Visioning a Re-new-able Year
Spirituality & Health|Jan/Feb 2021
FLASHBACK: It’s December 31, 1999. Flushed from dancing, I’m perched on the steps of the Hilton Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, filled with anxiety about Y2K and the chaotic world around me.
SARAH BOWEN

Although my eyes peer out of the glittery zeros in 2000-shaped glasses, a local tells me it is 1992. Bent on educating me gently, he further informs me it’s not even the new year—those festivities happened two months ago.

I was 28 years old and full of myself. Courtesy of Prince & The Revolution, I had been waiting since 1982 to “party like it’s 1999.” I was clueless about the impact of the Council of Chalcedon or the Gregorian Calendar. And I had certainly never considered that on this night, not everyone was celebrating the entrance into a new millennium.

Admittedly, advancing numbers help us mark time. Calendarizing is a construct that humans use to make sense of the progression of our lives. Yet, there remains something magical about the start of a new cycle. Indeed, for over 4,000 years, our species has been making New Year’s resolutions.

For over a decade, I resolved I would quit drinking. Then smoking. As I got healthier, I resolved to hit my yoga mat every day. To lose 10 pounds and find my abs! To stop eating processed sugar. Some of these resolutions stuck (#soberlife) and others, well, let’s just say I’m a work in progress.

As a self-identified spiritual rebel, I follow an odd liturgical cycle: a mashup of practices, holy days, and sacred texts from around the globe. And yet, this ungapatchka of traditions provides an opportunity for expanding—like the universe itself—with unrelenting curiosity.

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