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Chasing Down the Muse:

Choosing optimism in the New Year

January 01, 2010|By Cherril Doty

As the water laps against the rocks just below me, I spot not one, but two black oystercatchers poking around with their orange bills at water’s edge. These birds and their whistled yelps always tug at my heart for some reason. I am pleased to see them on this end-of-the-year, new beginnings day.

The cool breeze plays across my walk-warmed skin as I sit and reflect in this peaceful space.

My brisk morning walk near the water has brought me here to pause in time. The oystercatchers are a bonus, their cries mingling with the laughter of gulls and raucous shrieking of cormorants.

The sun reflects on the lapping water as I pause in time to look backward and forward.

It is at this juncture of each year that many of us pause to reflect on the passage of time. We look back to see the changes — losses and gains and even stuck places. We look ahead with the hope for better somehow, whether in terms of economic upturn, a new job, no war, family togetherness, accomplishments or accolades.

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It has long been my own habit to take this time of passing into the new from the old to review what I set in place at the start of the year just previous before moving into embracing of the “new” attributes I will put into play. This introspection seems vital, as I agree with the anonymous author of the words, “seeing yourself as you want to be” is the key to personal growth.

Even as I begin the process of reflection my first thought is that it is not so much what the year past was nor what the new one will be, but rather who I will choose to be.

What attributes do I seek to embrace for my own? How will I respond to whatever may come?

While it is important to have a mental picture of hopes and dreams and aspirations, yet more essential is who and how we may BE in response when the challenges appear instead.

In 2008 it would appear that I had already the inklings that it might be a tough year. I chose to embrace courage and caring as my year’s alliterative options. What did these words mean to me as made this choice? What would they come to mean as I moved through the good and bad times? Suffice to say that the words courage and caring took on greater meaning as the year wore on. The juxtaposition of the two enlarged each other. Caring with courage meant at times modifying expedience in order to do “right.” Courage enhanced caring to often mean practicing a form of tough love.

Many of the year’s hopes and dreams are as yet unrealized.

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