The Japanese greet each other in the New Year with the phrase “Akemashite Omedeto” which translates as something like “Congratulations on the new opening”. I love thinking about the New Year like this. What am I open to? What am I opening to? or What is opening up in me?

When I think about opening up to something new I feel a sense of curiousity and wonder rather than a need to accomplish or achieve. Their zen perspective brings a balance to the western idea of resolving. While resolving is important and useful, opening offers a sense of spaciousness –  I can take control of certain aspects of my life by intending or resolving and also I can balance that effort by being open to what arises. Certainly our efforts are important. However approaching the New Year with a sense of opening reminds that while each of us is an integral part of the universe and we each have a vital role to play in it, we are not solely responsible for it, nor are we the sole controllers of it. Whew, that’s a relief.

One of the Japanese characters for their New Year’s greeting looks like this:

This means something like the coming together of the sun and the moon. Sounds familiar, huh? “Ha” plus “tha” – the sun and the moon coming together is also the meaning of “Hatha Yoga”.

When the sun and the moon come together there is a new dawn, a new opening, a new awareness, and perhaps, ironically enough, a resolution.

I recently returned from Melbourne Australia where we spent the holidays visiting my husband’s family.

A somewhat precarious Warrior 3 on Cape Shank, Victoria.

 

Our trip took us on several plane rides with stopoffs in two other countries before we reached Australia. The yogis say that traveling burns one’s karma, which I guess is why the yogis of old often wandered around India – having new experiences and surviving through the kindness of strangers. All traveling, even to Ohio to visit your Aunt Bev, opens you to new ways of looking at things, to new perspectives and to different ways of being and living. It can open you to reflect on your own life and values.

So if you had a chance to go somewhere this past holiday or have a chance in the near future to move around a bit, I would encourage you to think about what it opens in you, what you can open to because of your travels, and what you are able to leave behind.

Happy New Year and Congratulations on your new opening.