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Being Present in the New Year

By Rev. Carol Bodeau

Happy New Year!

You know, I cannot believe it is 2024. I still think of myself as a “1980’s” person (my high school years). And now, when I talk to young adults, the 80’s is ‘vintage.’ Suddenly, I am very aware of how my parents and the generations before me felt when I talked about the past, and the passage of time. Every generation has its own perspective on the passing years, and New Years makes that all more intense.

Many of us feel like ‘there isn’t enough time’ or that ‘time slipped by’ while we weren’t paying attention. How many of us say at the end of the year, “I can’t believe it went so fast?” Of course, there are also many times when things move slowly, and it feels like time is slowing down or stopped entirely.

Time, more than any other ‘fact’ of physical existence, is shaped and colored by our emotions. And, in turn, how we think about time can really impact how we feel and act.

If we feel happy, time might pass too quickly, as we cling to short-lived pleasure or joy. If we feel sad, lonely, or hopeless, it can drag on interminably. So what’s the best way to handle the passing of time?

Do we try to cram as many good experiences (or at least, as many accomplishments) as possible into every day? Or do we feel imprisoned, maybe numb, and just exhausted by all the things we are not doing or experiencing? How much time do you spend worrying about the future, or being upset about the past?

This year, we’re starting a new Sunday morning Spiritual Practices service, which is meant to help us get a handle on all these emotions about the passing of time—about what has already happened, what hasn’t happened, what might happen, and what might not happen. Each week from 9:30-10:15am, we’ll have the chance to slow down, It's meant to help us really be aware of what is right now, and how our true power lies in the present moment. Hopefully, it will help us get a bit more of a handle on how those emotions, and the thoughts that accompany them, unconsciously cause shape our lives in ways we might want to change.

I hope you’ll take a little time this year to slow down, to notice any thoughts or emotions that might cause you to rush, or feel dragged down. And to remember that the only time we really have, is this one precious moment, right now.

Happy New Year,

Rev. Carol

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