What’s the Difference? New Years Message
Here we stand again on the precipice of a new year. How was 2005? What will 2006 be like? Same old, same old or as some say, same stink different day. If 2005 was a great year for you, why was that? If it wasn’t, how come? How will the effects of last year affect your outlook for 2006? If it was sour in the past, do you see it being sour in the future? If it was fantastic in the past, do you see it being fantastic in the future?
Some suggest we create our own reality. For example, Joe has been a mechanic for the last fifteen years. He likes his boss and the guys he works with but he absolutely hates fixing cars. Everyday is a struggle to get up and go to work because he hates what he does so much. He has never given much thought to what he would like to do because his thoughts are overwhelmed with how much he hates what he does. One Friday…payday, he receives a pink slip with his pay. It seems the garage has not been doing well and the owner has gone into bankruptcy. Over the weekend Joe and his wife are optimistic about him finding a new job and come Monday morning, where do we find Joe? Pounding the pavement looking for a job as a mechanic!
Go figure! Why would this guy, who has spent fifteen years hating being a mechanic every day, be looking to extend the agony for another fifteen years? The answer? Same old, same old. It is what he has become so familiar to, that he has become desensitized to believing he could do anything differently. “I am stuck.” Do you know that sentiment? This is not a pep talk or motivational rap on a “You can do it” theme. It is about creating your reality or extending the one you have. Since we cannot essentially hold on to things always being perfect, we cannot expect that the good fortune of last year will necessarily be extended to this year in the same way. Nether do we have to expect that the bad luck of the past year needs to be extended to this year. The notion of same old, same old is just that… old!
There is a famous psychology experiment where a fish tank is divided into two parts by a glass panel. On one side is a piranha and on the other side a juicy minnow. The piranha tries repeatedly to get the minnow constantly bumping his nose into the glass panel. Eventually he gives up. And even when the glass panel is removed, the piranha swims around and up against the minnow convinced it is impossible to have dinner. Sadly the piranha starves to death.
Isn’t that how we approach life? We bump up against an obstacle enough times that we lose any ability to hope for change. We come to believe it is hopeless and we are stuck to live in the same wretchedness day in and day out. But, if like me, you are able to stand outside of the fish tank, you realize what a load of malarkey that is!
Why are we so willing to give up our dreams and goals for the sake of some stubborn obstacles? Why do we accept all our obstacles as Goliaths while we receive all the blessings as fleeting?
Listen to these words of Nelson Mandela:
“Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to manifest the glory of God within us. It is not in just some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Let 2006 be the year of manifesting the glory of God within us. Reach in and give expression to your strengths and talents. Don’t be scared off by other people’s insecurities that are verbalized inappropriately. Instead, shine brighter so that their darkness becomes light and they will see the gifts and talents within themselves.
Instead of coming up with the usual new years resolutions of losing some weight or quitting smoking, all of which are good things to do, break out of the box and dream to use your gifts and talents no matter how small you think they are. Don’t forget, faith the size of a tiny mustard seed can do a lot, the Bible tells us. That tiny gift or talent of yours like the mustard seed can grow into the biggest trees of all. Here are some lofty but attainable dream suggestions. In 2006 be a hero to someone, feed a homeless person in your city for a year and get to know them, become a better spouse no matter how your spouse responds, instead of doing the easy thing do the right thing, write a letter to the PM telling him your vision for Canada, when you vote in January vote as though your vote is the deciding vote, learn to live at least one day a week as though it were your last, write a Christmas play for your church for next Christmas. When you live out your talents and gifts you live a life of meaning and purpose… or you could return to the old ho-hum and instead of you bending the course of a river, the river will wash you away. You have the talent. You have the power. Think Big. Think outside the box.
Honours Psychology Counselling Intern, Group Facilitator Individual & Marital