Happy New You

There are resolutions, revolutions, and remakes happening all the time, and people see New Year seasons as particularly opportune for changing their lives.  Even when the change is essentially external people often miss the opportunity to move their personal issues – character, desires, and intellect – to a new level.   We would be hard-pressed to find someone who wished to move to a lower level, so we assume that “Happy New Year” usually means happier, better and – I dare say – more challenging (than last) year.  Happiness in the new year, like beauty, is in the eyes of  the beholder, and ought to include a new you.

New homes, schools, partners and jobs are exciting transitions and steps.  They confirm our upward trajectory, but these kinds of changes also face the hindrance of an unchanged perspective.  People who take vacations in foreign lands usually come back to their residence to face the same problems with the same tools and resources.  Would it not be great it we really left our cold, busy world  behind?  With 21st century technology linking us to almos everything we leave behind on a vacation, it is no wonder that vacations are merely a distraction, because for many, life on vacation continues as usual.

The options for a new perspective, a new you/me, are not many.  The cosmetic remakes are not all they are cracked up to be, and we are NOT what we eat.  A new you may revolve around a weight reduction, a change in assignment, or an ideological shift.  Most individuals need a revolution, a reversal of their thinking, and the further one can move from “life as usual” the better the chances of a new person emerging. 

A happy and new you would make your peers and colleagues stop and say “Hmmm, I want what s/he has”.  If the new you is not surprising it is probably not worth the effort.  So, by all means, get the new things, but get (into) the new inner-you.  It is not as distant or difficult as most people imagine.  A happy new you is as big as your dream and as close as the words of fidelity you speak to yourself.  Go for it: a happy new you, yeah!

Transitions and Terminal Troubles

The saying goes “Happy New Year” but even the 10-second rush as one year ends and another begins is not always happy.  One may be dragged into the transition by tradition or a zealous partner.   Some people saying “Happy New Year” are known to be struggling with bereavement and a host of ills.  Transitions, like New Year celebrations, provide an opportunity to hope and plan for better things, but hiding in the corner are the terminal illnesses that have restrained human progress for centuries.

Perhaps the most famous transition is the “War to End all Wars”, a disappointing turn for sure.  A close second is the creation of the League of Nations (the predecessor of the United Nations).  I recently came across a turning point in the return of the Hebrew people to Palestine.  The leadership was as zealous as can be, but a terminal illness was shaping the transition into a fatal venture.

In my recent essay Ezra, Scribe and Zealot I uncovered a maze of inconsitencies and a web of injustices.  The treatment of aliens hit a new low, as Ezra forced Jewish men and women to divorce their alien spouses.  To add insult to injury Ezra ordered the children “sent away”. 

The inability of the leadership to speak to and care for the alien spouses and their half-breed children shows  an incredible lack of vision, absent initiative, and an unsepakable low in interpersonal morality. 

Since Ezra’s appeal was to the constitution of the Israelite nation one has little to hope that transitions guarantee security and progress, especially when one is constrained to look back to traditions and sources of reliable guidance.  His zeal for the Law blinded him to common decency and stymied any chance that relations with Gentiles would ever take its place at the centre of Abraham’s vision for a global family of faithful.  Ezra’s campaingn for Jewish racial purity put him in a sobering conflict of interest with the Persian government.  After all, it was a Persian (Gentile)  monarch who had responded to God’s call to restore the Jewish exiles to Palestine, complete with financial and military support.  The Jew-Gentile worldview held by many observers is still a fatal illness which, if allowed to persist, will further corrupt the goowdill that should be at the core of revolutionary thinking, renewal movements and transitions.