Happy New Year
Hope you are having a relaxing day on what is Bank Holiday New Year's day in the UK. A bright but cold morning greeted me earlier with a dusting of soft fluffy snow. I put a calendar up today in the newly decorated computer room, the first time we've had a calendar on the wall since we've been at this house in 13 years. It comes from the Gardener's World BBC magazine and it has large seasonal pictures for each month and January's picture sees beautiful swathes of white flowered cyclamen.
I like to write something about the months as they come around, to educate myself more than anything. January, named after the god of the doorway Janus is the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere and the warmest in the southern and is clearly thought of as the doorway to the year.
There are a number of anniversaries and celebrations in January including Plough Sunday in northern England and Scotland which I remember being talked about as a kid, but couldn't remember why. This apparently happens on the Sunday after January 6th and is a celebration of the start of the agricultural year after which, on the Monday, ploughing traditionally starts - thanks to Wikipedia for that information.
Burns night in Scotland on the 25th January is a famous night of celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. An example of his work is the first verse of the poem 'To a Mouse'. There's a translation as well so we can better understand it.
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.
The garnet is this month's birthstone and it's flower is dianthus carophyllus - the carnation.
I've never really entered into the contract of New Year's Resolutions: promises to oneself to achieve something or to be better at something or give something up for example, probably because I'd be setting myself up to fail. This is a very negative attitude on my part and an easy way out, but this year, using the power of the blog, I'm going to set myself some targets - personal promises, publish them here and try to follow their progress throughout the year.
When planning anything, I've been brought up in my working life to make sure plans are SMART - specific, measurable, achieveable, realistic and timely or if you are in a product industry - tangible.
My promises will be the opposite to SMART perhaps: broad, vague, subjective; I am not going to be slave to any of them, hopefully they will enhance my way of life without dominating the reason for existence.
1 Family - I WILL exert effort into maintaining a solid family base, helping the children and family, building a better relationship with her indoors and with those I don't see very often and making sure friends know I am around to help where necessary.
2 Diet - I WILL reinvigorate the diet from today, get rid of the festive excesses and plough on (excuse the pun) with helping the old body find its lowest comfortable level of weight.
3 Exercise - I WILL continue to maintain a routine of exercising on the treadmill and Wii and walking a bit more where I can, even though I may be tired after a long day or can't be bothered. In the summer, I want to get up early when the mornings are light and warm and do it before I go to work.
4 Computer - I WILL spend less time on this bloody thing aimlessly surfing and only use it for specific needs.
5 Reading - I WILL read more, fiction particularly, something I have only done these last few years to help relax more and exercise the brain.
6 Drawing - I WILL enhance my drawing skills by spending time I would have spent mucking about on the computer by doing art.
7 Meditation - I WILL meditate more and work on enhancing and improving my spiritual work through meditation as well as helping me to relax more.
8 Mediumship - I WILL work harder on my mediumship for the benefit of others, deeper meditations will help , Tarot readings where I can for charity, psychic artistry for personal enjoyment.
9 Enjoy life - I WILL enjoy life and continue to think best of others and think of the needs of others and generally make the best of what I've got.
10 Swear less, drive less, less intolerant, less lazy, less prevarication, more laughs, more fun, more entertainment, more achievement, more love and all of this might equal a better me - more or less.
Hmmmm, when I read this, I think I might have reverted to type, SMART - well there's ten items, that's fairly specific; measurable - well it hopefully will make me a better person and I know I'll be spending more time doing them; achievable - absolutely, why set myself targets I couldn't achieve; realistic - yes, this is not rocket science, it's what I already know - just do it better; and timely - I have a year to get it done, one seventieth of a biblical lifetime.