Happy New Year
Welcome to 2019!
If you’re like me, you’ve already got things you want to accomplish. After all, people spend a good part of the holiday season thinking about those New Year’s resolutions. And I’ve got an even better ritual to prepare for the targets I want to go after as a new year begins. It starts with some very intentional silent reflection.
Silence is golden
My husband Mike and I began a new tradition two years ago when we started attending a Silent Advent weekend retreat in preparation for the Christmas season. It involves about 40 hours of silence that starts with a dinner and reflection on a Friday night. There’s no set agenda, but one can choose to attend mass, reconciliation or group prayer. One of the things Mike and I like to do is head outdoors. And the colder it is, the more adventurous we feel. It can involve a walk or a hike, but always with serious reflection. And, remember, there’s no talking. (My husband probably enjoys my 40 hours of silence more than anyone!) I also notify friends and family in advance that I will be out of pocket, so there’s no time on a smart phone either.
You would be surprised at the clarity you get when you are completely quiet. It’s one of the best ways to think about the road ahead, literally and figuratively. In fact, there’s a road around the retreat center that has Psalm 100, by verse, on signs along the way. Those signs are great for reflection. But the signs that impacted me more than expected were the ones that are not intentionally meant for reflection. For example, the Slow sign, 10 miles, one way.
Slow and steady for a new year
This season, and every season of life, I’m reminded to slow down and enjoy the journey. So often we are living in a constant state of urgency. But in reality, very little that we rush to do is really essential to our life and our work. And as I saw this Slow sign, I couldn’t remember the last time I drove 10 miles per hour on purpose to see what was around me. It also reminded me that there is only one way to head in life: forward and with virtue.
So, as I enter the New Year, I do so with a goal to practice moving forward with virtues at a pace that also allows me to enjoy the journey. And that begins with wishing all of you a Happy New Year too.