By Amy Brucker
In December 2013, as I completed my cancer healing journey, I told my doctor I was looking forward to the new year so I could start fresh.
New Year, New Start, New Me.
His reply, “Really? The New Year is just an arbitrary ending and beginning. It doesn’t really mean anything.”
We need endings and beginnings in order to stay (consciously) connected to the natural cycles of life. Honoring endings helps us release the past so we can move freely into the future. Endings help us bury our burdens, process our grief, and put it to rest. It’s only then that we can regenerate and make room for the new seeds of our lives.
In ancient times, our ancestors practiced rituals and ceremonies to mark the transitions from one season to the next. They lived on the land, and without modern day conveniences like electricity, they couldn’t divorce themselves from the endings and beginnings that stirred around them.
Trees became transitional icons, slowly cycling through the seasons, a touchstone to remind them that life is full of endings and beginnings. Life, Death, Rebirth was everywhere.
Without arbitrary endings, we cling to the past, harboring our failures like fugitives. But with arbitrary endings like New Year’s Eve, we have an opportunity to consciously release our burdens. We can let go of our failings, returning them to the earth so they become fertilizer to nourish our life-soil.