Sensational Living®

January-February 2007
© 2007 by Bret S. Beall


This year, I've not made any New Year's resolutions, and I'm not going to write about resolutions. That was so 2006. Instead, I want to shine a light on beginnings, and by tautological relationship, endings.

Here in the northern hemisphere, it's relatively cool (though I'm typing this, we have above average temps in Chicago for the past month). But, it's still quite dark in the evenings, so it's a great time to be introspective. It's a great time to think about how prior new years and new beginnings have impacted our lives, and remind ourselves that every ending we encounter is actually a beginning.

This time of year is also symbolic of new beginnings in many cultures. December 22 was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the beginning of longer day lengths. January 1 was not only the modern Western New Year, but also Gantan-sai, the Shinto New Year. January 3 was the Mahayana Buddhist New Year. The Chinese New Year will fall on February 18, 2007. March has symbolic new beginnings: March 19 is the Hindu New Year, and March 21 is Norouz, the Persian/Zoroastrian New Year.

March 20, 2006, is one of the "new beginnings" occupying my thoughts these days because 1) prior activities affected most aspects of my life for the rest of 2006, and 2) it created new beginnings that are currently making my life fantastic. I wrote about the turmoil that two clients caused me at http://www.god-dess.com/services_lifestyle_Spring2006.html; that column was supposed to be my New Year 2006 column, so it is appropriate to remember it a year later, after spending most of that year reclaiming temporarily abandoned aspects of my life, home and business. I also note that the separation from these clients caused me to abandon plans to visit Miami and Key Largo, but thanks to current clients, I was able to visit both this past November; I love the symbolism and closure! In the email I sent to many of my friends on March 20 and 21 of 2006, telling them about my toxic clients' behavior, I used the header "Happy Spring: New Beginnings" to symbolize that I KNEW without ANY doubt that the end of that relationship was the beginning of a better life! Time has proven that true … I have some of the nicest, kindest, most generous, most encouraging clients I could imagine. My creativity is back. Life is good.

There are other kinds of beginnings. All three of the grandparents whom I knew died within a one-year period when I was 12; that early (and extreme) exposure to death taught me to begin to live life fully even at that young age, and without regrets; one regret from that time was that the last interaction I had with my grandfather was less than positive. My mother died in 1983; that was the end of the most important relationship of my life, but the beginning of a kind of freedom I had never before experienced and which I had never expected, a freedom born of having EXPLICITLY communicated my love and respect for her, to her, so that she could move on without hesitation (shortly before she died, she told me how my words had brought great comfort and solace to her, and I am grateful). My father physically died in November 2006, but Alzheimer's had taken his mind years ago; this was the end of a multi-faceted relationship, but the beginning of a peace knowing that he was free from whatever inner turmoil and discomfort he was experiencing.

This past summer I wrote "Just Say No to the Status Quo" (http://www.god-dess.com/services_lifestyleSummer2006.html). It was all about changes in our lives, which can be redefined as endings and beginnings. I wrote about ending my paleontological career, but that was the beginning of my helping to make the world a better place via GOD-DESS. And, since I went into paleontology originally not only because of intellectual curiosity, but also because I wanted to eventually use my academic knowledge and fame to make the world a better place, everything has worked out! Of course, for too many years I focused on the negative aspects of those events, rather than embracing them fully as opportunities, as new beginnings, but now that almost 20 years have passed, and I have healed, I know my life has been far more interesting, exciting and rewarding than if I had remained in paleontology.

One beginning that is important to everyone is one's birth. It is so important that we celebrate its anniversary every year. I don't celebrate my birthday any longer (nor do I celebrate holidays as specific days). No, my abandonment of birthdays has nothing to do with getting older (honestly, I'm more comfortable in my own skin than I was when I was 20!). Rather, I learned at an early age that putting emphasis on any specific day loads the odds against that specific day being a good experience, and that just creates stress all around. I remember as a child eagerly awaiting a big day like my birthday or Christmas or a family vacation ... only to be disappointed that a particular toxic family member would have an explosive rage on every single birthday and every single holiday (of course, he had an explosive rage every single day, but somehow I had deluded myself into thinking that he'd be nice on these days).

When I became an adult, I was able to empower myself to create my own holidays and celebrations. I could celebrate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Today, because I treat every day as if it were my birthday, very few people know the actual anniversary of my birth; it just isn't important. Living life to the fullest every single day IS important, and celebrating that life is important. And if today didn't work out so well, there's always tomorrow.

The key is that today, and every day, is the BEGINNING of the rest of your life. Do you focus on the past? Or do you look to the future? Or do you live in the present? Maybe a little bit of each? It is important to learn from the past, and it's important to plan for the future, but it's most important to emphasize the present. Don't waste your life feeling regret or anger about the past. Don't wish away your life anticipating some day or event in the future (weekend, birthday, graduation, wedding, hot date, etc.); focus on the present, and don't empower specific days in the future. If you feel like you "need" something to celebrate, check out all of my earliest Senses of Living® columns (February 2003 to January 2004); at the end of each of those columns, I outline the "holidays" for that month … you wouldn't believe some of the wacky and wonderful reasons out there to celebrate.

I'm celebrating having the opportunity to write these columns to share with you. I'm celebrating being free (for the time being) of toxic individuals in my life. I'm celebrating all of the great projects I'm working on RIGHT NOW, and the ones that will soon begin. If I can help you identify, embrace and/or plan a celebration, just let me know at 773.508.9208 or email me. Let's make a party of it today!