A little unknown fun fact about me… I am not a big fan of New Year’s Eve. My family knows this well and they all find it hard to believe that me, of all people, aren’t enthusiastic about the New Year holiday. My family knows I am passionate about setting intentions and examining how one lives their life. Considering how this energy is more synonymous with the New Year holiday than any other time of year, I suppose I can understand the confusion on why I don’t like this particular holiday.
I’m not even 100% sure why I don’t have much love for this holiday. But I know staying up till midnight is just too damn late. I suppose my real beef with the New Year holiday is that I find it to be an externally imposed time of celebration. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!” Now be happy and celebrate! Be merry now! Why this?
We can celebrate any moment. We can be introspective and reflect on our past and create intentions for our future at any given time… and hopefully, this happens much more than once a year. The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, asked, “Have you examined your life today?” Perhaps we should be asking ourselves this question each and every day.
Regardless of my lack of love for this holiday, I do recognize that this is a natural time of change. This time of year is absolutely immersed in change and transitions. One year ends and another begins. It’s time to get a new paper calendar (if you still do that sort of thing). It’s time to try to remember to advance the year each time you write the date (which I am sure will be about March until I start accurately writing “2024”). This is the time the Internal Revenue Service says I need to get my home and business accounting together and report what has happened in the past year.
So yes, I do recognize this time of year is full of endings and beginnings and with it comes a natural time of evaluation and introspection. During this break from being in my office, one of the things I have been looking forward to most is the time to evaluate and contemplate my life. Periodically throughout the year, I designate time to take a step back from everyday life to evaluate my life. I take an honest look and ask myself a series of questions I have designed to elicit from my inner heart what it is I truly deeply desire. I analyze what is working well and I also look at what is not working well. I do all this so I can become aware and conscious of my life and my existence. Most importantly, I do this so I can then be intentional to make the changes that need to be made to support me in my growth, being happy, being healthy, and being more peaceful.
As I was gathering some thoughts together for this article, I decided to do a little research on just what are the historical origins of the New Year and why it is January first. I was totally surprised to learn some of the historical roots and significance of where all this came from. Allow me to share it with you now…
Back in the day, the early Roman calendar only had 10 months (304 days). Clearly, in time, the calendar became out of sync with the orbit of the Sun and the timing of the equinox and solstices became a mess. In 46 BC Julius Caesar gathered the well-known astronomers and mathematicians at the time to figure out how to solve this problem. The calendar then became 12 months (365 days).
Julius Caesar declared the first month of the year would be January, named after Janus, the Roman God of beginnings. Makes sense.
Here is something I did not know that I find fascinating… Not only is Janus the God of beginnings, Janus is also the God of doorways, gates, and transition. Janus is depicted as having two faces. One facing front to see what is coming and one facing back to review where they have come. Furthermore, Janus is depicted holding a key. This is the key to unlock the gates between doorways and transitions. Janus looks both toward the future and keeps an eye on the past. Janus reflects on where he has been and looks ahead to where he is going. At the same time, he holds the key to open the door and move through any transition.
Janus is the personification of my life evaluation process that occurs this time of year!
As transition is all around us this time of year, I invite you to join me in introspection and lean into an honest evaluation of your life at this time. We can get so busy working IN our lives, and perhaps what we really need most is a pause from all the business in our life, to reflect and work ON our life. A wise man once said, “A well-lived life doesn’t just happen, it is designed.” -Quinn Takei 😊. Yes, I believe a well-lived life must be intentionally designed. To design our life well, we must be like Janus, and reflect on where we have been and look to the future we desire to experience. Perhaps simply this process of looking both back to the past and ahead to the future awards us the key we need to transform and transition into a life that more supports who we are and achieving what we desire.
Over this past week, I have been asking myself a variety of different questions in a variety of different ways as I evaluate and contemplate my current existence. I have found one of the exercises I am doing has been very fruitful and I would like to share this with you now. Perhaps this exercise may support you in both looking back, looking forward and offer you the key you need to make changes that you desire to make.
Here we go…
Determine the significant aspects/facets/roles/relationships in your life. For example, I am currently working on these four:
1) My business- The Center
2) My role as a father and my relationships with my children
3) My relationship with my wife
4) My relationship with myself
Your topics may look very different. Select any aspect of your existence that is important to you. For example, you may desire to evaluate:
· Your relationship with your mother
· Your feelings about your coworkers
· Your exercise program
· Your current job
· The running of your home
Begin with selecting one or more aspects of your life you desire to evaluate.
Make a “What is going really well?” list. Now write down everything you can think of on this topic that is going really well. What is working well for you? What do you like? What are all the benefits and pros? Make a list. Be genuine and honest.
Make a “What needs attention and change?” list. Now also write down everything you can think of about this topic that is not going so well. What needs to be changed? What do you dislike? What is happening here that is no longer serving you well? What are the negatives and cons? Make a list. Be brutally honest.
Create Action Steps. Now evaluate everything you have written down. Create a realistic action step you can take with every line on your list. For every item on your “What is going really well?” list, consider what specific action you can do to make that list item happen more. What can you do to make more of this happen? How can you solidify this and make sure it continues to happen?
Likewise, for every item on your “What needs attention and change?” list, consider the specific actions you can take to change this item. What can you do differently to eliminate or mitigate every item on this list?
At the end of this step, you should have a list of action steps you can take to enhance the positives and eliminate or decrease the negatives. This list is the “key” to open the door to an easier, happier, and more fulfilling life.
Allow me to share a few examples of some of my recent, straight forward and less personal contemplations and evaluations of my clinic. While these are more pragmatic in nature, I certainly also encourage a deep dive into the more philosophical, introspective, and personal topics resonating within your heart.
Take Action Steps. Now be intentional to complete these action steps. Complete them as soon as possible. A good idea will only ever remain a good idea until there is action taken to bring it to life. Make each item on your list happen.
This exercise is so easy, yet so powerful.
I promise when you do this, your life will change.
Not only will your life change because you are literally making changes, but more importantly, you are exercising your innate power to design your life. You have been intentional to create and shape your life. By doing exercises like this you are being intentional to control your life as opposed to simply reacting to what happens in your life.
Sure, January is the beginning of a new year. But we can start a new beginning at any moment we desire. We can all be like Janus as we look back on what we have done and where we have been while at the same time look forward to where we are going. And like Janus, we all have the key we need to open that next door and step into a bigger, better, and brighter world.
I wish each of you a happy new year and I ask you to join me in the effort to make 2024 one of the best years yet filled with health, ease, and happiness.
Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Doctor of Oriental Medicine(NM), Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Holistic Health & Wellness Coach.
The Center: Natural Health Specialists, 8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615. (919) 848-0200. www.TheCenterNHS.com