Last year a friend turned me on to a new tradition to ring in the New Year. Her family writes down their worst moments on tiny slips of paper and burns them, thereby symbolically getting rid of them.
My family attempted to follow suit. We each picked ten memories to dispose of and headed out to the fire pit. We added the limit so as not to still be out in the cold in the wee hours of the morning. It seems to me that since the onset of the Great Malaise, everyone in this country has had more than his or her share of difficulties to deal with, so if everyone took up this festive dumping, we might have a collective Bonfire of the Sanities - or an inadvertent four alarmer.
Halfway through the ceremony, someone forgot what someone else had written. However, now ash, we couldn’t get the thought back in order to perish it once and for all. We realized we needed a variation of the 2011 purge that would work for us.
Pen and paper folks, we opted for a “bad stuff” list and began to work it. Before long it looked like the sort of compilation a spoiled New York East Sider would send to Santa in mid August.
Then one of my blessedly optimistic children suggested we also compile a “good stuff” list - and we did.
Before long, I kid you not; the good list was bigger than the bad. It was so special to us because it was totally inadvertent, without a semblance of urging by an inspirational devotee of “count your blessings.”
This year we have donned the thin red yarn on our left wrists in Kabbalah fashion. All religious or celebrity connotations aside, the secular goal of this symbolic gesture is a two-pronged reminder all about the evil eye. The evil eye represents ego or envy. The yarn is to remind you not to take it in and not to give it out.
We have decided that while negative thoughts and deeds are abundant, in 2013, we can stop a lot of it at the front door, especially if we are aware it’s preying in the neighborhood.
We figure that will save us a lot of time at the end of next year, since much of the bad stuff will be deflected. We hope.
And hope is the twin sister of happiness.
Happy New Year!