Simply by calling something new, we invite possibilities. The New Year, whenever we observe it, marks a beginning, a fresh start, and often the resolve to improve ourselves and our community. The Soul Matters materials this month encourage us to relate to the new year as an unfolding, not a time in which we must fix and improve ourselves or others. This suggestion feels qualitatively different: gentle and expansive, awakening curiosity and awareness rather than discipline and willpower.
Relating to the New Year as a process of unfolding instead of an improvement project is a radical reorientation. Every day is a new day with possibilities stretching before us beyond the horizon. Yet we don’t often greet the day with this positive frame for the day’s expected outcome. We human beings with our flawed and limited awareness honestly can’t tell exactly how the day will unfold. What might help keep us open to possibilities?
In Theme Circles this month, our spiritual exercise is to find one word that will help keep us open to new possibilities. When we discover the word, we commit to find a way to keep the word in our awareness. My word is grateful. When I focus on what I’m grateful for, I feel my mind calming, my heart filling and my spirit opening. It helps me on my grief journey, tempering the sorrow of my loss. It also centers me so that I can greet the day from a place of balance. Because who knows what possibilities might flow into this moment?
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee is a home for spiritual community, social justice, and intellectual freedom, active in Milwaukee since 1842. Unitarian Universalism is an inclusive denomination; core principles include recognition of the worth and dignity of every person; respect for the interdependent web of existence; and the goal of world peace, liberty and justice.
The Rev. Dena McPhetres is First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee’s Associate Minister. As Associate Minister, Dena has four areas of focus: Pastoral Care, Small Groups, Social Justice and Summer Services. She also shares responsibility with our Senior Minister for worship, preaching, crisis pastoral counseling and rites of passage.