New Year’s Day and an Old Roman God

Janus-Roman-GodPhoto by mari27454

The Roman calendar and January 1

Where I live, today is New Year’s Eve and tomorrow will be January 1st, New Year’s Day. So why have I chosen this picture of a stone statue instead of the typical New Year’s picture? Where are the party hats, champagne and festive people?

In the United States, the use of January 1st dates back to the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius. He changed the Roman calendar, adding January and making it the first month of the year. BTW Numa Pompilius was one cool guy — check him out!

Janus, the Roman god

Pompilius named January after Janus, the god of doors, gates and beginnings. Janus was a god with two faces; one face looking forward and the other looking backward. I chose this picture because it is a picture of a statue of Janus.

I think it’s fascinating that I’ve grown up celebrating my new year based on this Roman god. For example, tomorrow is the beginning of a new calendar year for me. It is also a time when I look backward and reflect on what happened in the old year and I look forward to a new year by making resolutions.

In addition, midnight on New Year’s Eve can be seen as a gate or doorway; the time I step from one year into the next. For one night and one day I symbolically recreate Janus, the god that Pompilius worshiped:~)

I see this as being wonderfully ironic; a sign that we carry bits and pieces of history with us, even if we’ve forgotten where they’ve come from.

The universal message of a new year

That being said, not everyone in the world celebrates New Year’s on January 1st. Yet, almost every culture has some form of New Year’s celebration.

I believe this celebration represents more than just a date on the calendar. I think of it as a common thread that weaves our disparate cultures together. No matter where or when a new year is celebrated, it usually represents similar themes:

The death of winter and the rebirth of spring.

The link between the past and the future.

The time for reconciliation and renewal.

As I see it, these are universal themes and they unite us as a people, regardless of where we live or what we believe. Therefore, while I celebrate my new year, I will also be reminded of how very connected we all are on this small planet called Earth.

So, from where I am, Happy New Year!

Feeling the Holiday Blues

oval-candle-brightphotograph by Sara B. Healy

The Gift of Grieving

Holidays are not always happy and merry. When I was sixteen I lost my father to cancer at Christmas time. That was a difficult and painful holiday season, and it continued to be for quite a few years. This confused me because I felt I should be joyful and happy like my friends.

The holidays seemed to make my grief worse and it scared me sometimes; I wondered if I would ever recover from my father’s death. While I did recover eventually, 41 years later I still feel twinges of sadness during the holidays.

I’ve had many years to sort this out and understand these moments of sadness. I no longer fight them or pretend they don’t exist. Instead, I allow and accept them. I know they are reminders of the love I had for someone I lost.

When I was young no one explained how grief works, or that holidays like Christmas might bring back memories of that difficult time. I continued to feel like the odd person out because I wasn’t always happy during the holidays.

Today, I know there are people around the world who are experiencing a trauma during this time. Perhaps they’ve lost someone they love, an important relationship has ended, or they fear for someone who is ill. Whatever it is, this may not be an especially happy time for them. Their fear or sadness may conflict with the expectations of joy during the holidays.

I’ve been inspired to write this poem for anyone who is experiencing pain or sadness during this holiday season. I hope it reminds them to not deny or fight their feelings, but to allow them without guilt.

A Poem for the Holiday Blues

I see you. I know you are there.
You hide from the bright lights this holiday.
And the constant cheer is really hard for you to bear.

You turn away from the store man wishing all a happy holiday.
You turn off the radio because every station plays holiday music.
You turn from the jolly smiling faces as they create more dismay.

It’s not that you are a Scrooge, saying “Bah, humbug.”
It’s not that you don’t want to share the joy this time of year.
It’s not that the happy people don’t give your heartstrings a tug.

It’s just that it’s hard for you to put on a happy holiday mask.
When your sadness, loneliness and grief
Make getting out of bed a momentous task.

So, if you don’t want to celebrate the holidays like everyone else,
It’s okay. Don’t be afraid to let your feelings flow.
By acknowledging them, you allow yourself to let them go.

These holidays celebrate the birth of hope and healing.
Those of us who’ve walked your path know that this sadness
Will make way for hope if you accept what you’re feeling.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

While I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy new year, I also hope you’ll  keep in your heart the people who may not be having a happy holiday this year. They need your compassion and prayers. I ask you to stop, take a moment and send them your warm thoughts of hope this season.

p.s. I want to thank Davina of Shades of Crimson for encouraging me to write and share this poem. For a month, she has been sharing her beautiful, thoughtful and sometimes humorous poetry. Davina’s gift for poetry, as well as her courage and persistence, have challenged and inspired me:~)

Due to the holidays, I will not have a post this coming Monday, but do plan one for Thursday.

Picture Story: My Turn Now

beach-dunesphotography by Sara B. Healy

This is JC. I’ve decided that it’s my turn at “A Sharing Connection” to share.

canon new camera

Sara got a new Canon camera for Christmas. While she’s excited about it, she’s also struggling to handle all the bells and whistles that come with this one. To be honest, this hasn’t been an easy task as this camera isn’t a “point and shoot” camera, like her old one.

I love her dearly, but Sara’s not the most patient learner and she hates reading the instructional manuals. Consequently, she wasn’t as pleased as she’d like with the pictures she took at the beach.

On the other hand, I am confident that when she takes time to read more about the camera and learns what it is capable of, she will be delighted with her pictures. I already am.

the beach pictures

Therefore, since I happen to really LIKE many of the pictures she took, I am stepping in as guest author and editor today. I went through her pictures and picked out my five favorites from her new camera to share with you.

These pictures reflect the beautiful beaches at Cape San Blas, Florida at different times; in bright sunlight and before storms. We had all sorts of weather this trip!

In addition, there are two I picked just like because they are typical of what Sara sees to photograph.

My advice to her is this: A person once stopped a man walking down the street in New York City and asked, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The man answered “Practice, practice.”

beach-in-sunlight

approaching storm

clouds-and-blue

sunset_clouds

my-footprint

On Holiday

Holiday_vacationl

Hey. I’m not here if it’s me you seek.

I’m on holiday and will be gone for a week.

I’m frolicking in the wonderful warm Florida snow,

while letting salty waves of blue kiss my toe.

But since you’ve stopped by

don’t just say goodbye.

Visit posts you haven’t seen before.

You might find something you adore:~)

There will be no new posts up until December 21, but I invite you to read some of my older posts. They were written long before I learned about navigating the blogosphere, and have always looked a bit lost and forlorn. So, while I’m gone take a look at some of them. If you do, I know you will make a post very happy.

Here are some of my lonely but favorite posts:

Give the Gift of an Open Heart

A Bridget Jones Affirmation

Confidence Boosters

A Daily Dose of Laughter

Wasserman: The Runner Who Always Tries

If these don’t suit your fancy, check out the categories on the left!

As I’m not available to answer comments, they will be closed for this post. Have a great week and may not magical happen for you:~)