According to the old Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, and endings; and is generally depicted with two faces – one looking forward and one looking back.
January is thought by many to have been named after Janus; as in January we are in the unique position of looking forward to the New Year and also looking back at the year that was past.
Looking back at the past
Let’s say we are sitting in the back of a fast moving boat and looking back at the water what will we see? When I ask this question – I generally get lots of answers – the water, the sky, the sun, etc. But the answer I am looking for is – the wake left by the boat – or the trail by which we can see the path taken by the boat to get us to this particular place. When most people think of their past – they also restrict themselves, as they imagine and believe that their past – determines or therefore restricts their future to a pre-determined path. But if we think about the boat and the wake it left – we see that this is not so. We can see the path we took to arrive at this point – but from where we are – we can take any path into the future according to what we want to achieve and what will give us happiness. Each path will have its own challenges and rewards – but they are all accessible. The choice is ours. So let’s consciously decide what we would like to do in 2018 and make a plan for it.
As Jeffrey Deaver the author says – “the past is memory, the future is imagination, only the present is real”. So we can learn from the past and even reconstruct the past to be what we want it to be – because our memory is also notoriously inaccurate! For example – when we remember a past event – we can either magnify or amplify it so it seems larger than it actually was – or minimize or make it smaller and less impactful. Because the past exists only in our memory – we can thus make it so – to reduce or expand its impact on our thinking, moods and emotions. For example if someone scolded us – when remembering this – we can make it bigger – where we get really upset again; or reduce the volume in our memory, change the words used, make the volume less, etc., and thereby reduce the impact of the memory. What is important for us to remember is that it is ‘our memory’ so we can do what we like with it.
31st Night and 1st January
This is celebrated by many of us in different ways – but this time if we remember Janus on the 31st December or 1st January we may be able to start the New Year in a different and more positive way.
Write down and reminisce about all the success and happiness we had in the past year. What went right? What did we do to make it happen? This would also ensure we start in a positive frame of mind – as we would be grateful for all the good things and success that we have reaped in the year past.
This would also be an opportunity to look at the past and see what we could have done better and differently if given another opportunity. Why did we fail? What can we learn from this? What skills and competencies do I need to develop? How should I handle people and situations better? The past doesn’t determine the future – but we could still learn valuable lessons from it!
Looking to the future
When looking into 2018 – we could then make plans of what we want to achieve, what we want to experience, how we would like to improve, what we want to make better etc.
When doing this it is always useful to do it from the perspective of the different roles we play, for example I would play roles of husband, father, son, brother, CEO, corporate trainer, coach, choral conductor, etc. This then gives us a lot of clarity into what we would like to do and then maybe actually make it happen.
For example something I finally managed to do in the last few day was to have some conscious quality time with my two sons. It was a long time coming – but the change was good when it came!
Wishing you all a fantastic 2018 – where together we can help to make the world a slightly better place. All it takes is one act at a time. May God bless you all.