came back to the States from an extraordinary week in Israel. From Christmas Eve service at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, to Kaballah studies with a Chassidic rabbi and my first mikvah, I experienced the opening of the spiritual portal that millions of people around the world associate with the Holy Land.
The political situation involving Israel and Palestine is a layer of heartbreak that cuts through the land, never far away from one’s consciousness, a problem never easy to analyze much less figure out how to solve. I have spoken to enough Jews and Arabs, Israelis and non-Israelis, to know that standard Western political narratives do not begin to recognize the deeper dynamics of trauma and fear that pervade the situation…or how best to heal them. But I left Israel this week as I have left it before, with this prayer from A Course in Miracles on my heart: “The holiest spot on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” May it be so.
Tonight being New Year’s Eve, I’m reminded of Thomas Paine’s exhortation that “we have it in our power to begin the world over again.” He was talking about politics and not New Year’s Eve, of course, but I think the point is the same: whether it’s in a country, or simply in our own lives, it is always possible to start over. To begin again. To let go the past and create something new for ourselves and for our children.
The world today is in many ways a very sorrowful place. From protesters in Iran to heartbroken female students in Afghanistan, from grieving parents in Idaho and Texas to billions of people who are hungry, sick, unjustly treated and suffering desperately all over this planet, darkness blankets so many hearts. This doesn’t seem to me like a night when any of that should be forgotten. But I think it can be inspiration and motivation for committing ourselves to the creation of a different kind of world.
I have a feeling about 2023; I think it’s going to be big. I think it’s both a challenge and an invitation to rise to our best selves, to find our courage, to spread our wings and help heal the world. Nobody else is going to do that for us; we have to do it ourselves. Perhaps tonight we can forgive ourselves and others, put down the baggage that keeps us bound, and reach for what only love can do. For miracles occur naturally in the presence of love. For those of us not suffering tonight, let’s commit in our hearts to helping those who are. Love will heal everything if only we will allow it to.
Here’s to the New Year, to the passing away of one year in our lives and our opening to miracles in 2023. Einstein said we wouldn’t solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. So here’s to another kind of thinking next year, and another kind of world.
From the love in me to the love in you, may 2023 be the year you soar.